Did you switch to remote or start out that way?

10up Inc.

Yes – we started that way.

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AirTreks

AirTreks is a 30-year-old company that at one time received Silicon Valley funding and had a big office in downtown San Francisco. We worked from an expensive office for 25 years. Our sales team always had some remote workers.

We got to see how remote working technology has improved from the “front lines”—I’m remembering days circa 2005 configuring servers and setting up VPNs to link our remote team into our phone and customer management systems. Now, it’s easier than it ever has been to work from anywhere.

We made the switch to 100 percent remote work with a formal transition plan for closing our office.

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American Express

At American Express, we’ve been serving customers for more than 165 years. As the environment and our own business have evolved, we’ve been receptive to new ways we could deliver our customers the superior service they’ve come to expect from American Express. While American Express has had a number of virtual roles for some time, our focused effort to expand the remote telephone servicing team began about a half decade ago.

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Answer Connect

We like to say we started in a garage and have now happily returned to one, thanks to remote working. Twenty years ago, our co-founders built a long distance telephone carrier up from scratch. As new technologies made long distance a thing of the past, we transitioned into a live answering service, still based in our CEO’s garage. We grew from there into a traditional call center, with hundreds of employees in one large building. This model limited us in terms of space, talent pool, and imagination.

As a company, we believe in small experiments. So our first foray into remote working didn’t take us far—just across the street to the vacant space above a dry cleaner. We set up some computers there and began testing to ensure we could deliver the same standard of service from a “remote” location. When we got it working, we sent our customer experience associates home to take our clients’ calls over the Internet, and we’ve never looked back. That change reduced our square footage radically, while keeping employment even.

Last year, we downsized our office space again, trading in a space we loved but that was really bigger than we needed from 7,527 to an office across the hall that is just 725 square feet. The roll-up door makes us feel right at home, and we have just enough space for some of our leadership and other local employees to work one day a week in the office—if they want to. The rest of our hundreds of employees work out of their homes in five states, with a sixth on the way.

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AnswerFirst

When our client base continued to grow the need [to switch remote] became necessary. We had limited capacity in our building, limited parking, and an immediate need for more employees. We started with just employees that had a long commute and preferred to work remote.

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Appen

True to Appen style, our HR and Recruiting team has been both remote and in-office from day one.

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Appirio

Appirio started out as a remote company. We had a headquarters in San Francisco where local team members could work from the office, but those located in other locations were able to work remotely. Furthermore, those local to the San Francisco office would also have the flexibility to work from home for part of their week.

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Attentiv

Yes, we were remote from the beginning, though not without the often face-to-face meetings to get us off the ground.

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Authentic Form & Function

Yes! With Chris in Denver, and Bryant in Chicago at the time, Authentic has always been a company flying the “remote flag” from the start.

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Balsamiq

We started as a remote company.

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BELAY

We were remote from day one.

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Beutler Ink

We did start out as a distributed team, but several of our team members joined from companies with offices. Switching them over to remote working was pretty straightforward: setting them up with the software they needed and making sure they had appropriate technology in their homes (good Internet connection is a must!).

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Big Universe, Inc.

We started out working from home in our initial years, then got an office for just over a year but weren’t really using it much. In 2011, we made a decision to go 100% virtual. However, just before committing to it, I consulted with some folks at Automattic and other startups, read up on companies such as MySQL and others, on how they were operating remotely. After this, I knew we could scale the company as a 100% virtual company and have never looked back since.

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Bitovi

We started out as remote.

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Blossom

Blossom was distributed from the start.

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Bright!Tax

It started out as remote.

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Buffer

We did start out remote, although it originally happened accidentally. In December 2011 our founders raised an angel funding round of $400,000. At the same time though, their visas to be in the U.S. expired and so they left for Hong Kong. In the midst of their travels, they were excited to grow the Buffer team and hired people that felt like a good culture fit, without minding what part of the world they were in. The team started growing in Nashville, London, and other places, while the founders continued to travel. At one point there was the chance for the whole team to work from San Francisco, but our CEO Joel decided to keep the company 100% remote in order to encourage teammates to live and work from wherever they felt the happiest and most productive.

