Remote Work Journey of a Startup Fundraising Platform

Sowmya Sankaran / Reading Time: 5 mins

Imagine a bustling startup, vibrant and innovative, yet working seamlessly from various corners of the globe. Remote work, once a distant dream for many, has become a reality for startups like Podworld. In this exciting journey, we delve into the heart of Podworld's remote work culture, exploring their challenges, triumphs, and the secrets that have made them thrive. Join us in this insightful conversation where Vittal, the co-founder of Podworld, shares the intricacies of their remote work saga.

Remote Work Journey of Vittal & Podworld

Vittal Ramakrishna's remote work journey began over a decade ago when he started working for various clients. Whether he was with KPMG or other brands, his work location was always determined by the project at hand. It didn't matter whether he worked from an office or remotely; the key was to get the work done efficiently. This approach to work became ingrained in his style over the last 10 to 13 years.

During his career, Vittal traveled to more than 30 countries, building a global network along the way. In 2008, amid the recession, he found himself inadvertently starting his first company. Corporate offers were rescinded, leaving him with no choice but to venture into entrepreneurship to survive. This first company was later sold and is now part of the Aditya Birla Group.

His journey took him to Germany, where he lived for nine and a half years while working remotely. Even then, Vittal's work was not tied to a single location. He chose to work from Germany, where he could also envision building his life for the next decade. In 2016, he launched another startup in Germany, CrowdPouch, a crowdsourcing platform that eventually got acquired in 2019.

Then came 2020, a year that reshaped the world's perspective on remote work. Suddenly, the idea of working from an office for a set number of hours seemed obsolete. People who had never considered remote work before were thrust into this new reality. Some even found themselves leaving their jobs because they were required to return to the office.

Vittal's journey in remote work culminated in the founding of Podworld. Alongside his co-founder, he identified gaps in the world of Angel Investing and recognized the opportunity to streamline the fundraising process. They understood the challenges faced by founders who had to juggle various responsibilities, including fundraising. Podworld emerged as a solution, aiming to shorten the typical timeline for early-stage startup funding from three to six months to just three to six weeks.

The Podworld platform revolutionized the fundraising process, offering a semi-automated, entirely digital, and paperless experience. To date, Podworld has facilitated close to 30 deals on the platform, transforming it into a thriving marketplace. With Podworld, Vittal and his team are simplifying the burdens that founders face, making it easier for entrepreneurs like you to access the capital they need to bring their visions to life.

Check out hybrid work trends in India here.

Remote vs. In Person Startup - What's The Difference?

Vittal's remote work journey, one of the pioneers of remote work even before it became a buzzword, is a testament to his belief in the power of working beyond the confines of a traditional office. For him and his co-founder, choosing to be a remote-first company was a conscious and deliberate decision, influenced by the nature of their business.

While they initially started with the idea of discussing concepts in a physical office space, they soon realized that remote work offered distinct advantages. Commuting in the traffic-laden streets of Bangalore was not only time-consuming but also incredibly stressful. The quality of travel alone was demoralizing.

Moreover, their business model demanded that they build relationships with various stakeholders, necessitating frequent trips and face-to-face meetings. Startups thrive on selling propositions, and knocking on doors is an integral part of that process. Therefore, it became clear that being tied to a single location wouldn't suit their dynamic business needs.

The decision to go remote was driven by a desire to spend more time meeting stakeholders and less time within the four walls of an office. In essence, being remote was not a compromise but a strategic choice aligned with their business objectives.

Vittal eloquently contrasts this with another startup he's involved in, one that is operations-heavy and demands hands-on tech and physical presence. In such cases, remote work may not be the ideal approach. The clarity of thought in differentiating the two business models is evident, and it highlights the importance of aligning remote work practices with the nature of the work itself.

This deliberate choice to embrace remote work at Podworld stands in contrast to some companies that struggled to adapt during the pandemic. Many organizations were forced into remote work by necessity but now find themselves at a crossroads, unsure whether to return to the office or continue with remote work.

Vittal's journey and the deliberate approach taken by Podworld offer valuable insights for businesses grappling with this decision. Remote work is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and the key is to align it with the unique needs and goals of your organization.

Challenges & Processes

When it comes to hiring for Podworld, Vittal emphasizes clarity about the role and responsibilities. Candidates are informed about the hybrid model, where they meet once a week, but the exact schedule is flexible. New hires may need some adjustment, particularly those fresh out of college, but the company offers support and encourages reaching out to more experienced team members for guidance.

Podworld's approach is outcome-oriented, with a focus on results rather than micromanagement. If a new team member doesn't adapt well to the remote environment, the company is open to discussions and, in some cases, may suggest alternative opportunities that better suit the individual.

In hiring, Vittal acknowledges that judgment calls are essential, especially when it comes to remote work. It's a two-way street, and sometimes, a candidate may not align with the company's remote-first culture, leading to mutual decisions to part ways.

Communication and task management are key elements in their remote work setup. The team primarily relies on tools like Slack, Trello, and Google Meet for communication and collaboration. Team members begin their day with a customary "good morning" message on Slack, signaling the start of their workday. There are morning standup meetings and wrap-up sessions, although communication often extends into late nights when necessary.

The company emphasizes an outcome-oriented approach, allowing team members to work when they are most productive. There is flexibility in work hours, and meetings are conducted virtually through Google Meet. Vittal also mentions the occasional trivia games and rewards system that adds an element of fun and interaction to the remote work environment.

Final Thoughts

From nurturing a culture of accountability to the strategic integration of in-person meetings, these takeaways are the building blocks for startups aiming to simplify their remote work dynamics.

Podworld's journey is more than just a story; it's a testament to the infinite possibilities that remote work offers. Their experience isn't just about facing challenges; it's about conquering them and turning them into opportunities. In a world where physical presence is no longer a prerequisite for productivity, Podworld's story stands as a beacon, illuminating the path for startups looking to thrive in the remote work era.

Category: Interviews

Related Blogs