Hello! The remote work movement is accelerating. Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that he expects up to 50% of Facebook's employees to work remotely by 2030. Shopify boss Tobi Lutke tweeted that the company's offices would remain closed until 2021 and that most will permanently work remotely after that. "Office centricity is over," he said. Those statements follow Twitter and Square employees being told they could work remotely permanently. What does that mean for Silicon Valley's status as the tech hub? As Rob Price reported this week, a survey of thousands of San Francisco Bay Area techies found that two out of three would consider leaving if they could permanently work remotely, suggesting a huge amount of pent up demand to leave what is an incredibly expensive city. What does it mean for compensation and staff costs? Zuckerberg said that those who leave Silicon Valley might face pay cuts, which makes business sense but could be hard to pull off without damaging morale. What does it mean for hiring and employee retention? For commercial and residential real estate in the cities the employees are leaving and moving to? Silicon Valley's rivals certainly see this moment as a growth opportunity. We'll have lots more coverage on this in the coming weeks, but I'd love to get your take. What percentage of tech employees currently living and working in Silicon Valley would you expect to leave in the next five years? And where do you think they're likely to move to? Let me know. In the meantime, here's some of our best coverage on the topic from the past few days:
The remote work boom will make it harder for big tech companies like Facebook and Google to recruit top talent, according to Rob. That's a good thing, he writes. Facebook's remote-working plan is doomed, according to David Plotz, who writes the Insider Today newsletter with our CEO Henry Blodget. Henry in contrast argues in the same article that some people will be stoked to work remotely forever. Meanwhile, Facebook is eyeing offices in cities like Dallas, Atlanta, and Denver to act as "hubs" to support 50% of its workers staying remote, Dan Geiger reports. It's a move that could upend Silicon Valley and NYC real estate. Long live the "dynamic" workplace, says Okta CEO Todd McKinnon, who's been experimenting with this new concept for a year and talked to Julie Bort. As Facebook, Twitter and others say OK to permanent remote work, these 6 startups building tools to work outside the office are Silicon Valley's new darlings, according to Bani Sapra.
And Rob reported that a Sam Altman-backed housebuilding startup is trying to convince tech workers to abandon the high-priced Bay Area.
Elsewhere in tech news:
"I am truly sorry": Read the full email Uber's CEO sent employees after laying off 25% of the company's staff in 2 weeks IBM is cutting "several thousand" jobs, a month after new CEO Arvind Krishna withdrew its financial outlook Intercom, a $1.3 billion messaging startup backed by Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, laid off 39 employees and is relocating 47 roles to Dublin SoFi just cut 7% of staff based on performance reviews, and is eliminating a team by automating it away. The moves come a month after the fintech announced a $1.2 billion acquisition
Law firm drama Casey Sullivan and Meghan Morris have the inside track on drama at elite law firm Boies Schiller. From their story: Over the past six months, more than 30 partners have exited the firm, which was founded by superlawyer David Boies — best known for his role in cases like Bush v. Gore and the fight for same-sex marriage rights. Business Insider spoke with more than 50 people, including current and former Boies Schiller attorneys, about the key issues behind the turnover, and events that help explain the firm's shrinking. You can read the story in full here: Pay rifts, a partner divide, and a threat at the Ritz Carlton: 50 insiders reveal all on a massive shakeup at elite law firm Boies Schiller
The most consequential startup of all time And Andrew Dunn has the untold story of Moderna, the biotech startup that has skyrocketed to global prominence, leading the world's race for a coronavirus vaccine. From his story: In its short corporate history, Moderna has grown accustomed to breaking records. A $450 million funding round in 2015 was a record for the biotech industry. Moderna raised even more the next year. And its 2018 initial public offering was the largest ever for a biotech. Then, this year, the coronavirus struck. Moderna lapped the drug industry in crafting a coronavirus vaccine candidate, zooming past Big Pharma competitors that dwarf the company in size and resources. Moderna's experimental serum was the first to begin human testing in mid-March. Now, the biotech is aiming to be ready this fall for emergency use, a development timeline without precedent. His story aims to answer a key question: In taking on the coronavirus, Moderna has gone mainstream and become of the most consequential startups of all time. Is it ready for the moment? You can read his story in full here: The untold story of Moderna as the biotech's coronavirus vaccine faces a test that could make it one of the most consequential startups of all time Below are headlines on some of the stories you might have missed from the past week. Enjoy the long weekend! -- Matt Wall Street poured billions into campus housing — thinking it was an easy win. With colleges sitting empty, here are the bets that could get hit the hardest. A Wall Street equity chief lays out 5 reasons why another 'significant drawdown' in stocks is coming right after the fastest crash in history
