For three years, Rebecca Görres was a successful strategy consultant but felt as though she lacked impact. Rebecca shares her story on how joining ODNC1 gave her the tools to actualize her builders mindset and launch Remi, a culture building platform for remote teams. After participating in On Deck No-Code Demo Day, Rebecca and her team raised over €1.2 million in a pre-seed financing round.
Trading consulting for hands-on building
It was a winding love story. Rebecca Görres had a deep affinity for the technical side of the business world, but it would take her several years until she’d launch Remi, a remote culture building tool that has raised over €1.2 million in pre-seed funding.
Rebecca grew up in Germany, but her education took her to the United Kingdom. She completed a Masters in Organizational Psychology in the LSE and a Masters of Science in Management from LBS before nestling into a strategy consultant role at Prophet in 2015.
But Rebecca ultimately felt unsatisfied by the conceptual nature of strategy consulting. She craved a more hands-on approach where she could build something from top to bottom.
After three years, she left the consulting world and went back to her hometown of Berlin to gain hands-on experience within the startup ecosystem.
Building Juit from the ground up
Rebecca joined Juit, a Dr. Oekter group incubation, as employee number 3. Similar to Blue Apron, Juit is a delivery service that brings healthy frozen-food boxes to the homes of busy Berliners.
Rebecca’s role as Head of Brand allowed her to build out Juit’s marketing team while helping the company scale from three employees to 40 in under a year. With her wish for hands-on work granted, something else emerged as missing: a sense of autonomy.
A subconsciously conscious process
During her free time, Rebecca threw herself into miniature projects to develop her skill set in the tech landscape and explore her interests.
She ended up joining General Assembly’s Product Management course as an experiment. For 8 weeks she fell deep into the rabbit-hole, absorbed with developing product ideas over 18-hour days.
“My boyfriend at the time said to me, “I've never seen you so deeply with your head buried into something.” I didn't have to sleep anymore because I was just super excited. That was the point I knew I wanted to work in tech. I wanted to learn it all and do it from scratch.”
In what she describes as a “subconsciously conscious” process, Rebecca began training herself to strengthen her builder's mindset. She found herself getting closer to clarity about what she wanted to build.
COVID-19 reveals unexamined assumptions
Rebecca was still working at Juit when the pandemic hit Europe in 2020. While COVID-19 derailed life as we knew it, it also bended what was once thought to be impossible. Rebecca started to gain newfound flexibility in her thinking:
“I realized that the structures I'm in don't have to be as rigid as they are made out to be. It started with “I don't have to work at the office, I can actually work from home.” From there, it went to, “Maybe I can spend a few hours learning something that's a good use of my time, rather than going about my day-to-day and getting swamped.” But it culminated in me saying, “Maybe I actually can quit my job and start working on a product idea.”
COVID-19 also lessened Rebecca’s doubts of quitting her job, as she was already in a high-risk situation. Going out to build her own business now felt manageable. In September of 2020, Rebecca made the leap. She quit Juit and went all in building her own company.
The serendipity behind Remi
After making the leap, things began falling into place for Rebecca.
Wanting to follow a lean-startup approach, Rebecca started conducting user interviews to determine if her product ideas were viable. Her first interviewee was Valerie Kraemer, previously a Chief Revenue Officer at a Berlin-based tech media startup. Valerie had also quit her job and was mulling over the idea of starting a company.
The two instantly hit it off and realized they wanted to join forces to launch a company together.
To decide what they’d be building, they used a principle called “Effectuation” pioneered by Dr. Saras Sarasvathy. Valerie and Rebecca evaluated their expertise, experience, and interests, and from there they then deducted what kind of industry they were best suited to tackle.
The field of remote work was the first to come up. Rebecca and Valerie had both been managers and noticed it was difficult to keep teams excited in a remote work setting.
“Both of us had seen employees and team members feel as though they were not ‘seen’ or ‘utilized’ at work. From our interviews, we could tell this was exacerbated in a remote work setting. The employees we spoke to asked themselves, ‘Why am I here? Am I recognized for my talent, contribution, and personality, or am I just a resource?’ This wasn’t a future of work we wanted to be a part of.”
Rebecca and Valerie both agreed their guiding philosophy was that work isn’t only about the work. It’s about the connection you make with your team.
They set out to build a platform that would strengthen remote workplace culture. The only problem? Neither of them had a technical background, meaning they weren’t sure how to build out their vision.
It’s around this time two serendipitous events occurred which solidified Remi’s future. First, Rebecca and Valerie met Franco Gotusso, Remi’s future CTO during a customer interview. She then stumbled upon On Deck’s No-Code Fellowship via Twitter.
“We found out about On Deck when we were thinking about how to build our MVP. And there came this program that said, ‘For people who want to build, who are not engineers, but who want to build their own products.’ The rest is history.”
Leveraging no-code through On Deck
Rebecca had dabbled in no-code tools before such as Figma, yet was far from being able to build out her own web app. From the outset of the Fellowship, On Deck brought on an immediate mindset shift that made Rebecca realize she was entirely capable: it was only a matter of time.
“There was this mental enablement to move from an “idea” person to a “builder” person. From the get go, the message that keeps being sent through is “you're going to learn how to actualize all the ideas that you've had in your head for years, and you bring them to life in a pragmatic way.”
She also joined a deep and involved community of other no-coders eager to build out their first MVP. Having conversations with her peers allowed Rebecca to narrow down the buffet of possibilities of no-code tools and realize she needed to use Bubble to build out her company.
And with that, she dove into building out Remi.so.
The idea behind Remi
The pandemic made remote teams nearly ubiquitous, but few organizations were equipped with the proper management methods. While 65% of workers have reported feeling more productive when working remotely, roughly 50% feel less connected to one another.
This is where Remi comes in. A remote culture building tool, Remi harnesses the practices of the world’s best remote companies and makes them accessible at scale to the new generation of remote teams.
“In contrast to in-office culture, remote culture needs to be built and managed with much more proactivity and intentionality, to ensure employees feel connected and safe. With Remi, we act as the people experience manager that proactively nudges employees to help them feel close and connected in their day to day.”
To Rebecca, culture is continuous and needs to be strengthened like any other muscle. Rather than the biweekly virtual happy hour, Remi employs tools that facilitate social interactions and promote feelings of belonging and security.
On Deck Demo Day
While Rebecca was building the MVP of Remi with Bubble, she also had to make sure Remi was solving a valid problem. ODNC guided Rebecca through the building in public process, where she conducted a quantitative test of demand by sharing Remi’s website on Twitter and LinkedIn to see if it generated interest. This led to hundreds of signups on the waiting list.
On Deck’s No-Code Demo Day took place at the end of March 2021 and its ripple effects were profound for Rebecca and her team. It was also a fantastic opportunity to ride the wave into international exposure, for at the time Rebecca’s natural network was largely in Europe.
“It meant a lot of VCs started reaching out to us. And some of them were incredible VCs you usually don’t get a meeting with. They reached out to me on Twitter later and said, ‘I saw your Demo Day presentation, and I would love to have a conversation about what you're building.’ Plus, the founder of Bubble was part of the judging panel on Demo Day and mentioned that I had created an ‘Impressive build.’ It was super validating considering I had just taught myself Bubble.”
Shortly after Demo Day, Rebecca received her first “yes” from a meaningful investor, Georgie Smallwood, the CPO of Tier. Remi now has six female investors in the HR space, with btov Partners leading Remi’s 1.2M EUR pre-seed funding round. It additionally includes top angel investors such as Eyeo-Founder Tim Schumacher and Honeypot Co-Founder Emma Tracey.
The future of work is remote
Remi is at its infancy stages and is barely a year old. Despite this, it already has a team of ten people and a burgeoning waitlist of over 1000+ companies from over the world.
The Remi team is currently onboarding their next set of beta customers, get early access by clicking here.
Note: This is part of a series where we talk to On Deck Founders alumni about the companies they’re building and what it will take to propel them to the next level. Consider joining our incredible community of founders who have launched over 1000 companies worth over $9B. Apply here.