From Rejection to $500M: How Marcelo Lebre Turned a $20K Snub into a Remote Work Empire! His Inspiring Journey from Small Village to Tech Titan Will Leave You Speechless. Discover How He Built a Global Team of 1,000, Transformed the Way Companies Work, and Raised Massive Funding. Get Ready to Be Amazed!
Marcelo Lebre’s journey began with a setback when he was rejected for a $20,000 investment from a startup accelerator. However, he persevered and successfully raised an impressive half a billion dollars for his remote work platform.
During an episode of the Dealmakers Podcast, Lebre discussed various topics including building engineering teams, embracing remote and remote-first companies, conducting interviews and due diligence on investors, and prioritizing intensity over false promises of stability.
Born and raised in a small village in northern Portugal, Lebre moved to Lisbon after completing college in search of better opportunities and exposure. His fascination with computers began at a young age when he discovered his grandfather’s computer, and despite not knowing English, he taught himself programming by following a picture-based programming book.
While pursuing his Master’s degree, Lebre became disillusioned with the lack of practicality in his studies, but he continued to engage in computer-based projects for his own enjoyment. After completing his thesis on sensor networks and the internet of things, he entered the workforce as an engineer and eventually progressed to leading and building engineering teams. These experiences laid the foundation for his current company, Remote, which boasts a team of 1,000 members and develops all of its own technology.
Lebre mentioned that startups were not widely accepted in Portugal in 2010 due to the perceived risks involved. Despite this, he joined a consulting company to challenge himself and later transitioned to a smaller company. Throughout this time, he continued coding and building apps in his spare time.
Lebre and a friend applied to a local startup incubator, hoping to secure a $20,000 investment, but they were rejected for being too young and inexperienced. In hindsight, the investors who turned them down may regret their decision considering Lebre’s subsequent success in creating value with his startup.
Subsequently, Lebre became the CTO of a five-person startup but eventually realized that he couldn’t continue working on a product he didn’t personally believe in. He was then recruited by a local venture capital fund, where he facilitated interactions between technical teams, identified potential ventures, conducted due diligence, and helped build and scale their portfolio companies.
Despite feeling prepared and capable of launching his own venture, Lebre joined one of the fund’s portfolio companies as VP of Engineering while waiting for the right entrepreneurial idea to emerge. However, his desire to scratch the entrepreneurial itch grew stronger, leading him to quit his job and start his own venture, even with the added responsibility of impending fatherhood.
Lebre observed that many companies were struggling with the dynamics of remote work, including employment management, payroll, taxes, and legal complexities. Recognizing the potential in this area, he founded Remote, a global employment company that assists businesses in hiring, managing, and paying remote workers worldwide. Remote also operates with its own distributed team of 1,000 employees.
Remote was already experiencing rapid growth prior to the COVID-19 lockdowns, and the pandemic further accelerated their business. By anticipating and addressing customer needs ahead of time and automating their platform, they were able to streamline the sales process and eliminate the need to convince prospects of the value they provide.
Looking ahead, Lebre envisions remote work as a means to create a more balanced world, distribute wealth more equitably, and provide employment opportunities to individuals in diverse locations.
In terms of fundraising, Remote has already raised $500 million through its Series C round. Lebre emphasizes the importance of storytelling and condensing the essence of a startup into 15 to 20 slides when pitching to investors. He recommends referring to the pitch deck template created by renowned Silicon Valley figure Peter Thiel for guidance on crafting a winning presentation.
Featured Image: Marcelo Lebre Twitter Account