Electric Vehicle adoption plays a pivotal role in the transition to carbon-free transportation and urban sustainability. However, the process of purchasing low-carbon assets is expensive and complex for consumers. 

We are excited to see the Electric Car Scheme, a UK-based salary sacrifice employee benefit startup, accelerate the future of sustainable urban mobility while enabling employees to make more environmentally-conscious decisions when purchasing new cars. 

Set up in June 2020 by Thom Groot and Tom Eilon, who found the government’s tax incentive to help employees switch to driving electric cars and go green impossible to access, ECS allows employees to lease electric vehicles at a 30-60% lower price – all at no cost to the employer. 

Since the start of the year, the salary sacrifice scheme has grown its customer base five-fold, making electric cars available across hundreds of companies. Many employees who have benefited from the scheme say that the opportunity made the difference between buying a polluting petrol or diesel car and going electric. The company estimates it has reduced as many harmful emissions as one would planting more than 100,000 trees.  And it’s just getting started!

Co-founder and CEO of The Electric Car Scheme, Thom Groot says: 

“We are ecstatic that so many companies are recognising how easy it can be to offer their employees a great perk and bring down emissions – all at no cost. It’s a real no-brainer.

The consistent feedback we get is that our scheme is the difference between going electric and sticking with fossil fuel cars.”

On our investment, our Managing Partner Reshma Sohoni, comments:

“Starting with electric car purchases, ECS is the catalyst for consumers to make net zero choices easily. The early customer love being shown is a testament to the need for a product like ECS. Furthermore, we think Thom and Tom have the perfect mix of operational expertise to build the company into a category leader and continue enabling the transition to net zero.”

We are excited to participate in Electric Car Scheme’s £2.5m funding round alongside Triple Point Ventures, Adjuvo, Portfolio Ventures, Ascension, Voyager, and a number of high-profile angel investors, including Henry de Zoete, Evelyn Bourke, Phil Chambers, Will Neale, and the Funding Circle co-founders Samir Desai, James Meekings and Andrew Mullinger.

With the new funding, the company plans to continue growing its team, invest in technology, and reach as many employers as possible. 

For more information, visit electriccarscheme.com.

The credit industry has gained criticism over the years, and rightly so with many companies profiting from their customers, rather than putting their best interests at heart. We believe there’s a huge opportunity for a challenger to come in and create a proposition that genuinely serves people’s needs. That’s why we are excited to back Yonder as they come out of stealth with their new credit card, built by ClearScore alumni, and with £20M in funding following a pre-seed round we led of £850k in February 2021.

The concept for Yonder was borne of CEO Tim Chong’s frustration with the struggle of accessing a quality credit provider as an Australian in London – despite a successful career and excellent credit score back home. While credit cards hold the key to building a credit score, securing purchase protection, managing cash flow, and numerous membership perks, Chong found countless customers were underwhelmed by the options available. The market size for ‘credit invisible’ customers who are underserved by current credit providers stands at 5.8 million people across the UK. Yonder’s mission is to restore consumers’ confidence in credit and eliminate stress and complexity from the customer experience.

“For too long, credit cards have short-changed and/taken advantage of consumers. Hidden fees, discriminatory credit scoring, and rewards that belong in the 1990s, all in the interest of the bank’s quarterly earnings,” said Yonder’s CEO and co-founder, Tim Chong. “We’re challenging the status quo with a beautiful card that helps our members discover the best of their city, and a promise to put the customer first.”

On our investment, our Managing Partner, Carlos Espinal, comments:

Credit and credit products do much more than simply allow people to buy things, increasingly, they can be the conduit to showcase what you want to support, and how you want to live your life. We backed the team at Yonder because they have a vision for how credit products need to evolve from where they are today, catering to the few and well established, rather than enabling a new generation of customer to live life and experience the best of what their local community has to offer.

Yonder’s mission is to make credit rewarding and empowering, taking the stress and complexity away from a tired industry. Their credit card rewards customers with access to exclusive drinking, dining and leisure experiences with partners including The Gladwin Brothers and Gunpowder restaurants; it will also provide comprehensive travel insurance and the ability to spend abroad with zero FX fees. The company takes a novel approach to evaluating credit suitability which is based on transaction data, using open banking to build a more nuanced, personalised picture of its customers’ spending habits than relying on traditional credit checks alone. They’re launching an iOS and Android app with the modern credit card basics you expect like Google Pay and purchase notifications. Yonder secured FCA authorisation in just nine months.

Joining Chong on his mission to transform customers’ relationship with credit are co-founders Theso Jivajirajah and Harry Jell, also of ClearScore, alongside senior talent from Monzo and Wise.

“The new funds will enable us to double our headcount and pack Yonder’s credit card with unrivalled features. We’re thrilled to have the backing of investors with such a strong track record in propelling consumer fintechs to success,” said Chong. “Our customers are adventurous spirits who want to unlock the best of their cities, and we’re partnering with some of the hottest experience providers in London to make sure their Yonder membership will deliver bang for their buck. We can’t wait for members to experience credit the way it should be.”

We’re delighted to join Northzone and LocalGlobe who are leading the round alongside angel investors  including Sharmadean Reid, Marshmallow founders Oliver and Alex Kent-Braham, and Rio Ferdinand.

For more information and to sign up visit yondercard.com

We are incredibly excited to announce our first investment in Africa as we back Jess Anuna and her vision to build technology for cross-border commerce with Klasha as part of a $2.4 million seed round led by Greycroft. We’re delighted to participate alongside a number of close friends including Seedcamp Expert in Residence and former Marketing head at Wise, Joe Cross; Gumtree Co-founder, Michael Pennington and First Round VC, Practical VC, Plug and Play, Expert Dojo and 2.12 Angels.

Klasha Founder, Jess Anuna

Not every partnership happens overnight. We first met Jess back in 2018 and were incredibly impressed with her experience at the likes of Shopify, Net-a-Porter, and Amazon and stayed close as she’s since pivoted and evolved Klasha to take on the massive undertaking of building technology for cross-border commerce to enable the 400 million+ internet users in Africa to more seamlessly transact online.

Africa presents vast opportunities for scaling quickly in commerce, with the total value of e-commerce expected to reach $29 billion by 2022. Still, the ability to pay online with African money methods including cards, M-Pesa, bank transfer and mobile money is challenging for consumers on the ground. Klasha believes that consumers in Africa should have built technology to facilitate the same frictionless access to the goods they want regardless of their geographic location.