Meet 23 rising star investors scouting the next breakout enterprise software startups in industries like 'boring AI' and 'SMBtech' Magic Leap just raised a $350 million investment round as it tries to secure its future — read the email CEO Rony Abovitz sent employees WPP PR giant Hill + Knowlton Strategies was starting to revive its US business. Now the pandemic threatens to unwind those efforts. Warehouse properties are suddenly red-hot, with Amazon snapping up space while ailing companies sell. Here's a look at key deals and market forecasts that lay out a huge opportunity for industrial real-estate. POWER PLAYERS OF CONSULTING: Meet the 38 consultancy stars disrupting the $130 billion industry and solving problems for clients in crisis College students don't want to return in the fall, and it could cause many universities to collapse Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
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'Work from the beach every day if you get the job done': Meet the firms tearing up the hiring playbook as COVID-19 normalizes remote working
Summary List Placement A growing number of tech startups are hiring talent from around the world...Summary List Placement A growing number of tech startups are hiring talent from around the world as COVID-19 prompts a revolution in remote working. With millions around the world forced to work from home due to the pandemic, research suggests broad support for making that shift permanent and altering hiring patterns. According to a survey of 764 business leaders and employees in the UK tech scene, conducted by HR startup Remote, 62% believe that recruiting the best talent in the world – regardless of location – will drive greater creativity and innovation. And 63% agreed that entrepreneurs need to look beyond their own cities if they want to find the best talent in the world, while a massive 79% said they would consider moving abroad if they were able to retain the same job and salary. Speaking to Business Insider, Iggy Bassi, founder and CEO of London-based earth science startup Cervest, said the benefits were obvious. "Without the need to commute to the office each day, we realized we could open up our search for talent well-beyond those in reach of the M25," he said. "For example, we actually just hired a climate scientist in Italy. She's an invaluable addition who we'd never have found if we still limited our search to London." Asked about the legal and administrative practicalities of hiring more people abroad, Bassi said Cervest had "outsourced those challenges to a trusted partner organisation". Likewise, Kentaro Kawamori, CEO of Arizona-based carbon-tracking startup Persefoni, said bureaucratic challenges were "at an all-time low" thanks to a number of firms set up to help make hiring abroad easier. "[COVID-19] absolutely changed our approach to hiring," Kawamori added. "We were already very remote-friendly, but the new normals of a COVID-19-impacted world simply meant we could lean even harder into this model." Meanwhile Robert Vis, cofounder and CEO of Accel-backed MessageBird, told Business Insider he had "done a completely 180" on the idea of remote work since the pandemic kicked in. "I'm really revolting against the idea of a centralized 'HQ'. You wanna work from the beach every day? If you can get your work done, go for it!" "The only policy we have is that you have to share 80% of your working hours with your team, just for logistical purposes and, y'know, we don't want people to be working through the night wherever they are. That wouldn't be healthy." Or Arbel, CTO of Tel Aviv-based "design to code" startup, agrees: "It's amazing, we've got talent everywhere," he said while counting off countries: "The US, Israel, Spain, Australia, Morocco ... We probably wouldn't have done that in normal times." The firm has even instituted a global "happy hour" in which every employee is delivered beer courtesy of the company, no matter where they are, some Arbel describes as "good for morale." This shift to remote work could have major ramifications for tech hiring more broadly. As Business Insider's Rob Price notes, smaller startups may have a better shot at competing for talent against big firms such as Facebook and Google. And almost a quarter of US tech companies plan a complete shift to remote working in the future, according to a survey from Remote and Sapio Research, previously reported by Business Insider. The same survey found that nearly three-quarters of US tech employees would move abroad if they could do their job remotely, with northern Europe the most popular destination for would-be expats.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How the suicide hotline saved my life
A Silicon Valley VC firm says that it's permanently closing its 15-year-old office because it's no longer necessary to have a presence on Sand Hill Road — tech's investment capital — to close big deals
