In the last two years, remote work has taken over the startup culture. However, several investors have increasingly expressed a desire to fund “IRL startups” (in real life).
Not everyone has been as forthright as Elon Musk, who informed Tesla staff last week that remote work was “no longer acceptable” (and then announced that he would lay off 10% of his paid workforce). However, Musk’s remark to employees who don’t like the policy, “pretend to work somewhere else,” appears to have tapped into a growing dissatisfaction with remote work among some loud VCs.
Pave, a compensation-benchmarking software provider startup, has hired employees to work in person at their San Francisco and New York offices.
When it comes to being office-centric, Pave’s founder and CEO, Matt Schulman, told me last month, “We’re very much in the minority. It’s actually a significant selling factor when we’re recruiting candidates.”
Companies that start remotely appear to have special issues transferring to the office, according to Schulman, because some employees will not want to go to IRL.
As the industry shifts, some venture capitalists are even advocating remote-first as a cost-cutting measure. Kat Steinmetz, a principal and talent consultant at Initialized Capital, proposed in a blog post on Monday that companies “make everything virtual for now” — including subletting their office if they can’t get out of their lease — to save money.
Remote employment remains dominant – but this could change.
Founders ultimately shape culture, whether it’s office-based, remote-first, or somewhere in between. Most people here aren’t dogmatic about their plan. According to the SaaS investor, over 80% of founders are open to modifying their remote or in-office strategy based on where the market goes and what allows them to execute.