“By 2025, half of the world’s population will live in Africa. At Klasha, we’re building the technology to facilitate frictionless cross-border payments and allow international businesses to scale seamlessly into Africa through our API,” Jessica comments. “Equally, we’re giving consumers in Africa the same access to the global e-commerce economy experienced on other continents. It is imperative that African consumers are able to remain globally competitive, which includes having access to the goods they want without payment or delivery restrictions.”

The appeal of Klasha’s core technology is that it allows African consumers to pay international online and offline retailers in African currencies through their preferred African payment method (card, bank account, USSD, M-Pesa, Mobile Money), while the retailers receive payouts in their dominant currencies, such as USD, GBP, EUR. Klasha has built several plug-in integrations for WooCommerce, OpenCart and BigCommerce. They also offer several other features such as checkout, payment links for merchants with no e-commerce front, wire transferring and a mobile app to allow for payments across friends and family.

In the past few months, Klasha has continued to power international businesses with the tools they need to grow and expand into Africa. Within five short months of launching, Klasha has already processed more than 20,000 transactions across Africa with an average 366% MoM growth rate. 

Our Managing Partner, Reshma Sohoni, comments, ‘’As Africa continues to undergo digitisation, there’s an increasing opportunity for online businesses in Europe and the US to garner market share quickly by accepting payments online in African currencies due to the nascent stage of commerce on the continent. Klasha is our first investment in Africa which will allow frictionless scalability for merchants into the continent through their cross-border payment technology, enabling billions of underserved consumers to access their services.’’

With this investment, Klasha will expand its technology to help international B2B and B2C businesses such as ASOS, Zara, Amazon, or Zoom to receive payments seamlessly online in African currencies from consumers across Africa. Klasha’s core technology allows African consumers to pay international online and offline retailers in African currencies while the retailers receive payouts in their dominant currencies, including USD, GBP, EUR. Klasha is currently available in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya and will invest in driving more revenue, growing its current 10,000 customer base, and expanding into new markets with three more African countries set to go live by Q4 this year.

We are incredibly excited for the journey ahead with Jess and the Klasha team.

If you’d like to join Klasha and are building an early-stage business that has the potential to radically change how we live, interact and buy, let us know what you’re building here.

One of the biggest strengths of the Seedcamp Nation is the huge value that comes from founders helping other founders. Although we haven’t gathered in person in over a year, the impact of our community is tangible through the incredible products and services being deployed around the world and the insights and advice being shared between our founders in private. 

Every day founders have questions about logistical challenges, administrative concerns, and more. Questions like how to choose the best cloud hosting platform, legal experts, or tax consultants. But one of the biggest value adds is the human connection; the open, honest conversation about leadership challenges. The pandemic further unlocked the power of our community with the unexpected upside that our founders have doubled down on our online platform – Mobilize –  to strike up new points of connection, and engage in discussion. Having founders from across Europe and beyond, brilliantly varies the insights shared and one recent discussion on avoiding pandemic-related burnout was particularly insightful. 

It started on a ‘normal’ Monday when Matt Wardle, Founder & CTO of Kasko reached out to the Seedcamp Nation for help with proven strategies for combatting this burnout when leading your team. What followed was an outpouring of useful advice, resources, and ideas from across the Seedcamp community that were far too great to keep to ourselves. 

Therefore we present to you the Seedcamp Nation Burnout Prevention Guide, a collection of tools and methods to try out for yourself and with your team to ensure that you’re thriving in remote settings despite the pandemic. 

Special thanks to all of the Seedcamp Nation members who shared their experiences and contributed ideas. 

Managing Your Team 

In the UK alone, 4 in 5 (79%) workers have felt ‘close to burning out’ at some point in the last year and more than half (51%) of workers reported feeling guilty about taking annual leave.  It’s paramount to focus on high-risk individuals and pay particular attention to changing behaviours: negative thinking, loss of focus, and feelings of being overwhelmed.

Staying Social 

Finding ways to replace water cooler conversation can be tricky, and one aspect of office life that we all miss dearly is shooting the breeze about what’s hot and what’s not on Netflix and in the news. Our Office Manager Alexandra found that she shared a love of the Eames designer with our very own Partner, Tom Wilson.

Here’s a list of other tips, activities, and apps suggested by the Seedcamp Nation to keep the team connected beyond work:

We’ll be adding more resources as we come across them, so watch this space.
(Updated Mar 2021)

$180M to back the next generation of Europe’s most exceptional entrepreneurs. Listen in as our leadership team shares more about our plans for Seedcamp VI.

Meet the team behind Seedcamp VI

It’s been over 15 years since we started Seedcamp. In that time, we’ve seen, well, a lot!

From navigating economic downturns and political crises to surviving a global health pandemic and bank collapses, we are no strangers to living through uncertain times. 

While volatility might be the current name of the game, at Seedcamp we are optimists at heart. Over this time, we’ve also seen the European tech ecosystem mature, professionalise, and join forces in times of crisis and experienced so many positive stories for Europe and across our Seedcamp Nation.

Now with a portfolio of over 460 companies – including 9 unicorns and two publicly listed companies – we believe we’re just scratching the surface when it comes to the talent and game-changing ideas to be found across the Continent. 

This is why we are incredibly excited to reach our latest milestone and launch our $180M Fund VI. Backed by 200+ of the world’s most impactful investors, this is by far our most ambitious fund to date. While the fund size may be larger (almost double that of Fund V), the entrepreneurial spirit of Seedcamp and the energy we bring around the teams we back remains very much the same. We believe now really is the moment to invest in the next decade of entrepreneurship. 

Community is at our core at Seedcamp which is why we are thrilled to have the trust of many of our own founders as investors in Fund VI, including the likes of Jeppe Rindom (Pleo), Johnny Boufarhat (Hopin), Taavet Hinrikus (Wise), Daniel Dines (UIPath), Mridula Pore (Peppy Health), Eldad Fuks (Appwrite), and many more.  

We’re in the business of building long-standing relationships across the Seedcamp Nation, and that’s as true for our founders as it is for our LPs. We are delighted to have the support of over 200 institutions, Angels, and members of the Seedcamp Network as investors in Fund VI. These include the likes of Vintage IP, TIFF, Ref Cap, Harbourvest, LGT, Legal & General, Arcano Partners, Sofina Group, EU VC, Michael Pennington (Gumtree), Will Neale (Grabyo), Paul Forster (Indeed), Ilkka Paananen (Supercell), Shakil Khan (Prima Materia) and Kärt Siilats (GoBeyondCapital).