Summary List Placement As the coronavirus crisis has closed grand tech campuses and small startup offices...Summary List Placement As the coronavirus crisis has closed grand tech campuses and small startup offices alike in Silicon Valley, more and more companies are struggling with when — or whether — to reopen high-cost spaces in the Bay Area. Among those abandoning on-site work altogether is Storm Ventures, a VC firm that has funded the likes of Blind and SignalWire, which plans to abandon its 15-year-old office on renowned VC-hub Sand Hill Road when its lease ends in October. The decision to end the lease had been brewing for a while, Storm Ventures cofounder and managing director Ryan Floyd said. After all, employees were rarely in the office – aside from two Monday meetings, partners were often out meeting with portfolio companies or new startups, instead of asking them to make the trek to Menlo Park. Floyd says that the reason the team wasn't in the office was that partners were "meeting people where they were." It no longer makes sense for VCs to expect startups to trek to Sand Hill Road to pitch their startups, Floyd said. For decades, Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park has been considered the "epicenter of the VC world" for bridging scattered tech communities in Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale. Billions of dollars have flown through Sand Hill Road and big names in venture capital like Greylock Partners and Kleiner Perkins still have offices there. But Floyd thinks that its cachet as tech's investment capital is becoming irrelevant in the same way that the physical location of Wall Street has. "It's like, once upon a time on Wall Street, you had to be on Wall Street because the exchanges made you do that, because you had to be able to settle trades physically," Floyd said. "Of course, that became irrelevant with electronic trading and computers." As VC firms fight over buzzy startups, Floyd believes that the best way to compete and build good relationships with startups is meeting them where they're at while convincing them that Storm provides not just the money, but also other services, like expertise. "If you think about it from a service provider standpoint all of a sudden, 'Yeah, we should be going to see more entrepreneurs and we should be meeting at their companies,'" Floyd said. Plus, Silicon Valley isn't the only place for startups to build their businesses anymore. Floyd has traveled to the other side of the country to do business with blossoming startups. In 2016, the company invested $1.9 million into event management software Gather based out of Atlanta, which Floyd flew to roughly a month after signing a dea. He also flew to Milwaukee in 2019 to finalize a term sheet at the home of the founder of Zoom competitor SignalWire. Storm Ventures' choice to leave its office follows an on-going trend of startups spreading across the country, even pre-crisis. The convenience of working from home started replacing the allure of open workspaces and quirky company culture practices like shoeless offices: In a 2017 Stack Overflow survey, around 53% of respondents said being able to work remotely was a priority for them. About 10% of the companies that Storm Ventures itself has invested in are distributed (meaning that they don't have one central hub for employees), including Pinpoint, Signalwire, and Rainforest. For Storm Ventures, the coronavirus-related transition to remote work over the past few months has actually brought the team closer together. Floyd sees his coworkers more often now than he did at the office, he said, thanks to open-ended, nonobligatory daily meetings where he can interact with other members of the office. The switch to work-from-home has made the team more communicative, too. "When you have to work remote, you're forced to put together a lot of processes in place to communicate with your team better, to share information better," Floyd said, "Because you're not all in the office where you can be lazy about how you share information. And that's been awesome." The firm, which invests heavily in Saas products, has also been using its portfolio companies to work remotely. Floyd uses SignalWire to host video meetings. The company switched from Salesforce to Gmail years ago so it could use customer relationship management platform Copper that hooks up with G Suite – another portfolio product. It also built Slack integrations using Workato, a workflow automation company it invests in. "It's fun to use your own companies," Floyd said, "And have a really good feel for what they do and what works."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Epidemiologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths
Moderna's lead in the coronavirus vaccine race is slipping. Here's how pharma giants like Pfizer are threatening the biotech's frontrunner status. (MRNA, PFE)
