It’s a big hairy vision — knowledge-workers freely migrate around the globe, and city and federal governments compete to lure them.
Teleport, a startup founded by early Skype employees around the idea of supporting an increasingly global mobile workforce, is taking another step toward that reality today. It’s launching a set of iOS and Android apps that help tech workers find the best place to live out of 100 startup-friendly cities around the world.
You articulate your preferences around the cost of living and other quality-of-life measures like traffic and pollution and the healthcare system, and it will help identify cities that best match your requirements.
Right now, the app accounts for factors, such as housing and accommodation (especially markets with fast-moving rental markets), startup job availability and salary offers, cost of food and entertainment, the vibrancy of the startup scene and the investment climate, the time and flight distance from other places you need to visit often, climate preferences, local language requirements, safety and security, quality of Internet, the education system, and individual and corporate tax levels.
Right now, the app is targeted at startup workers who can easily change their location, but the focus will expand later. It’s best for people moving alone or with families, although the company is building out features for groups and teams on the move.
With this launch, Teleport will also have “Scouts” and partner governments that can help tech workers plan their moves.
The idea over the long run is to have domestic and municipal governments compete with the best mix of incentives and regulations to attract knowledge workers. Teleport’s “Scouts” help users get in touch with governments and programs to facilitate quick and easy transitions.
The first partner city governments include Tallinn, Estonia and Helsinki, Finland. Estonia is a small Baltic state that has been a pioneer in building tech-savvy government practices. They launched e-residency cards last year that let foreigners easily set up businesses in the country. Finland has also been aggressive in bolstering its local startup system and is attracting international knowledge-workers, especially after the decline of longstanding mobile phone giant Nokia.
The startup is run by Sten Tamkivi who ran Skype’s first research and development lab and held a number of key engineering roles there over seven years. His co-founder, Silver Keskküla, was Skype’s first researcher and optimized the company’s peer-to-peer network topologies using machine learning and artificial intelligence. A digital nomad himself, he’s studied at Tsinghua University in Beijing along with Stanford and MIT.
The last co-founder is Balaji Srinivasan, a board partner at Andreessen Horowitz who has written about the way the Internet could lead to the formation of cloud communities or even cloud countries as like-minded people freely migrate and congregate around the world.
Mirroring its philosophy, the company operates in a distributed way with employees in Palo Alto, Tallinn, Munich, Bern and roaming employees in Colombia and the United Kingdom. They have raised $2.5 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel and Seedcamp, as well as angel investors including Jeff Dean, Jaan Tallinn, Scott and Cyan Banister and Rain Rannu.