With Fund VI, we can lead investment and write first cheques of up to $1M in Angel to Seed rounds. We remain sector-agnostic in our approach and are looking to back companies building foundational technologies spanning sectors, including the likes of Artificial Intelligence, cybersecurity, open source software, healthtech, fintech, and more.

We pride ourselves on being an organisation that pairs the agility and ethos of an Angel with the capital, operational excellence, and network of an experienced VC. And we’ve got the track record to prove it. Having worked with thousands of founders, we understand that at the ‘real’ earliest stage, our job is to be in your corner when you need us and to get out of your way when you don’t. We like to think of it as angel agility with some added VC Va-Va-voom.

We talk a lot about the Seedcamp Network economy. Our size is now such that we see the true power of the Seedcamp flywheel effect in full motion. Whether it’s companies acquiring one another (UiPath & Re:infer), selling to one another, or learning from and investing in each other, we truly believe the Seedcamp Nation is any early-stage founder’s unfair advantage. Our speed of decision-making, vast network, and close collaboration with angels make us the ideal partner. 

Don’t just take our word for it. Our founders go on to achieve great things and continue to support our ever-growing Seedcamp Nation as peers and experts, LPs, and even co-investors. We’ve known Taavet – co-founder of a company you may well have heard of, Wise, for well over a decade, and he had the following to say: 

“Seedcamp has been an incredible partner in building Wise from the earliest days to becoming a public company. I’m excited to back Seedcamp Fund VI as a repeat LP, continue to be part of the strong and ever-growing Seedcamp Nation, and co-invest in the next generation of world-class entrepreneurs building in Europe.” 

For Fund VI, we are proud to have alongside us one of Europe’s largest Angel and Expert Networks, specifically curated to support our founders to operationalise and scale faster. Our new Seedcamp Expert Collective (SxC), a community of 100+ top-quality operators who have scaled some of the world’s most successful businesses, including the likes of Uber, Stripe, Cloudflare, Revolut, Deliveroo, NextDoor, Skyscanner and Wise, and will provide support to founders and their teams through one-to-one sessions, workshops, content, micro-communities, and in some instances, angel investment. 

We were one of the first funds to go public with our deck when we launched Fund IV. In a continued spirit of transparency, we reveal what’s underneath the hood by publishing the deck we used to raise our oversubscribed Fund VI. We hope it helps all emerging fund managers and demonstrates to our founders that you truly will be in great company when joining the Seedcamp Nation. 

Seedcamp Fund VI Fundraising Deck

We’ve said it before, but it merits repeating. Seedcamp is the sum of its people. To everyone who’s put their trust in us over the past 15+ years and supports us and our founders, we thank you deeply. And to all the founders we are yet to meet, we cannot wait to learn what you’re building and partner together for this next chapter. 

If you want to join the Seedcamp Nation, tell us what you’re building here.

Listen in as our leadership team shares more about our plans for Seedcamp VI.

Join the Seedcamp Nation!

In the current surging rates environment, raising capital from VCs or angels has become increasingly expensive for companies, leading many founders to delay raising new rounds or to look for alternative sources of capital as the end of their runways loom.

Venture debt is one source of alternative financing that founders are increasingly turning to. Our Managing Partner Carlos Espinal chatted with Craig Netterfield from European venture debt specialist Columbia Lake Partners about:

– What exactly venture debt is? 

– What type of companies venture debt is suitable for? 

– How they “operate like a VC, but give loans rather than take equity”.

Carlos: How is venture debt different from traditional banking debt?

Craig: Traditional banks and venture lenders differ in three key areas:

  1. View of collateral. 

Most traditional banks will only consider assets (real estate, accounts receivable, re-sellable inventory, or machinery) as collateral for a loan. Less traditional banks will also view positive cash flow, even from asset-light companies, as collateral. Most banks will typically not loan to any loss-making companies.

Venture lenders typically lend to a much larger range of companies. This includes companies that are making losses if the cause of the losses is to increase enterprise value, for example, by growing revenues, creating intellectual property, or both.

  1. Lender protections.

Banks typically require loanees to keep cash deposits in an account at the lending firm. They also commonly use financial covenants as tools to help them manage the risk of their loans.

Venture lenders won’t use financial covenants to protect their loans. Companies that are considering venture debt need the flexibility to adjust their operations quickly in response to market conditions. In my experience, financial covenants can often incorrectly signal a company is underperforming. These “false positives” cause loan defaults and angst for management and VC shareholders.

Venture lenders also do not require portfolio companies to deposit cash in specific institutions. Firms are free to bank with whomever they choose. The importance of this flexibility was seen most recently with the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, which resulted in many companies’ cash being trapped days before payroll was due.

  1. Pricing and structure.

The traditional credit culture inside banks – which is unlikely to change quickly as it has served them well for hundreds of years – is to price loans within a tight band and control for losses by declining loans they view as risky. 

Venture lenders use a wider set of tools in order to control losses and manage risk. These include adjusting the size or duration (repayment profile) of a loan (both upfront and during the loan) and pricing in the risk. This means that venture lenders are willing to provide loans to a wider range of companies than traditional banks, but they do so at a higher cost.

Carlos: What has changed in the last year due to rising interest rates?

Craig: The cost of equity has increased. 

The simple “finance math” reason for this is that in a time when interest rates are near zero, the value of $1 today is similar to the value of $1 in one year or even several years. The present value of tomorrow’s dollar is very close to a dollar. But each interest rate increase causes that present value of tomorrow’s dollar to fall. 

This means that the value a VC gets from a future company sale (which might happen in 5-10 years) is much lower in our current period of higher interest rates than it was when rates were closer to zero. This reduction in exit value means VCs have to pay less today in order to get a similar return at exit, making “today’s” venture raise more expensive for a company than “tomorrow’s” venture raise. 

The operational implication for startups has been a switch from VCs funding today’s growth (which is now more expensive) to preferring to fund growth at some future “tomorrow” date when it is less expensive. This means that high-burn, high-growth companies are out of favour, and also means that high-burn, not-high-growth companies will really struggle to raise new equity rounds from new lead investors.

Venture lenders will often look more closely at growth efficiency within companies and lean more heavily into companies with a strong underlying business that will benefit from delaying fundraising through this current period of uncertainty.

Carlos: How does increasing interest rates alter the relative cost of venture capital vs venture debt?

Craig: Despite the increase in interest rates, venture debt is still a cheaper alternative to venture capital. Venture debt is typically half the cost of venture capital when looking for funding. Even with interest rates on the rise, this is still the case because the pricing impact of reduced present value of that 5-10 year company sale is far greater than the increase of the interest rate charged on a loan.

Carlos: How do the investment priorities differ between venture capital and venture debt funds?

Craig: Even with interest rates rising and the value of rounds dropping, I believe that the investment priorities are the same for both venture debt and venture capital, which is to fund good companies. 

At Columbia Lake Partners, we are currently seeing many companies who raised equity in 2021 and 2022 testing the market for additional capital. These companies are now considering debt to help fund them through this difficult equity market and then look to raise a new equity round in late 2024. We are actively deploying capital into those companies with strong underlying metrics (discussed below).

Carlos: What makes a company a good candidate for venture debt today?

Craig: In the current environment, good candidate companies for venture debt often have:

  1. A 9-18 month cash runway, where a loan could extend this by an additional six or so months. Companies with shorter runways may combine a smaller equity round with venture debt;
  1. A low-burn rate, although higher-burn companies can be a fit where metrics are improving and the company is becoming more efficient over time;
  1. A supportive investor syndicate. Being in a turbulent funding environment makes the investor syndicate and board dynamics ever more important. Our experience has taught us that strong boards can best help companies through a period such as this.

Carlos: From the founder’s perspective, in what scenarios should I be considering venture debt?

Craig: If you believe in your growth story and don’t want to raise a priced equity round in the current environment, venture debt offers a less dilutive way to achieve this growth and provides you with more optionality beyond 2023, when the funding environment has potentially improved. 

There are several use cases for debt in this environment, which can help prevent (or reduce the size of) a bridge round or save the use of your VCs’ funding reserves as “just in case” money. 

Some companies will also use this environment to buy direct or adjacent competitors or advance R&D through acquisition. A loan can help fund the cash portion of these deals.

You can read more about use cases for debt financing in Columbia Lake Partners’ Knowledge Centre: Knowledge Centre — Columbia Lake Partners | Financing European Growth (clpgrowth.com)

Carlos: How are venture lenders different from other types of debt providers like revenue-based financiers?

Craig: Venture lenders differ in the type of products that they offer and in how the lenders themselves are financed.

At Columbia Lake Partners, specifically, we see ourselves as long-term partners for a company. Our typical loan is for 3-4 years; we have numerous examples of companies who borrowed a small amount from us initially and then grew that loan by as much as 5-10x over time. Our approach is a mix of looking “at the numbers” and qualitative assessment of the management team and the opportunities each company has; One of our portfolio companies referred to our team as being like “VCs who happen to lend” as opposed to “bankers who work with tech companies”.

The last few years have seen a growth in quant-oriented firms offering loans, often based on a percentage of annual recurring revenues. These loans will have a much shorter duration and a higher IRR, albeit with no warrants. A fixed-fee loan repaid over a short period can be expensive on an IRR-basis but helpful for smoothing out working capital fluctuations. Some specialty finance companies also use a quantitative approach while offering longer-duration loans, using leverage so they can offer these loans with no warrant and still generate the returns their VC backers need.

This piece has been edited by our visiting analyst Daniel Inge.

The content of this blog post is solely for informational purposes and may not be construed as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the European healthcare ecosystem underwent an accelerated digital transformation. Despite significant progress, the pharmaceutical sector remains one of the least digitized sectors within healthcare, costing pharmacies financial and time resources and impacting their relationships with suppliers, partners, and, most importantly, patients.

This is why we are excited to back Faks, a Paris-based startup that offers pharmacies a digital, easy-to-use platform to manage all their after-sales operations, for all their suppliers, all in one place – from promotions and claims to expired products management. Founded in 2020 by Corentin Geoffray, a tech entrepreneur, and Clément Goupy, a former pharmaceutical representative, the digital platform streamlines the relationship between pharmacies and their suppliers and helps them work better together.

By using Faks’s platform, pharmacies are freed from considerable administrative work and can dedicate more time and attention to their patients. Furthermore, groups of pharmacies can more easily federate the members of their network. At the same time, Faks enables suppliers’ sales and support teams to gain operational efficiencies.

Victor Felguera, a Key Account Manager at Modilac Laboratory and one of Faks’s users, comments:

“By combining all the transactions negotiated with our pharmacy partners into one intuitive interface, Faks has given us real fluidity and saved our sales force considerable time.”

As proof of its value add to the pharmaceutical sector, Faks is now the leader in the French market. With a growing network that includes 12,000 partner pharmacies (60% of the French pharmacy network), 118 pharmacy associations, and more than 700 pharmaceutical companies (including industry giants like Biogaran, Biocodex, and Bouchara), the company aims to consolidate its leadership position and expand into new European markets.

Corentin Geoffray and Clément Goupy, Co-founders of Faks emphasise:

“This funding round is decisive to further consolidate our leadership position in the French market and the starting point for our internationalization. After having partnered up with 60% of French pharmacies, we are convinced that our solution can profoundly transform the business of pharmacy professionals throughout Europe.”

On why we invested, Felix Martinez from our investment team comments:

We’re thrilled to be partnering with Corentin and the Faks team, who are going after one of the least digitized industries within the healthcare sector – pharma. Since launching, Faks have already onboarded 60% of French pharmacies onto the platform and have a number of paying labs and powerful network effects coming into play. We think the early love they’re seeing for the product is testament to both how much their product is resonating in this underserved market and also to the team’s ability to execute.”

We are excited to participate in Faks’s €5 million funding round alongside our friends at Connect Ventures and Cocoa Ventures. The funds will help Faks to further strengthen its leadership position in France and fuel its European expansion and grow its technical and commercial teams.

For more information visit faks.co.

In a post-pandemic world, early-stage founders have multiple options for building their teams and choosing their ideal work mode(s). However, the decision between on-site, hybrid, and remote can be a complex one, involving multiple factors, such as access to talent, legislation, and people operations. 

While remote work became the default at the height of Covid-19, post-pandemic life has seen many organisations revert to old behaviours, pulling people back to offices and causing a fair deal of controversy in the process. 

April Hoffbauer, Vice President of People at Maze, Seedcamp-backed global and fully distributed startup Maze, still believes that remote and fully distributed offers an excellent opportunity for early-stage startups to tap into the global talent pool from day one.

