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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An all-remote startup is offering companies a one-stop solution to set up their employees to work from home.

Why it matters: If the pandemic year of enforced remote work was a rough one for many employees, it's in part because there was little time to prepare what they needed to work out of the office.

  • But with hybrid and remote work here to stay, an opening has emerged for companies to provide the necessary tools — including those comfy Aeron office chairs.

What's happening: For a few thousand dollars per worker, the startup Firstbase will provide the software that helps companies manage the hardware that remote workers need, and it can also ship hardware to employees and provide remote IT support.

  • "That means desks, chairs, headsets, microphones, laptops, monitors and increasingly going into perks and other offerings as well," says Chris Herd, Firstbase's CEO. "The whole aim is to make remote workers as safe, comfortable and as productive working at home as they would be at the office."

Background: Firstbase began as a fintech startup before it went all-remote in 2018. The company began creating internal tools to track the technology its workers needed, and in late 2019 pivoted to providing remote work service — just in time for the beginning of the pandemic.

By the numbers: In April, Firstbase closed a $13 million Series A round led by the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, and Herd says the company has hundreds of customers on its waitlist and recently signed a $3 billion publicly listed firm.

Between the lines: Herd is a CEO who eats his own dog food. He lives and works in a small town in Scotland and talks about "remote work as a bridge to higher quality of life."

  • "I missed my daughter walking, laughing and talking for the first time because I was working in an office," he says. "I want to live and work closer to my family, and remote work was the only way to do that."
To be honest, I don't care about the future of work. What we're really talking about is the future of living.
— Chris Herd, Firstbase

Go deeper

Unruly customers threaten economic recovery

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The pace of the economic recovery hinges in part on workers returning to jobs that involve dealing with an unpredictable public. But many of those workers say increasingly combative customers — angry about everything from long wait times to mask mandates — have prompted them to quit.

The big picture: Aggressive and violent clashes between customers and service workers over COVID safety protocols over the past nearly two years have led to prison sentences, fines and deaths.

Updated 55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump dogs “dull” DeSantis ahead of potential 2024 matchup

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Donald Trump is trashing Ron DeSantis in private as an ingrate with a "dull personality" and no realistic chance of beating him in a potential 2024 showdown, according to sources who've recently talked to the former president about the Florida governor.

Why it matters: The two are among the most popular Republicans in the country, and as the former president eyes another run in 2024, he's irked by DeSantis' popularity and refusal to rule out running against him.

Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy.
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker