In 2020, a peculiar pattern started to emerge. While on video calls with startup founders and enterprise IT leaders, I started to spot stacks of boxes in the background. And every month, the boxes seemed to multiply. Naturally, I inquired about this dynamic and invariably received the same response: “We have a lot of new employees joining, nowhere to store their workplace equipment because we gave up our office, and we want to buy all of this equipment in advance so as not to waste hours navigating clunky procurement processes and enduring shipping delays for each new employee that joins.” Before long, it seemed the homes of many CEOs and IT leaders were evolving into last-mile fulfillment centers.
At the same time, we noticed that many companies were struggling to manage their inventory after it was in employees’ hands, particularly in a remote environment. In fact, when asked how much workplace equipment was outstanding, we found that IT leaders and founders would lean on a patchwork of spreadsheets that were often 25%+ off from the actual quantity, with little visibility into equipment condition or specs. This was true for companies with 50 employees all the way to 5,000 employees.
Ultimately, we found that employers lacked adequate visibility and tooling around inventory management; and in turn, employees were forced to become their own procurement specialists as they fought kitchen-chair-induced back pain and poor ergonomics.
Enter Firstbase. Firstbase is a startup that set out to solve this exact problem. Its software platform helps companies get workplace equipment – think laptops, desks, chairs, monitors, keyboards, lighting – to employees’ homes, configuring it upon shipment, repairing it as needed, and collecting the equipment back once the employee departs. It’s a win-win for employers and employees. Employers gain real-time visibility and software tooling to manage all of their outstanding inventory. In parallel, employees benefit from a delightful onboarding/offboarding experience whereby their preferred workplace equipment is delivered to their doorstep – seamlessly.
Notably, a lot of what makes Firstbase’s platform special is its simplicity. There is an incredible amount of complexity under the hood that Firstbase has operationalized end-to-end with software. The result is a magical end-user experience that requires only a few clicks, saving time, reducing costs, and improving employee productivity. Unsurprisingly, since its launch, Firstbase has seen an almost unprecedented level of product-market fit, with thousands of companies on its waitlist.
Looking ahead, Firstbase has ambitions to build the ‘physical-world AWS’. Similar to AWS, they are aiming to construct and expose the core infrastructure primitives necessary to support hybrid and remote teams on a global scale – from vendor management to payments to compliance. It’s an ambitious mission, but one that we believe Chris Herd and his team are uniquely suited to tackle.
With that said, we are thrilled to lead Firstbase’s Series B on their path to making remote work delightful.