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Taking my startup completely remote has saved us over $250,000 this year. Here’s how we were able to grow more quickly while keeping our culture strong.

Tom Sagi is CEO and cofounder of Hourly, an insurtech platform. Tom Sagi Tom Sagi is the CEO of Hourly, an insurtech startup that connects the……

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Tom SagiTom Sagi is CEO and cofounder of Hourly, an insurtech platform.

Tom Sagi

  • Tom Sagi is the CEO of Hourly, an insurtech startup that connects the dots between payroll and workers’ compensation insurance.
  • When the pandemic caused the company’s move to a new office to be put on hold, Sagi was skeptical about how his company would run with a fully remote team.
  • Seven months in, he says he now appreciates the increased flexibility and productivity that comes with remote work, as well as the decreased overhead costs on renting office space and increased access to remote talent.
  • Although the transition was rocky at times, Sagi says his team has formed a special camaraderie while working from home that makes their work culture feel even more connected.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

This year has delivered many surprises, and few of them good. However, for me, one of the biggest surprises was my company’s sudden shift to a fully distributed team due to COVID-19 — and the realization that this dramatic change could accelerate my startup’s success.

The remote work transition was a complete 180 from where we were just months before COVID-19 turned the world upside down. Back in January, I’d surveyed our two dozen employees about their ideal office, and everyone wanted not only an office but an inspiring place to work. Up until this point, we’d been calling a small office in Palo Alto home, and now we needed more space to grow.

We hired an architect and spent months designing a space to include open areas for collaboration, cozy nooks for independent work, and glass-walled conference rooms for meetings.

The blueprints for Hourly's officeThe digital blueprints for Hourly’s office.

Tom Sagi

I saw this new office as the essential next phase for Hourly, the insurtech startup I cofounded in Palo Alto in 2018. We raised $7.2 million from investors, and our team had been growing at a rapid pace.

Hourly officeHourly office

Tom Sagi

The new office would be the foundation of a healthy, vibrant work culture that helped us attract and keep the best talent.

Then COVID-19 happened.

In short order, our team became 100% remote. Fortunately, our business continued to expand as a large number of our customers were in construction and less affected by COVID-19. And as we settled into this new way of work, I discovered that a fully dispersed team offered distinct advantages that helped us grow much faster.

Read more: How a former Pepsi exec leveraged old marketing tactics to build an alcohol startup that’s approaching $15 million in revenue this year as pre-mixed cocktails rise in popularity

Like many CEOs, I was initially skeptical about an all-remote workforce.

How would we know if people were really working? Would working from home be a distraction for employees? And most importantly, how would we maintain our culture if we didn’t see each other in person?

Several months into our remote work reality, these concerns have mostly fallen away. Sure, being remote raises some challenges, which I’ll touch on in a moment. But the big takeaways have been all the benefits my company and team have experienced, including:

Increased productivity

I was surprised to learn that remote workers actually work approximately 10 hours more per month than their office-bound counterparts. They no longer have to deal with commutes or unplanned interruptions from coworkers or bosses. In fact, the team exceeded my expectations — meeting deadlines, taking on extra work as necessary, and never missing a beat.

Improved flexibility

Even as productivity increased, our team found ways to work more of their life into their days. As many have noted, remote work’s real risk is more about employees getting burned out versus slacking off. I want employees to create a schedule that meets their work and family needs. How they do so is up to them. For instance, some of our employees want to spend time with their kids or workout during the day. Then, they get back to work in the evening. For managers, the key is linking employee performance to deliverables, instead of time spent at a desk during prescribed work hours. That said, there are some cases in which set hours make sense, such as for customer success and customer service teams.

Increased access to talent

Amid the pandemic, we made several hires, including a high-level executive with significant industry experience. If we’d required this executive to work in our Palo Alto office, which is an hour away from his home, I doubt he’d have taken the job.

Tom Sagi is the CEO of HourlyA virtual meeting between Hourly employees.

Tom Sagi

Remote work has infinitely expanded our talent pool, allowing us to consider talent from around the country and world. What’s more, it’s made talent more affordable. Depending on the position, we can pay a competitive rate without being beholden to Bay Area salaries, which are often significantly higher than other geographic areas.

Lower overhead costs

Depending on the location of your startup, office space can be a substantial cost. That’s especially the case for companies in the Bay Area, which pre-COVID-19 had one of the strongest markets for office real estate in the country.

While I was looking for office space, the inventory was mostly limited to spaces that were either super ugly, super expensive, or a combination of the two. I finalized our lease back in January and luckily incorporated an exit option with minimal penalty. At the time I thought that we might outgrow an office for 30 people faster than anticipated.

Little did I know that within two short months this exit clause would allow me to elegantly exit the lease for a very different reason. The shift to 100% remote saved us around $250,0000 a year, which we can now use to support employees working from home or even pay for coworking spaces.

Accelerated business opportunities

In a pre-COVID world, finalizing deals often meant coordinating in-person meetings with multiple executives around the country. Just finding a time that worked for everyone could push a deal out for weeks. And the time it took to travel to these meetings took away from the time we could spend on other deals. Now that we’re remote and so many of our customers are too, finding time to connect via Zoom is much easier. We’ve been able to get the right people to the virtual table within days, no matter where they’re located.

During the peak of COVID-19, we inked our most significant deal ever, which we plan on announcing the first quarter of 2021 — 100% via Zoom. My executive team and I presented to a large publicly-traded insurance conglomerate and in less than two weeks we had a signed deal. Pre-COVID-19, a deal like this would take months. Remote interactions allowed us to be extremely efficient, which led to an incredible outcome.

Read more: I worked at Goldman Sachs for 4 years as an investment-banking consultant. Here’s what my experience taught me about leadership, teamwork, and hiring.

Keeping the culture

Even with the benefits, a fully distributed workforce still presents challenges. One of the biggest I’ve encountered is staying up-to-date with my team and ensuring they’re communicating with me as often as possible. To remedy this, I’ve implemented regular one-on-one meetings and virtual office hours so that employees can ask me questions as they come up. This has helped me stay connected with my staff and fostered the casual conversations we enjoy having. We’ve also implemented monthly company updates. My cofounder and I use these to ensure everyone is on the same page and to detect issues before they become problems.

I’ve always loved seeing my team in person, watching them form bonds, sharing experiences, and even jokes. That camaraderie is part of what makes work fulfilling. Even though we can’t be together (yet), we’re still exploring creative ways to have fun and build our relationships. For instance, our team is doing a virtual cooking class together, and we have regular virtual gaming activities and happy hours.

I still have the blueprints for our “dream office,” but more and more, they feel like a relic of the past. Our remote work shift may have been completely unplanned, but now we’re strategically taking advantage of all the benefits that remote work offers.

Tom Sagi is the CEO of Hourly, an insurtech platform that seamlessly connects the dots between payroll and workers’ compensation insurance.

  • Seven months in, he says he now appreciates the increased flexibility and productivity that comes with remote work, as well as the decreased overhead costs on renting office space and increased access to remote talent.
  • Source: https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/benefits-of-remote-workforce-that-ceos-should-take-advantage-of-2020-11-1029854427

    taking-my-startup-completely-remote-has-saved-us-over-$250,000-this-year.-here's-how-we-were-able-to-grow-more-quickly-while-keeping-our-culture-strong.

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    Annual Report and Sustainability Report 2021: New Wave Group AB

    KUNGÄLV, Sweden, April 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — New Wave Group AB today published the Annual Report and Sustainability Report for 2020 on www.nwg….

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    KUNGÄLV, Sweden, April 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — New Wave Group AB today published the Annual Report and Sustainability Report for 2020 on www.nwg.se.

    The printed version of the Annual Report and Sustainability Report can be ordered by email [email protected]

    Gothenburg, Sweden, 14 April 2021

    For more information, please contact:

    CEO
    Torsten Jansson
    Phone: +46 31-712 89 01
    E-mail: [email protected]

    CFO
    Lars Jönsson
    Phone: +46 31-712 89 12
    E-mail: [email protected]

    This information is information that New Wave Group AB is obliged to make public pursuant to the Securities Markets Act. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact persons detailed above, at 9:00 a.m. CET on 14 April 2021.

    If you want to sign up for, or unregister from, future messages from New Wave Group, please send an email to [email protected]

    This information was brought to you by Cision https://news.cision.com

    https://news.cision.com/new-wave-group/r/annual-report-and-sustainability-report-2020-new-wave-group-ab,c3324550

    The following files are available for download:

    https://mb.cision.com/Main/932/3324550/1400837.pdf

    Annual report 2020 (PDF)

    https://mb.cision.com/Public/932/3324550/a895ddad28ba0b60.pdf

    Sustainability report 2020 (PDF)

    Cision View original content:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/annual-report-and-sustainability-report-2021-new-wave-group-ab-301268497.html

    SOURCE New Wave Group

    Markets Insider and Business Insider Editorial Teams were not involved in the creation of this post.

