Established companies who leveraged remote developers

Jul 23, 2020 · 1 min read

All the companies displayed below have, at some stage, taken advantage of working with remote teams for their development needs on the way to becoming the multi-million-dollar entities they are today.

Alibaba

Standing as one of the world’s largest and most lucrative companies, according to Liu Shiyung and Martha Avery’s book on Alibaba, its founder Jack Ma outsourced development abroad, due to a then short supply of good developers in China. Apparently, in trying to circumvent certain restrictive regulations imposed by the Chinese government, Ma’s hand was forced into initially trying to grow this now e-commerce, AI and technology conglomerate abroad, so outsourcing development work became an important part of the company’s strategy for doing this.

AppSumo

AppSumo is an online platform offering subscribers, of which there are now well over 700,000, daily deals on things such as software. Whilst also exploiting the cheaper fees attainable through outsourcing to low-income countries, AppSumo saw the potential to improve speed to market for its products and went about employing remote developers to complete jobs such as payment system integrations.

Basecamp

After initially working in web design, Basecamp’s (then 37signals) focus eventually shifted to web application development, forming a part of 37signal’s portfolio so to speak. Although Basecamp was not the company’s core business, it soon became so after the company leveraged remote developers in order to complete the app. Now Basecamp employs over 50 people in various locations around the world.

GitHub

GitHub is an extremely popular open-source platform among developers, where one can upload and share the source code of certain development projects. It is the biggest platform of its kind with close to 30 million users and a valuation of $2 billion. Being a coding platform, this service has joined developers all around the world, so it is fitting that it was also created by developers in remote locations.

Google

Although Google raves about its in-house atmosphere and working culture, the tech giant has outsourced significant parts of its business, for example areas of their well-known advertisement platform AdWords. Seems it hasn’t gone too badly for them!

Klout

This social media influence ranking innovation was created thanks to the expertise of outsourced developers, mostly in Asia. In the beginning, when money was tight, the company realised that the only way of creating the initial version would be to leverage a cheaper, yet highly-skilled workforce to enable the company to get the idea of their new social media ranking system from the founders’ heads and into an actual product. One of its founders even lived with some of the developers while the initial version of the app was being built!

MySQL

Outsourcing development played a huge part in growing MySQL around the world. Their strategy used remote development to quickly boost its presence and appeal in various locations around the world. Today, it is essential to the management of databases and handling data queries, used by millions on servers worldwide.

Opera

With its principal offices in Oslo, the web browser Opera, created by software company Otello, has successfully taken advantage of remote developers in more than 25 locations around the world in order to create and grow their product worldwide.

Skype

Skype is one of the best examples of how leveraging skills in low-income economies and outsourcing the right way can work. Almost ubiquitous in the modern, connected age, it is well known that Skype employed a team of Estonian developers to create their free-call service before going on to grow and ultimately be acquired by Microsoft for $8.5 billion.

Slack

Using instant messaging technology, this collaboration tool makes it easy for separate business teams and individuals working remotely to communicate effectively. With over 5 million users daily, it is said that this platform was outsourced largely to a remote firm for the design and creation of its app and website, which would, ironically, become essential to a successful outsourcing experience. It has grown to become one of the most popular means of communication between both in-house teams and remote workers.

Upwork

Upwork is a prime example of outsourcing in general, being an online platform that allows companies and individuals to connect with remote freelancers in just about any profession. If you have used Upwork, you will know all about outsourcing. With this in mind, ironically the service was created with the help of remote developers. The founders clearly knew the value made possible through outsourcing and went about exploiting what they would later enable others to do in a very structured and transparent way. To this day the company often uses its network of freelance members to perform tweaks and new additions to the service.

WhatsApp

This mountain of a messenger, enabling file sharing, group communication, encrypted messaging and making calls outsourced part of its technical development to Russia. Eastern Europe boasts a cheap but highly-skilled technical labour market, so it is little wonder why WhatsApp decided to choose this route to help create and build its platform. The company later went on to be acquired by Facebook for over $19 billion - not bad going!

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