Introducing Remotion, the video workspace for remote teams
TL;DR: We’ve built Remotion, a video workspace that helps remote teams move faster and feel connected. Along with our $13M fundraise from Greylock, First Round and other friends, we’re excited to announce that Remotion is available to any macOS user.
People thrive when they can live and work on their own terms
This shared belief is the foundation for our team and product. For me and many first-generation immigrants, it represents the ideal of doing our best work without being uprooted from family and community. For my cofounder Charley, the belief comes from seeing his mother’s career reset each time the family moved—how do we make that a thing of the past?
Charley and I met in college and went to work at Google (Charley was a technical lead) and Dropbox (I was a product manager). Then, in 2019, we decided to join forces. The one catch: Charley was moving to Chicago. Against all advice, we’d be cofounding remotely.
A question of culture
We wanted to build a fast-moving, close-knit team. But countless leaders warned us that remote teams miss the speed and energy of spontaneously talking live—a core part of how teams ideate, help each other, and build relationships. Instead, remote communication gets bogged down in text messaging and scheduled meetings. Often, embracing remote is a last-resort.
The data bears this out. Before the pandemic, the FYI 2019 Remote Work Report found that the biggest challenges for fully remote workers are communication, social opportunities and loneliness & isolation.
Fascinatingly, NBER data months into the pandemic shows that teams tried to bridge the distance by sending more emails—but that didn’t last.
Instead, there’s a now desire to talk more frequently for less time: teams are meeting 13% more often, for 20% less time. That’s a step in the direction of more fluid conversation, but we’re not there yet: the average meeting is still 48 minutes long.
Remotion was born out of our belief that if teams can unlock live conversation and bridge the distance with frequent face-to-face connections, they can move faster, be more creative, and build stronger relationships. Our goal was to help a second, larger wave of teams embrace remote work.
We obviously had no idea how that wave would be accelerated in 2020.
Remotion is a video workspace designed for a faster, more connected way of working remotely.
Your teammates and their availability are in a lightweight dock on the side of your screen. That way you can glance over at a teammate and instantly talk live—instead of typing or scheduling a meeting.
Remotion takes the guesswork out of whether it’s a good time to talk. Set yourself to “Open to talk” when you want to spark spontaneous conversation, or protect and celebrate your focus time with “Focusing.”
Our Google Calendar integration automatically shows your team when you’re busy and when you’re next free. Remotion also shows you in conversation, so others can see and ask to join.
Talking in Remotion is light and informal. Calls start with a click and your video stays small in the Remotion dock instead of covering the work on your screen. It’s easy to loop others in or break out into smaller conversations, and share your screen.
Lastly, rather than having your name and just a green dot next it, Remotion lets you express your personality and have some fun through daily selfies which you can update with a click.
Thanks to our team and backers
Our team works from 8 cities, 4 continents and 5 time zones, hailing from companies like Google, Dropbox, Evernote and Microsoft. We’re also hiring! Check out our open roles or email email@example.com with something about yourself.
We’re lucky to have backers like Sarah at Greylock, who led our $10.4M Series A, and Phin at First Round who led our $2.6M seed. We also have an accomplished group of angel investors like Charlie Cheever (cofounder of Quora & Expo), Dom Hofmann (cofounder of Vine & Byte), Nate Mitchell (cofounder of Oculus), and Steve Chen (cofounder of YouTube).
Give Remotion a try!
Back in January we began alpha testing Remotion with teams around the world and across industries. It’s been inspiring to see such diverse teams creating a culture of talking live: BugHerd (Australia), Front (US), Uzabase (Japan), the Singaporean Government, and Codestates (Korea) are just a few organizations using Remotion every day, saying things like:
Since COVID-19, we’ve onboarded 3 new people. I don't think their integration into the team would have been anywhere near as smooth without the easy, ad hoc conversation that Remotion enables. - Richard O’Brien Head of Product, BugHerd
We’re excited that Remotion is now available to all macOS users in beta. Windows & Linux are coming soon (sign up for early access). Whether you’ve always been distributed or are leading a team that’s beginning to embrace remote work, we’d love to hear your feedback. Get started at https://remotion.com.
The case for virtual coworking: build a connected remote culture.
Regularly coworking with your hybrid or remote team can help you build the social cohesion that makes work feel less like work.
Here are the biggest reasons we think coworking is an effective way to create a close-knit remote culture:
1. It fosters casual conversations.
Building a connected remote culture is all about fostering 1:1 or small group organic conversations. Virtual coworking makes space for those conversations. When you spend time together outside of agenda-driven meetings, spontaneous chats naturally occur, as they would in an office.
2. It's more inclusive than scheduled social events.
It can be draining for introverts to have to participate in scheduled, purely social conversations. Coworking allows the team to spend time together and occasionally chat without having to constantly be "on," making it more inclusive for introverts and extroverts alike.
3. It's easy to say yes to.
Purely social events are important, but if your team is busy or on a tight deadline, it's tough to find the time for social chats without it feeling like an obligation. Coworking is much easier to get your team onboard with because it doesn't take time away from getting work done.
4. It improves remote collaboration.
Coworking can lead to unblocking and shorter feedback loops. Quick questions get answered easily and in the moment, without a having to schedule a meeting or go back-and-forth in messages.
5. It's scalable.
Coworking works for teams of all sizes and is a great way to scale your remote culture as your team grows. It's helpful to create opportunities for teammates from different functions to get to know one another.
6. It creates shared momentum.
The feeling of togetherness is motivating!
Get started with virtual coworking: choose the type most aligned with your priorities.
It takes intentionality to make virtual coworking feel natural and energizing enough to stick—it's not as simple as leaving a Zoom call open all day.
Here are a few of the ways we've set coworking up for our team. We recommend choosing one to start with. If it works, make it routine and experiment with other types from there.
Try independent coworking.
Try project-based coworking.
Best practices for virtual coworking.
Keep group sizes small.
Limit your coworking sessions to 4-6 people to keep things from getting distracting and help make introverted teammates comfortable chatting.
Signal boost coworking.
Set a norm of letting the entire team know when you're hopping into a coworking room or session.
Make it routine.
Once you've figured out what kind of coworking works for your team, make it a regular, opt-in event. Set up a recurring calendar event to do it at the same time each week to maximize the impact.
Set expectations ahead of time.
When you're first introducing coworking to your team, share what you're imagining in your calendar invite and at the top of each session to get everyone on the same page. For example:
Let's try virtual coworking! We'll work independently on our own projects with our cameras off, but we'll share space and listen to music together — like we might work side-by-side at the office.
Listen to music together.
Play music while you work to create a shared environment and add a little bit of personality to your coworking session.
Set up Coworking Rooms in Remotion.
Most of the above is doable with any video chat app, but much easier with Remotion—which we designed with a lightweight, smooth coworking experience in mind. Easily set up Remotion rooms that your teammates can hop into for different styles of coworking.