Birth of RemotePanda — What made me invest my time in this idea
Once upon a time, a newbie called Jon decided to start his own company. He had an innovative idea, some hard earned cash and blind faith in hiring market. He was so naive, when someone told him, platforms like Upwork, Freelancers is the easiest and the best way to find people who can help him develop his idea, he just fell for it. He didn’t know what to look, how to look, what to ask, whom to ask. Well, basically “he knew nothing”. All he “supposedly” knew was that these platforms would connect him to the right people. So, he decided to use their service by putting all his money and faith in the hands of some strangers. One doesn’t need to be an expert in the field to guess what would have happened next, right?
Now, let me tell you another story- the story of Robb.
Robb in this story was an experienced guy and yes, he knew everything. For his startup endeavor, he wanted to hire some talented guys. As it was a startup, he had limited resources at hand to spend so he decided to look for remote talent. Now, please note that he knew what to look, how to look, what to ask, whom to ask. He followed traditional remote hiring process and found a “great team” called Team Bolton. He decided to partner up with Bolton, and the journey started. Days passed by, everything was going well until they faced some technical challenge. Bolton’s are supposed to be expert to address such type of challenges so, Robb asked them to take care of it. But, they backed out and told him that it’s not part of the contract and can’t work on the issue within the current budget. Well, what could have gone wrong here!? I mean, for this type of challenges Robb decided to hire them in the first place, they were the experts, they knew Robb has a limited budget but still, they decided to accompany Robb in his journey and when the hard time came they stabbed him through the heart. Sad ending, isn’t it?
Well, Jon and Robb are not the only ones here. There are lots of Jons and Robbs who are out there looking for talented people but not able to find the right one.
What could be the reason?
Some may say it’s Service providers fault, some may say it’s employer’s fault and some may say it’s the marketplace that needs to improve their vetting process. In my opinion, if one has to play blame game then everyone is at fault here but if you really try to understand the real issue then you will realize that the traditional remote hiring process is the real culprit and we need to fix it.
Why not me?
Before we started building RemotePanda, I met more than 150 startup CEOs from 10 different cities such as SF, Boston, Houston etc. I discussed with them what I had in my mind, understood their point of view, collected their feedback and the conclusion I drew was simple, ‘They Demanded Quality’.
And that’s exactly what we are offering. What I realized from my interaction with all those startup founders is that if we tweak the traditional process a bit then maybe we can solve challenges like quality plus we can improve success rate multi-fold.
How are we doing it?
- Have a captain in place:
Rather than just being someone who just introduces (in that case you could have just found people from Upwork/Linkedin) we remain part of the contract throughout the lifetime of the project and be invested in the project. We want to free employer/project owner from the headache of managing people.
- Quality Watch Dogs:
We want to maintain quality, transparency and seamless experience for everyone. We make sure that expectations are set from each side from the beginning by quantifying the deliverable.
- Friend, guide and helping hand in need:
We assign a dedicated personal assistant for employer/ project owner who will be their guide at every stage helping them with setting goals, timelines etc. He/she is the one who basically makes things happen and acts as the bridge between stakeholders.
- Learning and Education:
We invest part of fees that employer/ project owner pay to us into skill development of talent they hire.
- Team visit:
We sponsor visit between employer/ project owner and their remote team every six months.
- Escrow Billing:
We support Escrow billing and release money to the service provider only after quality work is delivered.
We are powered by Startup Grind Pune and all the freelancers, agencies, remote teams are associated with us are close network connections. In order to give personalized experience, we have kept our talent pool limited to Pune ecosystem.
We are currently in closed beta and testing our model with selected few employer/ project owners. We have made good progress so far and all the current users have positive feedback about RemotePanda service.
I’m not claiming that this model is gonna solve all the problems but at least address the 3 main challenges in remote work viz. expectations, communication, and feedback. I believe if we able to implement things the right way, we’ll definitely able to fix the broken process to some extent.
Let’s hope for the best. Fingers crossed.