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Canonical

Yes, Canonical has always had a remote workforce.

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Chargify

Yes, Chargify has been 100% distributed since day one.

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Ciao Bambino! Inc.

We’ve always been remote.

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Coalition Technologies

We incorporated remote workers into our staff very early on.

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Codebusters, Inc.

No, we started with an office in downtown Santa Cruz. We decided to go remote because there was a decision to move the office, and because we saw that our industry was heading in this direction and we wanted to be more than ready for it.

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Collage.com

Yes, Collage.com started as remote.

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Crossover

We’ve been remote from the get-go. It’s at the heart of our company, and it wouldn’t make sense for us to have it any other way.

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DataStax

Yes, we started out as a remote organization.  

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DevriX

Yes.

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DVMelite

We started as remote.

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Edgar

Yes! Our company has been 100% remote since day one.

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Equivity

Our teams have always been remote.

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Eyeo GmbH

Yes, actually we started with remote work in our early days and never regretted it.

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Fire Engine RED

We started out as a virtual company in 2001, and we’ve been one ever since!

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Five Q

Yep. Saw this puck moving in this direction and just skated there a long time ago.

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Flex Professionals

We are remote natives.   We started our business with very limited investment dollars, zero job seekers, and zero business clients. Remote was the way to go.

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FMTC

We’ve always been a remote company.

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Fog Creek Software

No, we made the switch after 13 years. We made the transition initially to allow long time creekers to move away from New York, it was kind of our test to see if remote work worked for us. Then we began to hire remotely.

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GitLab

We started remote, since Dmitriy was in Ukraine and I was in The Netherlands. We hired people in different locations and it just started to work out that way. It became part of our culture and a benefit of working in our company.

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Go Fish Digital

We did start out remote back in 2009.

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GobySavvy

GobySavvy started remotely… in a coffee shop.

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Goodway Group

Not at all. Goodway became a 98 percent virtual company in 2006, once we transitioned from being a traditional print marketing company to an entirely digital firm.

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Greenback Expat Tax Services

From the very beginning, Greenback has been a 100% virtual company. We are all a highly energetic, positive, resourceful team working virtually across the globe. For our accountants, they have ultimate flexibility to decide where to work from and when to work. If they want to spend a tax season in their home office and in the slower season work a lighter load from Mexico or Bali or the coast of Spain, then great! Many on our accountant team does just that.

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Groove

Yep, remote from day one.

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Hanno

We did–we’ve been 100% remote right from the start (although we considered being non-remote at one point in our history). I’m eternally thankful that we didn’t make that mistake–if we had, I’ve no doubt that myself and my whole team would have far less job satisfaction and the company would be much weaker.

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Help Scout

Many of the earliest hires were together in Boston, but we quickly started growing our team outside of the home base. So, kinda-sorta.

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Hippo Education

Started out remote mostly. At the beginning it was myself, my co-founder and one employee (Hi Tom!). We were bootstrapping to the highest degree. We had no office. And, nobody wanted to put any constraints on how anyone else worked. We were all already working triple time.

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Hubstaff

Our company started out as a completely virtual business.

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ICUC Social

We have always been remote at ICUC.

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Inpsyde GmbH

Yes, we did start right away as remote.

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Inspired HR

We did not start as remote, rather we began in a very traditional office setting. We had an office in downtown Calgary in which we worked from daily. We did the switch based on our research and our client’s needs.

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iTutorGroup

We started as a brick-and-mortar school, but our vision and mission led to the transformation of our entire business toward remote learning and remote work.

Jackson River

We started out as a virtual company with the intent to be virtual. We wanted to embrace modern technology that had never been created or offered before in our sector (specifically for nonprofit organizations and NGOs), but we also set out to experiment as a modern and innovative work environment.

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Jungle Scout

Before Jungle Scout, I was able to replace my income with my ecommerce business, and my wife and I actually left the U.S. to travel the world. Then we started Jungle Scout and since we were already living the lifestyle, the business was developed to have a distributed team. It’s been the start of our culture from the beginning.

