Serial entrepreneur Maren Kate knows there's nothing new about remote work. Her first hire was remote, and her most recent venture was a boutique recruiting firm focused on hiring full-remote employees. Which is why Inde.co, an online platform for remote workers, felt like a natural next step even before stay-at-home orders first became a reality.
"What we’re building is the first remote-focused professional network," Kate says. "We’re starting by helping people position themselves with these beautifully designed storytelling portfolios."
The idea is much more than slick design. Inde.co seeks to marry job hunting with personal development. Rather than presenting a simple menu of job opportunities, the platform begins by asking about you. Are you just starting out or a seasoned pro? What's more important: equity or cash? What does work/life balance mean to you? Most importantly, what are you hoping to get out of a job? Your answers build the foundation of a striking, design-forward profile. A robust set of analytics will help users help guide your decisions, as well as a community of real people.
Kate explains that Inde.co is for a new generation of job hunters who are not served by the assumptions and defaults of traditional hiring. With a better understanding of why people are working toward their goals, there will hopefully be better outcomes for both employee and employer. "Nobody is building tools for candidates to think through their career, to get hired — it really is a development process," she says.
How is this different from something like LinkedIn? Kate explains Inde.co isn't driven by the recruiter revenue that leads to so much spam; LinkedIn is also built on the model of the standard one-page resume. That "analog approach" doesn't create a satisfactory network for "a new breed of professional," one that is rapidly taking over the workforce. Plus, the massive uptick in remote work for the duration of stay-at-home orders only makes the Inde.co target market more relevant.
"We had started building this over the winter," Kate says. "Now with COVID, with all the unemployment, I was like, I wish we had our product. It’s exactly what this is used for!"
As the impacts of the pandemic became clear, Kate realized that her business — which is still in invite-only beta — wouldn't arrive in time to help those trying to find remote work right now. So, instead of waiting, she spent a few weeks sprinting to compile her must-know advice in an e-book format. The resource, titled Going Remote, is available now and includes nine chapters and tiered access to a Slack community for remote workers.
"We’re building out this e-book that runs through a tactical guide of how you need to think about making a career shift, getting a new role," she explains. "This is specifically how it applies to remote work and how it applies to real life."
Kate says the COVID-19 pandemic only underscores the existing need for her platform.
"It’s sad, but it’s true that this is going to be even more needed and meaningful," she says. "Before, if you had a pulse and could string together a few concise paragraphs, you could probably find a job in tech if you were in the right place. Now we’re in a different economy to stand out and get hired."