    CEO
    Torsten Jansson
    Phone: +46 31-712 89 01
    E-mail: [email protected]

    Source: https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/annual-report-and-sustainability-report-2021-new-wave-group-ab-1030302165

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    Elon Musk’s Neuralink scientists are not the first to get a monkey to control a computer with its mind

    Elon Musk. Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images Elon Musk's Neuralink showed off its technology allowing a monkey to play video games with it…

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    GettyImages 1229892421Elon Musk.

    Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images

    • Elon Musk’s Neuralink showed off its technology allowing a monkey to play video games with its mind.
    • Scientists have been able to get monkeys to control computer cursors via neural interfaces since 2002.
    • It’s an important test of Neuralink’s technology, but not a revolutionary piece of science.
    • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

    This week, Neuralink, a company founded by Elon Musk that specialises in neural interface technology, unveiled a fairly astonishing example of its work.

    In a video released Thursday, the company showed off how far its come testing its technology on primates. In the video, a macaque monkey named Pager, which Neuralink claims has had a chip implanted in his brain for six weeks, is able to play video games like Pong purely via the chip. Playing the games correctly meant Pager was rewarded with a sip of banana smoothie.

    This is, objectively, pretty amazing. As Musk put it in an excited tweet on Thursday: “A monkey is literally playing a video game telepathically using a brain chip!!”

    Perhaps even more amazing: monkeys have been playing video games with their minds for almost 20 years.

    “Brain-control of computer cursors by monkeys is not new,” Professor Andrew Jackson of the University of Newcastle told Insider, adding that the first comparable demonstrations of technology like Neuralink’s took place in 2002.

    A group of researchers in 2002 were able to show they could get a monkey to move a cursor on a computer screen at will, noting at the time that the technology could be used to help paralyzed people control screens in a similar way.

    Jackson added the idea behind the technology dates back as far as the 1960s. In 1969, a researcher called Eberhard Fetz connected a needle on a meter to a single neuron in a monkey’s brain, and was able to train the monkey to move that needle using only its brain activity.

    Neuralink, which was founded in 2016, is developing a microchip, which theoretically, would be implanted in a person’s skull, from which wires would fan out into their brain. These wires would be able to record brain activity, as well as stimulate areas of the brain.

    The idea is that these chips could help study and treat neurological diseases and conditions in the near term. In the long term, Musk says they form part of his ideal of a “symbiosis” between human consciousness and AI (although experts have frequently expressed skepticism about this part).

    Musk has been hyping up the monkey for years – but neuroscientists haven’t been that impressed

    Musk first gave the world a hint about Neuralink’s tests on monkeys during a streamed presentation of the company’s designs in 2019.

    “A monkey has been able to control a computer with its brain, just FYI,” he said, appearing to take Neuralink president Max Kodak by surprise with the announcement. “The monkey’s going to come out of the bag,” Musk joked.

    Andrew Hires, an assistant professor of neurobiology at the University of California, told Insider in 2019 that he was not surprised Neuralink had been able to achieve that result – and accurately predicted the kind of telepathic monkey computer-usage which Neuralink showed off in its video on Friday.

    “The monkey is not surfing the internet. The monkey is probably moving a cursor to move a little ball to try to match a target,” Hires said. This pretty well exactly matches one of the games Pager was shown playing in the video released Thursday.

    Musk started to hype up the monkey again earlier this year. “We’ve already got a monkey with a wireless implant in their skull … who can play video games using his mind,” he said during an interview on Clubhouse on January 31.

    Musk is a canny marketer, and he’s very familiar with using his own peculiar brand of fame to merchandise and advertise his companies. It’s worth noting that at the end of the video with a call for people to apply for jobs at Neuralink – making for an ingenious recruitment strategy.

    Neuralink is still doing new things, and the monkey is important

    While neuroscientists have said the underlying science of getting a monkey to play video games with its mind is not revolutionary, they have praised the engineering of Neuralink’s wireless chip.

    Speaking to Insider in September 2020 (following a presentation in which Neuralink showed off its technology working after being implanted in the brain of a pig) Professor Jackson said the development of any neural interface technology that doesn’t require wires to protrude out of the skin is a good thing, as it reduces the risk of infection.

    “Just from a welfare aspect for the animals, I think if you can do experiments with something that doesn’t involve wires coming through the skin, that’s going to improve the welfare of animals,” he said, adding that further down the road it could have benefits for humans as well.

    Elon Musk Neuralink pigsElon Musk showed off Neuralink’s tech in a pig in August 2020.

