An Aberdonian’s transatlantic software start-up is today (April 29) announcing a $13 million (£9.3m) funding deal.
Granite City-based Chris Herd, 31, has gone from architecture studies at Robert Gordon University (RGU), jobs in the oil and gas industry and Highland League football to multi-million-pound-backed entrepreneurship in little more than a decade.
He teamed up with Trey Bastian, a former Stirling University computer science student and ex-US air force staff sergeant, to launch Firstbase in 2019.
Their business’ potential became more apparent last year as much of the world went into lockdown and working from home became the norm for many people.
The American-registered firm helps other companies set up, manage, maintain and retrieve all the equipment remote workers need.
From laptops and monitors to microphones, headsets, ergonomic chairs and adjustable desks, the Firstbase platform handles the deployment of assets, IT installation and upgrades, ongoing repairs and collections when a worker leaves.
Existing investors include BrewDog co-founder and CEO James Watt.
The latest cash injection follows a $2m (£1.4m) seed funding round, led by New York-based venture capitalist Alpaca VC, last year.
Alpaca is also a participant in the latest fundraising – led by Silicon Valley-headquartered Andreessen Horowitz, which backs “bold entrepreneurs building the future through technology”.
B Capital Group, which links entrepreneurs and funders, while also investing in business-to-business technology start-ups, is another participant.
The new capital is expected to fuel Firstbase’s growth through hiring, product development and increased sales. Firstbase is also adding Andreessen Horowitz’s partner David Ulevitch to its board.
Mr Herd, the company’s chief executive, joined the oil and gas industry after leaving RGU armed with a masters degree in architecture.
“Most organisations underestimate the complexity and cost of going remote,” Mr Herd said, adding: “Our solution removes the hassle and friction from the remote set-up and promises a better experience for everyone – emotionally, logistically and financially.”
Firstbase currently has an 11-strong team scattered across different locations in the UK and US, working with thousands of customers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Family fish and chips
Mr Herd, whose parents run three fish and chip shops in Aberdeen, said the company’s workforce was likely to grow to 50 within a year.
With a permanent shift in attitudes toward remote and hybrid work, employees and companies are more reliant on their equipment and workspace to stay connected and productive than ever before.
Mr Ulevitch said: “Firstbase is the critical infrastructure that will power the distributed workforce.”
“Employees get the setup they need to stay effective working from home, and employers have a centralised view and management system for all equipment. Firstbase is really leading the charge into the future of work.”