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Kin HR

Our parent company We Are Mammoth started their operations in Chicago but with continuous growth, we decided to go remote and hire the best people around the nation.

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Knobs.co

We started out working remotely.

LiquidSpace

Yes, we began as a distributed team.

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LoveToKnow

Yes, I was remote from the start.

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Lullabot

Lullabot began as a fully distributed company from day one.

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Mavens

The company has always had a strong remote working culture.

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Melewi

Yes, it did.

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Modern Tribe

We started as remote. I don’t see that ever changing.

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Mokriya

Yes, Mokriya started off remotely and continued growing into a completely distributed team.

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NodeSource

Yes, we are distributed by design!

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OnTheGo Systems

Our team started as a remote company from day one.

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OpenSnow

We started remote from day one.

Packlane

Once we had more than one person, we worked in a small office together for the first 2-3 months, and slowly transitioned to just working from home. At a certain point it just wasn’t necessary to be working in the same room, and everyone had a clear preference for their home office work environment over the shared office.

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Pagely

Yes and no. Way back in the early days, when we were in a completely different line of business, we had an office employees came to. When that wound down and we started this business line, we were fully remote. The switch was easy; there was no real business or employees in the interim.

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Parse.ly

The product team at Parse.ly has always had the option to work remotely. This is one way that co-founders Andrew Montalenti and Sachin Kamdar decided to differentiate the company.

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PeopleG2

PeopleG2 began as a typical “brick and mortar” company. We ensured all employees had a proper workstation in their home, provided a state of the art internet based system with which to perform the necessary tasks, and offered tips and continued follow up to ensure all employees were feeling successful in this new model.

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Plex

Yes, we started out remote.

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Project Ricochet

We have been remote from day one!

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Qkids

Some of our most senior full-time employees started as remote because their creative work needed no physical restriction. In our company, we only care for results, not where one works.

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RunRepeat

We started 100% remote from day one.

Sanborn

We’ve been around since 2004, so we didn’t start remote. And we’ve been a company that has relied heavily on collaboration from day one. A large portion of our work is bespoke, uncharted-waters type stuff, so communication and discussion are key.  When the remote work tools evolved enough to make that level of discussion and collaboration possible, we made the switch.

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Scrapinghub

We started remote and never looked back. It’s in our DNA. We could not run Scrapinghub otherwise.

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Scribendi

We’ve always had a remote team, and the plan was always to recruit and retain a remote workforce. As such, our platform was built with the benefits of remote work in mind, so we were prepared for the challenges of such a structure.

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Seeq

We have been entirely remote since the beginning (formed in 2013).

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SimpleTexting

We’ve used freelance remote workers almost from the beginning as hiring in NYC where we originally started was unaffordable for bootstrappers like us.

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SitePen

SitePen’s deep involvement with the remotely-rooted open source community in addition to our CEO’s aversion to fluorescent lighting was what laid the foundation for SitePen’s preferred work environment.  While having physical office space was attempted in the early days, the idea of going into the office never quite took off.  It’s easy to see that SitePen’s organizational structure is wholly based on an open source software model – many individuals working remotely toward shared goals for the common good.  Remote work is like breathing for us – it just is.    

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Skillcrush

Skillcrush has always had a fully remote team. When I founded Skillcrush, the idea of starting a remote company was really exciting because it allowed me to keep costs low while still being able to hire talented employees who were looking for flexible work!

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Sococo

Our company did start out as remote: a few guys in Oregon, California and Iowa figuring out how to collaborate better together. Our product was born out of that desire to work remotely.

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SoftwareMill

We started remote from day 1.

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Speak

I switched to working remotely at my last company as we were unable to secure American visas before they ran out for the year! We ended up travelling around because of this and it naturally happened.

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Stack Overflow

The company started out entirely remote. Joel Spolsky was in NYC, Jeff Atwood was in California, and our first two developers Geoff Dalgas and Jarrod Dixon were in Oregon and North Carolina respectively.

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Sticker Mule

We started out as a small team that was primarily focused on manufacturing. Our first hire in software development was in England and that went over incredibly well. A few months later, our customer service lead asked if he could relocate. Initially I was concerned but then we saw it as an opportunity to improve our processes so that we could support a remote customer service team.

We haven’t aggressively recruited until recently, but we’d often stumble across someone talented that we wanted on our team. These people were rarely local but it was usually obvious they’d make a great addition so we didn’t stress their location. After a while, it became commonplace for our team to be remote.

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StudySoup

I’ve worked in both types of environments before, but we started this company as remote.

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Summit CPA Group

We were a brick and mortar company for years. The switch was made starting at the top.  Me and my partner Adam, started working remotely a couple of days a week so that we could determine what processes, software, etc needed to be put in place in order to make working remote a great experience for the team.

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Taksa Technology Solutions

Started remote.

TaxJar

We’ve been remote since Day 1. And we’re proud of it.

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TeamSnap

We started remote.

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Teleport

We’ve been remote-ready from day zero.

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The Cheat Sheet

We did start out remote. This was a deliberate choice from the get-go.

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The Geller Law Group

I did not start out working remotely, I started out in a traditional law firm environment. After I had my son, I wanted to make a switch to a job that would permit me more work life balance. The remote work structure of the Geller Law Group permitted me that balance – the ability to be at home with my son during breakfast and dinner, catch up on work after normal work hours as needed, and not have to endure a painful commute wasting precious minutes in the car.

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ThirdPath Institute

We started out as a remote workplace.

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TNTP

I was one of TNTP’s first employees after its founding in 1997. We were virtual for some roles from the get-go, with CEO Michelle Rhee living in Ohio and other staff based in New York City, Maryland and Massachusetts. While I loved working from our central office in New York (both as an escape from my small city apartment and because it was fun to interact with all the staff who would come into town for meetings), I was also grateful for the flexibility that our virtual culture gave me when I decided I wanted to move closer to family. I now work from a home office in Cape Cod, where I can see the ocean every day and still make a difference for kids in cities across the country.

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Toggl

We went remote about a year ago, and we put a lot of thinking into it. We laid out the pros and cons, talked to our team members and did some research. Once we started going remotely, we had a lot of questions about staying productive remotely, maintaining a company culture and managing a distributed team and we all learned together to make it work.

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TOK.tv

We started off remote and we are going to be remote forever. Our CEO, Fabrizio Capobianco, had already implemented a “dual model” for his previous company, Funambol, with headquarters in Silicon Valley and R&D in Italy. TOK.tv pushes this model further.

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Toptal

Yes, we were remote from day 1.

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Tortuga

Jeremy and I started working remotely out of necessity. When we decided to grow the team, we saw no reason to change what was working for us. Plus, neither of us wanted to have to report to an office every day, even if it was our own office.

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Trade Conductor

I have had offices for many years. But because I traveled more and more, it became clear that an office with no CEO is not good. So we went all remote. I see my team members 2-3 times a year. We use Skype, FaceTime, and mail. It is perfect and much more efficient.

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Tropical Travelers

Yes, the company started as remote.

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Ultimate Software

We made the switch because one of my team members referred a friend to be hired on our team, and she happened to work in Orlando. We knew she was a rockstar, so it was worth it to make that change and hire a remote worker for our team.

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Ushahidi

Yes. We started out remote.

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VIPKID

Our founder, Cindy Mi, started the company as a chain of offline schools. She planned and created the online company with a few technically knowledgeable colleagues after 10 years of offline business success.

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Vork Inc

It started out as remote.

WAKA Kickball & Social Sports

Yes, the company began as a remote organization from the start.

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WooThemes

Born remote.

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Workfrom

Yes, from day one we’ve been a remote team.

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Working Solutions

We have always had a remote model.

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World Wide Web Hosting

Yes. We have been a fully remote company since our inception.

X-Team

Almost entirely remote, but we did start with an HQ in Melbourne. The office environment was fun and collaborative, but ultimately our remote team was far more productive than us there. It organically made sense to go entirely remote soon after.

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