Passionate about scaling thoughtfully and empowering great teams for long-term success, April is one of the rare people in the tech ecosystem who has been living and breathing all things remote since pre-pandemic life, and before words like hybrid working or fully remote were common language. Her experience as a Senior Manager Recruiting Operations and Insights at all remote tech unicorn, GitLab, where she supported and optimized the people team, equipped her with a set of best practices and tools to help build and scale fully-distributed teams. 

In her current role, April leads an agile people function focused on designing and implementing organizational development strategies that reinforce the company’s values, build a world-class culture, and enable greater effectiveness and scalability.

While remote requires a great deal of forethought and planning, it opens up a whole new world of talent that you don’t have otherwise.

April Hoffbauer

In conversation with our Director, Natasha Lytton, April shares her insights on everything that goes into how to think about and set up building a remote, fully-distributed, and asynchronous team. Tune in or read more below:

N: If you were to wind back into the early days and thinking about guidance for startup founders, what do you think startups should consider when thinking fully remote as an option when they first start to build out the team?

A: Fully remote, first of all, is inclusive, and it invites folks with new perspectives and experiences to be a part of creating something brilliant. When you distribute your workforce, you empower creativity and focus, and especially when leaders build with transparency and trust their teams to work asynchronously, you create magic – people are able to work when it’s best for them and thus produce awesome work. If you want passionate people who are empowered to pursue their passions, both personally and professionally, it’s just smart business to diversify your workforce across the world if you can.

The beauty of that is you’re democratizing tech. Tech can often be skewed towards centers of privilege and discount amazing talent that may not have the ability to uproot their lives to move to a tech hub or may not have the access to do so.

If you are able to spread out your workforce, you’re better set up to begin with. It’s a lot easier to start out as remote than to adopt new ways of working. We saw that a lot during the pandemic when companies tried to replicate office experiences or didn’t have the tools or the processes set up for a foundation of remote.

It’s very intentional work that you have to create. Once your company has that culture, it will evolve with you, and your people will be invested in making sure that it’s successful. If you start with that at the beginning, you’re already one step ahead.

N: What do you think are some of the critical factors that a company should consider when they’re assessing Who are we and what do we wanna be? Should we be onsite? Should we be remote versus hybrid? How do you think through and advise people to determine those early parts and steps? 

A: My opinion will be biased because, obviously, I’m a firm believer in remote. I often joke that you could not pay me enough to go back into an office setting, I am fully bought in. I am not going back. 

I will say not what’s right or wrong for you. You and your founders and your early team really need to figure that out for yourself. Each one has pros and cons, but from my experience, remote is the best when done right.

The first thing to think about is how hard hybrid can be. There’s always going to be this imbalance of how your team members are treated based on their physical proximity to the office, their ability to come into the office, or if they’re fully remote. And just a small example of that is the pre or post-meeting talk.

If you remember any kind of meeting that you went to in a conference room, you’re always chatting before and especially after. And sometimes, that chatter after can completely change what was discussed in the meeting. If you have people who were virtually dialing in, they missed all of that.

How do you communicate that to them and, more importantly, the why behind what the new decision might be or the new direction might be? I think hybrid is just hard. Onsite can be fun, but it’s expensive, not only in terms of the overhead and office costs that you have but also just the energy that your team has to expend to get to the office or to get ready for the day to go to the office.

The small talk chatter that happens can be draining for some personality types. So when you’re in the office, you have a lot more of an energy drain than just work. Also, the proximity of having friends from the office can be energizing, but again, you’re set within that time zone or that city limit, so you’re limiting yourself in that way.

The pool of talent is much smaller. And again, there’s a real risk of not diversifying your knowledge and, therefore, your product, and then onsite is all about having that physical presence, but it doesn’t always translate to productivity or output. 

While remote requires a great deal of forethought and planning, it opens up a whole new world of talent that you don’t have otherwise if you’re stuck to a proximal location. 

You have to be intentional about documenting what you’re doing, how you do it, and why you do it, not just for today, but also for the future in that historical look-back aspect of it. 

People think remote work is easy, but it’s probably 10 times harder to build because you have to be so intentional about it, and you can’t just show up and do your thing and then leave. But, again, it will probably produce a hundred times the outcome because you’re working in a way that best serves your people and your team, diversifying your knowledge base and your team members.

N: Do you think from your experience that there are certain types of business that are better suited to these different styles of working?

My experience has been very tech, and knowledge-based. I’m not really familiar with e-commerce-type businesses. I do know that there are some that are remote and have been successful at that. But it’s also a matter of if you have your knowledge-based workers or your corporate workers remote, can you also have that in production and then shipping and receiving and things like that?

So I think e-commerce would be interesting, but I am definitely not an expert in that area to talk to that.

N: Are you seeing there’s a competitive advantage for you as a remote-first organization, and have you seen a shift more broadly back to more traditional ways of working post-pandemic?

A: Pre-pandemic at GitLab, we had a Head of Remote who our CEO wanted to champion remote work, or the CEO of GitLab is a very firm believer in remote work and an asynchronous org. The head of remote’s primary purpose was to evangelize the need for remote work and how to do it, and how to do it right.

Then you had the pandemic, where companies were scrambling to try to figure this out. How do we continue people being productive when we’re not allowed to go into the office? What was interesting at that time to me was you had companies who weren’t getting it right. They just couldn’t figure it out or weren’t invested in it, or weren’t open to new ways of working. I think those are the ones who have articles about how remote workers are unproductive and how they need to return to the office so they’re not playing video games during the day or something like that. So if it was done wrong, you have this big swing to go back into the office, that the office is the only way for you to be productive and to have a successful workforce.

But if people were open to new ways of working and invested in people to make sure remote was done right, invested in tools, which is a big thing to ensure that it was done right and evolved with it to make it successful, I think those are the ones that have converted and are like, I get it.

For us, at Maze, the competitive advantage was we were able to scale quite rapidly at a time when talent was really hard to come by and the market was super competitive. 

I think it also informs our product much better. Our product is aimed at making sure product teams can research and do unmoderated testing. We’re able to do that when we’re remote and work asynchronously to a large degree as well at Maze. So it’s been huge for our success, huge for our growth, and also our culture.

N: What are some of the best practices you recommend founders adopt based on your experiences from both Maze and GitLab? 

A: A lot of my foundation of ways of working comes from GitLab. They were very prescriptive in many of the working styles at that time, which I think, again, is sometimes necessary in a remote world.

One thing about GitLab that we’ve truly adopted at Maze is working asynchronously as much as possible. I often say that we aren’t remote first. I had a whole conversation about why I don’t believe remote first is a way to describe a company like Maze, where we’re fully distributed.