    Neuralink YouTube

    Responding to the video released on Thursday of Pager the monkey, Jackson said while it’s not earth-shattering, it is an important proof of concept.

    “I certainly do not mean to criticise them for demonstrating something that has been done before. It is a sensible way to validate any new technology. If you invent a new telescope, it makes sense to first point it where you know what you will see. So they are following a very sensible route to validate their device,” Jackson said.

    Rylie Green, a bioengineering researcher at Imperial College London, told Insider: “The best thing I can see from that video is that the macaque is freely moving. There’s also no visible package connected to it. I would say that is definitely progress – not super innovative but a nice positive step forward.”

    This week, Neuralink, a company founded by Elon Musk that specialises in neural interface technology, unveiled a fairly astonishing example of its work.

    Source: https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/elon-musk-neuralink-not-first-scientists-monkey-control-computer-mind-2021-4-1030291418

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    Fintel Connect Introduces Fintel Check, an AI-Powered Content Marketing Compliance Tool

    VANCOUVER, B.C., April 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Performance marketing technology company Fintel Connect announced the launch of its latest offering…

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    VANCOUVER, B.C., April 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Performance marketing technology company Fintel Connect announced the launch of its latest offering for the financial services industry, Fintel Check, a regtech tool to help financial brands keep their content marketing compliant. More than 50+ financial brands and fintechs are already leveraging Fintel Connect’s technology to enhance their marketing through its performance marketing network and tracking and reporting capabilities. Fintel Check represents the latest in a product suite designed to ensure financial institutions and their partners can meet emerging regulatory requirements in their marketing.

    Fintel Check is designed specifically for banks, financial institutions and fintechs to monitor their product and brand content and ensure that critical information like interest rates, terms and conditions, and more are accurately represented in marketing campaigns.

    The financial services space is highly regulated, with brands required to abide by strict laws and policies that govern advertising and consumer protection. According to Deloitte’s survey on regulatory and compliance trends in 2021, 91% of responding financial institutions expect to increase their use of automation and analytics to address regulatory compliance issues. Recognizing the steep challenge to continuously manage this across all marketing partners and digital channels, the team at Fintel Connect developed its monitoring tool to give marketers a way to more easily manage campaigns over time and scale their marketing efforts safely.

    “Financial institutions are looking to scale their digital growth, and a key friction point to achieving this is marketing compliance,” explains Nicky Senyard, CEO and Founder of Fintel Connect. “Fintel Check gives our partners the efficiency and transparency with their marketing efforts and content management in a way that cannot be achieved in-house. We take the friction points and heavy-lifting out of scaling digital partnerships.”

    Fintel Check uses AI and proprietary machine-learning algorithms to monitor, identify and report a brand’s mentions from publisher partners. Built-in reports provide complete transparency on coverage, as well as automatic screenshots that are stored in the company’s secure database and can be retrieved for auditing purposes.

    The tool follows the launch of the company’s performance marketing platform Fintel Performance, released in January 2020. Through Fintel Performance, brands are provided a scalable, cost-effective channel for digital customer acquisition. Fintel Check augments this channel by integrating a layer of safety and content monitoring checks.

    Plans are in place for the product’s next release in Q3 2021, which include added features such as custom compliance rules, expanded scanning capabilities, and more.

    Banks, financial institutions, and fintechs that are interested can visit the website to learn more about Fintel Check or schedule a demo.

    About Fintel Connect
    Fintel Connect is a leading performance marketing company dedicated to serving the financial services and fintech space. Based in Vancouver, Canada, the team at Fintel Connect support a wide range of tier one banks, community banks and financial technology companies through its extensive network of publishers and fully scalable tracking and reporting technology.

    If you’re:

    Press and would like to connect, please contact Gilian Ortillan at 604.783.1724 or [email protected]
    A merchant and would like to know more, visit https://fintelconnect.com/merchants.
    A publisher that would like to join our network, visit https://fintelconnect.com/publishers.

    Cision View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fintel-connect-introduces-fintel-check-an-ai-powered-content-marketing-compliance-tool-301262922.html

    SOURCE Fintel Connect

    Markets Insider and Business Insider Editorial Teams were not involved in the creation of this post.

    The tool follows the launch of the company’s performance marketing platform Fintel Performance, released in January 2020. Through Fintel Performance, brands are provided a scalable, cost-effective channel for digital customer acquisition. Fintel Check augments this channel by integrating a layer of safety and content monitoring checks.

    Source: https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/fintel-connect-introduces-fintel-check-an-ai-powered-content-marketing-compliance-tool-1030277042

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