10 Most Successful Companies That Are 100% Distributed

by Wendy Soon on December 21, 2015

Dollarphotoclub_82972532_distributedbannerWhoever thought that distributed teams may not function as efficiently as co-located teams, should look at this list:


  1. 37 Signals. The company behind BaseCamp, built since 1999, even before remote work was popular. It is widely known for being successfully remote, and have even written a few  books about it (REWORK and REMOTE). It’s a relatively small team of less than 50 people, all completely remote, from design to development to customer service. Yet, despite being completely remote and relatively small, they have shown huge successes to prove that remote teams can be extremely productive too. Not only did the team launch BaseCamp, but also have a bunch of other apps under their belt – Ta-Da List, Writeboard, Backpack, Campfire, Job Board & Gig Board, Highrise, Sortfolio, Know Your Company, and We Work Remotely.
  2. Automattic. The company behind wordpress, which serves more than 15.8 billion pages every month. Their team members hail from nearly every continent and 36 countries around the world. They even have a map indicating all their employees scattered across the globe! Not only are they famous for WordPress, they are also the company behind Jetpack, Polldaddy, Akismet, Simplenote, WooCommerce, VaultPress, Gravatar, LongReads, Cloudup and Simperium.
  3. Mozilla. Yes, the firefox team. The team that has a vision of building a better internet for the world, the team with the mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the web. They are a global operation, and most roles have the option of being home-based or office-based if the employee is located near to one of their global offices, and prefers to have the physical company of other tech talents. This global yet remote operation allows Mozilla to be an equal opportunity employer which values diversity across race, color, nationality, gender, etc.
  4. MySQL. The world’s most popular open source database. Founded in 1995 and acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2008, MySQL was dually headquartered in Uppsala, Sweden and Cupertino, California, with offices located globally (Paris, Munich, Dublin, Tokyo, Milan). To integrate their remotely located employees and to make sure everyone gets on the same page as efficiently as possible, MySQL has an online forum for open discussions, be it for newbies or experienced users. To emphasize their global reach, they also have the forum in multiple languages, including German, French, Turkish, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Korean.
  5. Kissmetrics. Founded in 2008 by Neil Patel, Kissmetrics focuses on helping marketers improve their performance, by milking the power of data analytics. Neil Patel also gave a talk at our Igniter Meetup in 2013, giving tips on how to obtain half a million visitors at your blog or website in a month.  
  6. Fotolia. A microstock photography agency, founded in 2005. It was later acquired by Adobe in 2015, for $800 million in cash, and now operates in 23 countries around the world. (So who said remote teams don’t do things well?)
  7. Buffer. The social media management app for marketers and agencies, started in a bedroom in UK, used by over 2 million people. The Buffer team is a fully distributed team, with their >20 employees working from anywhere they like. In fact, they proclaim that letting their employees live where they will be happy is part of the company’s core beliefs. They even openly preach about the benefits of being distributed on their website. Reasons they list include super productivity, freedom, futuristic excitement, cultural diversity, efficiency across time zones, and… an legit excuse to travel around the world for retreats!
  8. Upworthy. The company that draws (massive) attention to things that (they feel) matter. These could come in the form of stories, videos, graphics, information… whichever method works best to make their content go viral. Called one of the fastest growing media company by Business Insider, Upworthy is a fully distributed team with no remote workers.
  9. Zapier. The platform for connecting apps to automate tasks, and a graduate of Y Combinator. Zapier has many different types of working arrangements. Not only is the team distributed across the world, employees can also choose to work full-time, part-time, as contractors or interns.
  10. Github. Headquartered in San Francisco, Github has over 11 million users and 29 million repositories, making it the largest host of source code in the world as of 2015. Besides being distributed, Github also had a very unique organizational structure of being completely flat – no middle managers and everyone is a manager (self management).

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