Competitors are catching up to Moderna, which for months has been leading the race for a...Competitors are catching up to Moderna, which for months has been leading the race for a coronavirus vaccine. The New York pharma giant Pfizer on Wednesday released early human results for its vaccine candidate. Pfizer is using the same vaccine technology, called messenger RNA, as Moderna. Pfizer, a $190 billion drugmaker, is also planning to start late-stage efficacy trials this month, the same development timeline as Moderna. The stock market seemed to reflect these changing dynamics Wednesday. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech saw their share prices increase by 5% and 7% respectively, while Moderna's stock dipped 6%. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Throughout the first months of the coronavirus outbreak, Moderna stood alone. From the beginning of the sprint to develop a vaccine, the upstart Massachusetts biotech was a leader. On January 23, it announced its plans to create a vaccine alongside US National Institutes of Health researchers. Moderna was the first company to start testing an experimental shot in humans in March and the first to detail human results a couple months later. It cemented its frontrunner status by building a vaccine in record time, using an unproven yet promising technology called messenger RNA. Investors pushed its stock to records. Despite having no federally approved drugs or vaccines, Moderna climbed to a $23 billion valuation, and its stock has tripled since the start of the year. Read more: The untold story of Moderna as the biotech's coronavirus vaccine faces a test that could make it one of the most consequential startups of all time But the landscape has changed dramatically six months into the outbreak. There are roughly 150 coronavirus vaccine programs, with 17 candidates in human testing, according to the World Health Organization. And Moderna isn't alone with its genetic platform. Four other programs already in human testing are also using mRNA vaccines. On Wednesday, Pfizer showed how intense the race for a vaccine has gotten, detailing early human results from its own vaccine candidate. The New York pharma giant announced its research plans the same week that Moderna dosed the first volunteers in March. But with the resources of a $190 billion pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer has caught up to Moderna. The stock market seemed to reflect these changing dynamics on Wednesday. Pfizer and BioNTech saw their share prices increase by 4% and 2.4% respectively, while Moderna's stock declined 5%. Pfizer and Moderna have equally fast development timelines for vaccines using the same technology Pfizer partnered with BioNTech, a German biotech specializing in mRNA, to develop a vaccine that uses the same technology as Moderna's. The timelines for the two vaccine programs are now basically the same. Both Pfizer and Moderna aim to start late-stage trials this month, testing the vaccines in thousands of volunteers to see whether they work. If they do, the companies have said their vaccines could be ready this fall for emergency use in limited quantities. Read more: A leading potential coronavirus vaccine just started human trials in the US. The top scientist at Pfizer told us it could be ready for emergency use this fall. In some ways, Pfizer is ahead of the buzzy biotech. Moderna gave a brief description of its data in May, opening it to criticism of "publication by press release." While CEO Stephane Bancel has said the data would soon be published by the NIH, that has yet to happen. Pfizer's release was accompanied by a scientific paper, albeit a version that has yet to be reviewed by other scientists or published in a journal. Given the limited data disclosed, Pfizer's vaccine could be "potentially more potent" than Moderna's vaccine candidate, SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges said in a Wednesday note to investors. He cautioned that it's difficult to make conclusions yet, given the preliminary nature of the early data. Jefferies analyst Michael Yee also said Pfizer's results "are consistent and at least as good (or higher)" than Moderna's description. Read more: Pfizer teamed up with a tiny biotech to make a coronavirus vaccine, and we just got our first look at some promising but early data To be clear, it's far from certain that either vaccine will work. These early-stage tests are designed to measure whether the vaccines are safe for people to take, and whether they generate a response from the body's immune system. Vaccines require massive trials to determine if they can actually prevent infections or disease. To be sure, company executives in the vaccine race have emphasized that more than one vaccine will be needed. Any successful effort is expected to face global demand that will outstrip supply. AstraZeneca, another pharma giant that dwarfs Moderna, is also working on a vaccine and aims to have one ready this fall for emergency use. Could there be a new frontrunner in the vaccine sprint? The next challenge facing Pfizer and Moderna is enrolling up to 30,000 people in massive clinical trials starting this month. To quickly sign up that many volunteers, the companies will need to work with dozens, if not hundreds, of trial sites around the world In that space, Pfizer seems to have an edge. As one of the largest vaccine makers in the world, carrying out the logistics of a large, global trial is nothing new for Pfizer. On a Wednesday call with investors, Pfizer's head of vaccine R&D, Kathrin Jansen, estimated it could take as little as four weeks to fully enroll a late-stage trial. Moderna, on the other hand, is going into uncharted waters. Since its founding in 2010, the company has yet to move any medicine into a Phase 3 study. Both companies are working with the US government as part of Operation Warp Speed, an initiative to have 300 million doses of a safe and effective vaccine by January 2021. It remains unclear how much support this program will bring to late-stage trials. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Drugmakers are developing coronavirus vaccines in record time — but it will still be months before one is available