We’re async first, and we default to asynchronous ways of working as opposed to making sure everybody is on at the same time because we’re spread out across the world, and you can’t have everybody on at the same time.

It’s important to document everything and to use meeting agendas not only so that you’re making good use of your synchronous time but also the documentation for historical decisions is super important, especially in startup worlds where you sometimes are struggling to remember what happened yesterday.

And then you try to think back to why did we make this decision a year and a half ago and what are we doing? If you have that historical documentation, it’s right there for you. Also, if you have a meeting and it’s to discuss things or to make a decision, I always call those a working session so that people know what the purpose of the time together is. Is it to brainstorm and to try to figure out something together? Is it trying to solve a problem quickly, and you need that synchronous time? Call it what it is. Don’t just have a meeting, just for the sake of meeting.

Developing processes is very important. Providing training on those processes early and often and making sure that you’re evolving and if it’s a living, breathing process that you’re doing because processes do change.

Investing in tools is super important, especially in supporting fellow tech companies. They’re out there trying to solve these real problems that we have, let’s invest in them. I also love investing in tools from startups because they’re open to feedback and they’re open to helping us solve our problems because we are, hopefully, the future, and they want their tool to be successful for future employees.

One of the things we sometimes forget is the individual is responsible to set the boundaries for themselves, to set them early, and to stick to them. For me personally, this is sometimes the hardest thing to do. When you have internet anywhere you go, and you can jump on your hotspot anywhere you go, it’s sometimes very hard to disconnect, and you need to make sure that you’re taking that time away for yourself and not just talk about the productivity that can increase as a part of remote work. But remember, there’s a human there too. And don’t forget those human elements.

N: How do you balance boundary setting in this world where you perhaps wouldn’t have as much information naturally about people and their lives, and what they’re doing? Are there any tips or processes you have in place to help encourage that, as well as any opportunities or things you encourage for more human interactions day to day that aren’t with a set purpose in mind? 

Yeah, I think those are two very different points. The human element to it, so it’s not just like a transactional thing, is something that will be unique to every company, and that’s why investing in a people team early helps because you can set an intention behind some of those moments and having creativity and having fun times together that aren’t just a virtual happy hour or something like that, I think is important and then creating boundaries for yourself. You need to figure out what works best for you. And one of the terms that GitLab coined, at least I think it’s from them, is a manager of one, where I need to manage my day.

I need to manage my priorities and rearrange my to-do list in a way that makes sense for me. And then, my manager, my CEO doesn’t know what time I log off for the day. They don’t know how many hours I’m working, so I have to be accountable for myself, and everybody has their own way of doing it.

I personally try to bookend my days with meditation, with walking the dog or something that gets me physically away from the computer, away from the office, and as much as possible, trying to walk away from that. The only company tool I have on my phone is the calendar because if I didn’t have that, I would always be late. Other than that, I don’t have Slack, I don’t have email, I don’t have anything else on my phone because it’s just too easy to check in for a minute, or I’m just going to go clear out my email. 

You really have to be responsible for yourself in those regards and find ways that work for you. Because we work asynchronously first, nobody is required to work a nine-to-five or something like that. 

It’s really about how you’re successful in your day. So if you need to work at night, because that’s when you’re more productive, or that’s when your house is quiet, or your caregiver, and that’s when your partner is able to be the primary caregiver, that’s great. Do what works best for you. I don’t expect you to be on at specific times. 

N: Are there any leadership styles that are particularly well adapted for running either remote or async first global companies? 

The manager of one again is self-management. I think that’s really important. But if you’re talking about people leaders within a company, empathetic leadership is very important. You have to recognize that the line between work and personal life is more blurred than ever in a remote work environment. You have to care for the human as much as you do for the employee. Recognizing that at any moment of the day, that line can get crossed and blurred, and that’s okay, but you have to recognize that as a people manager.

Servant leadership is another style that is very important. And continuing to get more of a spotlight where you’re empowering others to thrive. You’re supporting and guiding them without needing to micromanage or without needing to dictate how or when the work gets done, and also, you no longer need to be the loudest voice.

Stereotypically, the people in power are the loudest voice in the room, and they’re more of dictating what is getting done and how it’s getting done and standing over your shoulder to a degree to ensure it’s getting done, where hopefully, with servant leadership that’s not the case and that’s no longer happening.

N: What are some of the biggest mistakes you think founders make when building distributed teams? 

First, remote has been seen as just simply working from home, and that’s not really the case. You can work from coffee shops or in a car.

Making sure that people are set up for success with tools to work from wherever they’re most productive and that connections have to be intentional and have to be built specifically for virtual engagement. And it’s not just ‘not in the office,’ it’s elevating the trust you have in your employees, and that trust and communication go hand in hand, where you as a leadership team are not making decisions in a vacuum or without transparency. 

You are setting a foundation of communication documentation that earns the trust of your employees and that your employees feel trusted and empowered.

I also think mental health can be an afterthought in remote work, but ensuring people have psychological safety and are supported emotionally and professionally are more important than ever when you remove that proximity to their coworkers. Again, not investing in the team that runs your remote business.

For us, it’s the people team. I believe that the people team is generally, historically, the most understaffed, and when you add the complexities of remote work, it’s worth investing in an amazing people team early in the company’s history to ensure that you have that set foundation to build and scale off of.

And then the last thing I’ll say on this topic is the ops of remote and global companies can get super complex. As the VP of people, I’ve also been over legal and IT ops and, until very recently, finance. We have team members in 36 different countries, and you can’t imagine how complex that can get.

Things that I think about on a daily basis are typically outside of the people realm where we’re issuing stock options or getting laptops to people in all corners of the world, or ensuring global compliance, which our world does not set up for remote work to be easy but most importantly, it’s to keep everyone engaged and thriving.

My CEO and I joke all the time that everything we know, Legal or stock admin is something we know against our will because some situation has cropped up that we didn’t encounter before, and we had to figure it out together, but it was never something that we were like, oh, today I wanna learn how to issue stock to somebody in the Philippines.

You’re always on the same side of the table when you’re working together. That can be really fun, but sometimes, again, you find out stuff that you’re like, I never wanted to know any of this information, but now I know it.

Key takeaways: 

Authorization plays a key role in the continually shifting cybersecurity landscape. With more companies and organisations falling prey to cyberattacks and data breaches, permission management offers a viable solution to minimise the risks.

We are excited to announce our investment in Cerbos, a scalable, open-source authorisation layer for implementing roles and permissions.

