As coronavirus pandemic spreads, demand for remote-work startups spikes
As the novel coronavirus spreads around the world, many companies are asking their staff to work from home. The boom in working remotely may prove temporary — even if the trend behind it is not — but having more staff operating away from traditional offices is having an impact on the tools that many companies use to coordinate and communicate while apart.
Switching to a remote-work setup isn’t easy. Smartsheet’s Mark Mader told TechCrunch that the “challenge of remote work isn’t just about physical location,” continuing to say that it is “also about the need for people to feel connected and stay informed.” That means intelligent tooling, and smart workplaces norms and practices. (Mader also stressed low-code and no-code tooling as a possible way to empower remote workers).
The remote-work boom was recently highlighted in Zoom’s earnings report. Its results bested expectations, and in its earnings call, the company said that it was seeing rising demand for its product in the wake of COVID-19, even if most of that rising usage was for its free service. Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said that in light of the spread of the coronavirus, many companies had quickly come to understand the need for a tool like Zoom. The CEO added that he expects more companies to deploy remote work tooling like his video service in the future.
Zoom’s CFO Kelly Steckelberg added that while her company has seen an “uptick in usage,” it is mostly “on the free side.” Conversions to paid products, if they occur, are something we’ll learn about it in three months.
But Zoom is just one company among many that builds tools or provides services that can facilitate remote work. TechCrunch wanted to know if other, smaller companies are seeing similar usage gains, and, perhaps, revenue gains as well. During our coverage of the Zoom earnings cycle, TechCrunch asked startups building remote work friendly tooling to write in with what they were seeing in their analytics. Was usage rising? If so, where? A good number of companies, startups and the more mature alike wrote in.