Let's take a step back to June 2016
Pete (founder & CEO), Jesse (Director of Growth) and I are sitting in the office, late at night, discussing our long-term vision for Kalo.
As we share opinions on Kalo’s future direction and strategies for growth, we keep coming back to how the majority of our customers, advisors and investors are in San Francisco, and how much easier everything would be if we could just run around the corner to grab coffee with them.
Several hours, and countless cups of coffee later we have the bare bones of a strategy...
Fast forward six months and we have an office in the Financial District of San Francisco, complete with 15 superstar employees (we’re still hiring).
So how did we do it? And what advice do we have for other startups thinking of opening an international office?
Find an office
Your best bet is to find a local to help you pick an area and a broker. Our investors came to our rescue here, providing invaluable advice and connections. If you don’t know any locals, do some research, make some calls and hop on a plane, you simply can’t get the sense of an area without experiencing it first hand.
If you’re sure about the city but haven’t found the perfect office yet, start with a co-working space, they can be the perfect stop-gap as you get to know a city and continue your search for somewhere more permanent.
Everyone always underestimates how long it takes to hire the best people. We started advertising jobs well before we had boots on the ground. By the time the initial screening and first round phone calls were done, weeks had passed and Pete was in town ready to start face-to-face interviews.
Budget for travel and accommodation
As a small and fast-growing company, your culture is crucial. So when you first launch your international office and start recruiting your first employees, have some of your existing team help interview and spend time with the new recruits, getting them up to speed on the product and helping grow the existing culture.
Over time, you'll want to continue sending employees back and forth -- nothing beats face-to-face for building relationships and trust. We flew our SF team to London for a week in December to celebrate the holidays and since then the difference in productivity, trust and in-jokes has been huge!
Having a strategy in place for consistent communication is crucial when trying to manage several offices who need to work together productively to meet deadlines. We now have a sophisticated setup to ensure our weekly presentations and town halls have high quality sound and picture, so everyone has complete information all of the time.
Opening the San Francisco office has been both exciting and challenging for Kalo -- In 6 months we went from 23 people in one office to 38 people across two continents. Growing that quickly will always be difficult, especially with an 8-hour time difference, but we’re hitting our stride now and feel ready to start scaling!
If you want to be part of redefining how people work together, we're hiring in both London and San Francisco! Visit www.kalohq.com/careers to see our available positions.
Kalo is the world’s leading freelancer management platform. We empower the most creative companies, including Google, Airbnb, Popsugar, The Economist, and many others, to easily manage and scale their freelance workforce. Learn more at Kalohq.com