Co-founded by experienced technologist and Seedcamp Expert in Residence Emre Baran, alongside Charith Ellawala (previously at Elastic, Qubit, and Ocado), Cerbos is on a mission to make authorization simpler to implement and manage. It enables teams to separate their authorization process from their core application code, making their authorization system more scalable, secure, and easier to change as the application evolves.

Emre Baran, co-founder and CEO at Cerbos emphasizes:

“Decoupling authorization makes life easier for both developers as well as product managers and security teams who create the requirements. Once implemented, the developers can focus on the rest of their job without having to deal with every change in access control logic.” 

With the help of the newly launched Cerbos Cloud, developers, and product teams can focus their efforts on building their core product and maxismising business value.

He adds:

“We are launching Cerbos Cloud today to take away the operational burden of managing, testing and deploying changes. Developers can now spend even more of their valuable time delivering great products instead of maintaining the infrastructure of the authorization layer.”

On why we backed Cerbos, our Managing Partner Reshma Sohoni comments:

“Cerbos’s open-source authorisation layer offers companies an elegant and versatile permission management solution along their scaling journey, empowering them to focus on their core product development and save valuable resources. Their solution being successfully implemented by Seedcamp-backed companies, including 9fin, Salesroom, and Ourspace, exemplifies the effects of the Seedcamp Nation in motion. Cerbos’s early validation of use cases and easy reach into a wide and growing customer base are the perfect manifestation of the Seedcamp Network economy.”

We are excited to participate in Cerbos’s $7.5 million extended seed round led by OMERS Ventures with participation from angel investors Ryan King (co-founder and CTO of Chime), Zeynep Inanoglu Ozdemir (former CMO of Palo Alto Networks), Zach Holman (early GitHub engineer), Zach Lloyd (founder and CEO of Warp) and Lewis Tuff (CTO of Brevan Howard Digital). The new capital brings its total funding raised to date to $11 million.

The company plans to use the new funding to advance its offerings.

For more information, visit cerbos.dev.

Sign up for the waiting list for early access here.

Our Expert in Residence, David Mytton, shares his hard-won insights on how to build your early engineering team. Previously, as the CEO at Server Density, a SaaS cloud monitoring product (acquired by StackPath in 2018), he ran product engineering in a team of around 300 people before leaving in 2019. In January 2021, he launched console.dev, a free weekly newsletter for experienced engineers to find the best devtools and jobs.

How do you branch out and source candidates outside your personal network? What are developers looking for, and how do you stand out? How do you know whether someone is good or not? Do degrees or specific tech experience matter anymore? What are market salaries?

These are some of the key questions David will guide you through in his two-part article focused on sourcing and selecting engineering talent in early-stage startups.

Hiring developers is hard. Hiring good developers is even harder.

When building your first engineering team, as an early-stage company, you’ll go through two main stages: 1) Sourcing and 2) Selection. 

Before sourcing, essential preparation is answering some of the key questions a developer or engineer wants to know before they consider applying:  

It’s not sufficient to think about them and write them on a private Notion page. You actually need to get them online and start the selling process before you even put job ads out and start speaking to engineers. Good candidates do a lot of research into the company. The best engineers are rarely on the market, but when they see an interesting company, they want to learn all about it.

In Part I, I focus on sourcing engineering talent, from writing a compelling job ad to defining your selection criteria and identifying the right channels to reach out to potential candidates. 

Sourcing Engineers

Finding good engineers in the first place is challenging. Start by figuring out what you are going to put in your job ad. 

The question that you’re trying to answer with this is, What will I be doing?”. 

The areas to focus on are:

 1) Putting in real numbers 

 2) Publishing what your selection criteria are

If you don’t have a product in production yet, then putting real numbers in is a bit more challenging. This was a good way that we used to promote what were doing at Server Density, my previous company, because we were processing huge volumes of monitoring data. 

We were processing over 150,000 writes per second into the database. These numbers are interesting to developers because it shows you’re operating at a level where they’re going to have to solve interesting problems. If you’re not at that scale, then you can think about the challenges that you’re solving in the product. UX challenges are interesting if you’ve got a product that is doing some innovative things on how your users interact with it; interesting things that you’ve done in the backend to deal with large volumes of data or transforming data; anything where there’s an interesting technical challenge, whether it’s at scale, whether it’s interesting algorithms using interesting tooling and technologies, those are all things you can highlight in the job ad.

Next, it is essential to think through the selection criteria because it’s how you assess candidates in an objective way. Putting these into the job ad shows that it’s going to be a place that is thoughtful in how it evaluates candidates and is relevant to their current experience.

Also, be aware of what you shouldn’t include in the job ad: a long list of detailed requirements (e.g., very specific technologies, excessive numbers of years of experience in those technologies, and things that really are nice to have rather than actual requirements). Otherwise, it rules people out. If you put too much, people just won’t apply. 

I would always prefer to spend time filtering more applications to find an outlier who might not otherwise have seemed like a fit than have them not apply because they didn’t hit all the requirements. In particular, this applies to university degrees, which are generally irrelevant for startups. Unless you’re doing something in a very deep tech, scientific sector, there’s some regulatory requirement that means you have to have certain qualifications, or you truly need the algorithmic background that computer science brings, having them just rules people out. I’ve yet to find a startup that actually needs people with specific degrees.

Once you’ve sorted out the job ad, the next task is actually sourcing engineers. Below are some of the best places to start, broken into three levels with different frequencies of use:

Level 1: Everyone uses these recruiting channels

Your network: The first step is using your network – people you know, your friends, and people that your investors and other founders know who might be interested in joining the company.

This can scale for a surprising number of people. Once you’ve got a couple of people in, having them bring their friends in is a good way of building that initial team. The caveat to that is that you are more likely to be hiring people who are similar to you, which is generally fine at the beginning but starts to introduce diversity challenges pretty quickly. Having diversity of thought in all sorts of different ways is really important for solving those difficult problems later on. 

LinkedIn: Despite the fact that it’s not very effective, it is something that you have to do. Developers tend not to use the platform, even though they might have a profile. However, it is a way of finding people by company or job title and then using that to locate them in other ways.

GitHub is a very good way of doing this. A startup I know used the GitHub API to find a large number of profiles and do a lot of filtering to go out to make individual contacts with the developers on there. Often the email address is in the profile. If you want to be really cheeky about it, you can clone the Git repository and look at the Git log to get their email address, but you have to be careful with this because just spamming developers with generic emails is not going to put your company in a good light. Make sure the email is customized and relevant.

