Teleport, the startup that’s building infrastructure to help nomadic workers seamlessly move from place to place, just raised $2.5 million from Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel, Seedcamp, and angel investors including Scott and Cyan Banister and Fortumo founder Rain Rannu.
They’ve called themselves the “search engine for digital nomads,” and they ultimately want to build software that will help workers figure out where to live, how to pay taxes and how to get visas. Part of the vision is a world where workers can easily move from place to place in ways that maximize their quality of life and take-home pay. Much of the team was early at Skype, which was a distributed team that built tools that arguably transformed cross-border communication.
“With remote work on the rise, you have these people who are perpetual travelers, who might move several times a year,” said CEO Sten Tamkivi. “They have a lot more flexibility around how they live.”
As a first step, they’ve launched a tool for Bay Area workers to figure out the best places to live. It asks where you currently work, and where you currently live and makes suggestions about neighborhoods that could be cheaper without severely diminishing quality of life. You can add in extra parameters like whether there is access to the outdoors, nearby train stations or gyms and yoga studios.
“Isn’t this like a gentrification optimizer?” I asked.
“We’ve had very deep discussions around this internally, about the morality and ethics of helping people to make these decisions,” Tamkivi said. He pointed out that the product excludes demographic data, like racial make-up. “We philosophically want to see more diverse communities.”
But I pointed that that might be part of the problem, because certain parts of the Bay Area are cheaper than others because of legacy effects from old redlining policies from the 20th century. New residents aren’t really aware of these legacy effects and part of the Bay Area’s current class and racial tensions stems from obliviousness on part of the newcomers.
It was a problem he said he’d have to think through more for a solution.
The desire is to build a company with a more global outlook, that helps people find the places that make the best use of their talent will giving them the best quality of life.
As it should be obvious, not every tech worker needs to be in Silicon Valley.
In the original post that Tamkivi wrote announcing the company, he said. “Jobs do not equal places any more. Millions of more people every year can live anywhere and work remotely. This started first in tech-heavy professional circles but the wave continues: already one fifth of all working people around the world telecommute.”
Teleport itself is a distributed company with two people in Palo Alto, three in Estonia and one in Germany.