What happens when you get a bunch of founders into a virtual room to talk about company building? Canaan Partner Michael Gilroy wanted to find out. He recently called on the founders of Bellhops, CircleUp, Embroker, Kustomer, Ladder, ScaleFactor and Tari to convene over Twitter to discuss their experiences in navigating the VC pitch process and building a company from the ground up.
We’ll be sharing clips of their conversation in a series of posts — emojis, gifs and all. Here’s our final Q&A:
Michael Gilroy: Do you have satellite office(s)? If so, how many FTEs did you have when you decided to do this? If not, is there anything specific (besides cost) that has held you back from doing so?
Dan Teree, co-founder of @tari & @tari_labs: You no longer have to build a project or business in one location. It’s a small world. I highly recommend founders consider building on a distributed basis, or in other locations beyond SV.
Luke Marklin, CEO of @BellhopsMoving: We just opened our first satellite office a few months ago in #Atlanta I think we were at ~75 FTEs? Main reason was unlocking a new pool of talent that comes w/ a larger market... with benefit of only being 100 miles apart.
Kurt Rathmann, CEO & founder of @scalefactor: Same here! The competition for talent is fierce. Opening up new offices gives us more opportunities to expand the pool. We have a Denver office, which we opened when we had about 70 people. We are actively recruiting for Denver, SF, NYC, and Vancouver.
Matt Miller, CEO & founder of @Embroker: Yes, we have multiple offices, although we don’t consider them satellites per se. We did this early on in our life as a company so its embedded in our DNA. It can be challenging at times but it’s certainly possible to build a great culture that spans across multiple locations.
Ryan Caldbeck, CEO & co-founder of @CircleUp: We don't have satellite offices but do have remote employees. ~10 out of 70 are remote here in the US. 2 things have held us back: 1) size (are we big enough), 2) cultural impact. Not sure either are good reasons.
Gilroy: Your jobs are HARD. What’s keeping you up at night right now?
Jamie Hale, CEO & co-founder of @ladder: Keeping perspective. Picking people up when things are hard. Keeping people focused when things are awesome. I always worry about what more I should be doing. That keeps me up. And teenage kids!
Teree: Technical problem solving (the Tari community is building something new) and communicating the @Tari vision
Miller: Staying focused in what feels like a target rich environment. Making sure I'm building a team that continues to get better every day. Ensuring our culture is excellent. Also, everything else!
Brad Birnbaum, CEO & founder of @kustomer: Hyper-growth is exciting and hard. Keeping up with demand building our @kustomer Krew and competing against industry giants as we reinvent the customer service space.
Rathmann: Keeping our culture, especially as we grow and open up new offices.
Caldbeck: HR stuff -- people that are performing really well and ready to take on more responsibility. How do we give it to them effectively? Or team members that need help w/ professional development in any way. Product- are we climbing the right mountains in the right way.
Gilroy: And we're wrapped. There is some AMAZING content on the #CanaanFounders thread. Thank you all!
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