Jobs boards are another option, depending on the type of engineers that you are looking for. The best engineers don’t really use job boards because they already have good jobs, and if they want another job, they’re going to be able to find one very easily. They’re good for less experienced developers. There are job boards that specialize in certain areas, but they tend to be pretty low yield in terms of the success rate but very high volume in terms of the applications. It’s something that’s worth doing because it’s not particularly expensive, but the success rate is particularly low. 

Level two: Things that lots of people do, but not everybody

Candidate search platforms Hired and AngelList (now Wellfound) are options that work. There are profiles on there, but they suffer from the same problems as job boards, even though they are a bit more specialized. AngelList has a reputation for being good for startups, which narrows down the filtering quite a bit. However, they are also high volume and low yield.

Depending on the type of person that you are looking for, universities can be quite good. They tend to work on the university term cycles. There’ll be more people who are interested in jobs as we get into the summer term compared to the beginning of the academic year. This makes it more of a longer-term source of inexperienced candidates, but don’t forget the graduate students as well – they may be taking a career break and could have just the experience you’re looking for. Universities are very keen to engage with potential employers because it’s all part of the statistics that they publish about how their graduates go to get jobs afterward. 

Recruiters are another option, but you have to really think about the incentives and for which roles those are particularly important.

Unless you are headhunting an executive or you are recruiting just one or two people, recruiters tend not to work very well because the incentives are misaligned. If they’re on a retainer, then there’s no real incentive for them to find anyone quickly. And if they’re on a success fee, then their profit decreases the more time that they have to spend searching.

So the only real way to use a recruiter is when you’re hiring five to 10 people or more, and you have someone in-house, either as a contractor for six to 12 months or on a permanent basis. They are then incentivized to hire good people because they’ll be working alongside them.

Level three: Few people do these things, and they certainly don’t do them well and consistently

Blogging is probably the most effective way of hiring people, but it takes a lot of time, and you don’t see the results right away. If you’ve ever read anything on the Cloudflare or Fly blogs, then you’ve read a recruiting blog. Their primary purpose is to hire engineers from technical blog posts. You can see the type of quality of blog posts that you need to write. 

These blog posts also serve as a great way of raising the awareness of the engineering organization. You have to write technical blog posts. You have to get technical people to write them, and they have to be very high quality. The problem is that engineers want to be writing code rather than blogging, so this often requires dedicated teams of marketing engineers. In the early stages, that will just be one of the technical founders – it’ll be one of the highest-yield tasks you can do.

There are often other communities that people are part of as well. You can mine these by actually just being involved – not scraping the participants and spamming them, but being involved in a way that raises your profile. Within this, open source is another way of finding people to hire. If you’ve got open-source projects, then hiring your contributors is a good way to get people on board.

Conclusions and key takeaways 

Before even publishing your job ad, make sure you answer the key questions every talented engineer would have before applying, from company culture to how code is shipped:

Putting in real numbers and publishing what your selection criteria are essential in the sourcing process. They provide candidates with specific insights into how the engineering organization operates and also help you filter the right profiles. 

Stay tuned for Part II, which will guide you through the selection process for building your first engineering team. 

In Part II of his piece on building your early engineering team, our Expert in Residence, David Mytton, walks you through the five stages of selecting engineers. If you’ve missed Part I on sourcing engineering talent, you can read it here

Once you’ve sourced candidates, the next part is the selection process. I’ll break this down into five separate stages:

Stage one: Application

The best people never apply for jobs because they already know people internally, so they skip that process. However, that tends to be lower volume and you will still want to have brand new applicants applying through a normal process.

People applying will be sending their CVs through so you can do some very basic screening. A lot of companies just ignore the CV or only use it as a simple filter. Something that I used was to have a keyword that I required all applicants to put in their cover letter, even if there was nothing else in the cover letter at all. The keyword was in the middle of the ad, and that tested to make sure that the applicant had actually read the full advert. It allowed us to screen out most people who apply using a shotgun approach of sending applications out to hundreds of companies.

Stage two: Writing exercise

There is a direct correlation between the ability to write prose and the ability to code. The next stage that I always used was to have a short writing exercise. I asked them to compare MongoDB to MySQL or some other relatively easy technical analysis. 

Ask candidates to write a couple of hundred words and spend 20-30 minutes putting together a short article on the comparison. With this, you are checking for the ability to explain and write without mistakes. If you can’t write a couple of hundred words without making grammatical and spelling errors, then the quality of your code is also going to be poor.

Stage three: Coding exercise

A coding exercise is a good way to test whether someone can actually do the job. It should be very short, just a couple of hours (so someone can do it in an evening or weekend), and it should be compensated with a reasonable fee. It is important to make sure that you are not just doing random tests. It also needs to be representative of what they might do in their day job, which could be building a simple client for your public API or fixing an issue in a open source repo – something relevant and easy to do.

Stage four: Meet them in person

After you assess their technical ability, spend a bit more time by actually meeting them in person. This is a good way to assess them for cultural fit, but also just to see what they’re like to work with. Even if you have a remote team, doing this in person has significant value. Some kind of pair programming session on a call is an alternative to that, but really try to do it in person if possible.

Remember that you’re still selling. The person has applied to you, but you still have to sell them on your company and why they should join. Make the process very smooth. Show candidates that they’re completely looked after – any travel is organized, and it feels like they’re a VIP. Showing that you actually care about them is a good way to persuade them to join!

Stage five: Have a quick response

Then, finally, have a quick follow-up. You don’t want to rush a decision, but it shouldn’t take more than a few weeks to run through the entire hiring process. 

Avoid puzzles and tests. Whiteboarding a theoretical technical architecture might be acceptable, but writing code in anything other than a fully set-up editor with the internet is a waste of time and not representative of real-world development. So is anything that is going to take more than a couple of hours to half a day. Remember, people have real jobs, they have families, and they have other things they would rather be doing.

Going through a very lengthy process is something you want to avoid. Also, don’t ask about salary. Ensure you have a realistic market salary range decided up-front and in the job ad before people even apply. 

Conclusions and key takeaways

The selection process must be well-defined, representative of real-world development, and lead to a quick follow-up. 

Meet the candidates in person to see what they’re like to work with and assess the cultural fit. A pair programming session on a call is an alternative if meeting in person is impossible.

Remember, you are still selling, even though the candidate applied for the job.

If you’d like to learn more about hiring engineers, read David’s additional notes here.

Check out our growing Seedcamp Firsts Library here.