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SignalWire Operates as a Fully Distributed Company Using their own Virtual Office - Successfully Raises Series B

Case Study: SignalWire

Abbi Minessale | Product Marketing Manager

Aug 18, 2021

Stats:

  • SignalWire has 70 full-time equivalent employees
  • SignalWire has employees from 16 States and 12 different countries
  • SignalWire has grown from a small startup to successfully raising their Series B investment round as a fully distributed team using their virtual office: SignalWire Work


“I started working from anywhere in 1995, it was only limited to anywhere I could get on the Internet which continued to expand as the years went by and when I started FreeSWITCH, the entire community was online. After 22 years, in 2017, I had worked from anywhere the whole time so it was clear to me that SignalWire should be a remote company.”

-Anthony Minessale, CEO at SignalWire and Founder of the FreeSWITCH Open Source Project


Overview

SignalWire has been a fully distributed company since its inception in 2018. They were unsatisfied with the tools that were available so they created their own virtual office that they use on a daily basis. SignalWire Work is a fully operational virtual office that meets the needs of a work from anywhere company. SignalWire Work consists of personalized rooms that are accessed directly from a browser and their unique audio and video technology allows for seamless conversation between its users resulting in excellent communication and collaboration within the company. 


About SignalWire

SignalWire’s mission is to empower developers to build whatever they can imagine utilizing software-defined telecom capabilities. Whether it’s a product, service, application, or enterprise communication tool, SignalWire wants developers to focus on their ideas instead of worrying about developing, scaling, maintaining, and of course, overpaying for complex communications technology and services. SignalWire is made up of a fully distributed team of 70 employees from 16 different states and 12 different countries and uses their virtual office, SignalWire Work, to operate and collaborate on a daily basis.


The Challenge

SignalWire’s founders have a strong past with working from anywhere. When starting SignalWire, they made a conscious decision to keep a fully distributed team not only to secure the best talent available but to give their employees freedom. When 'the office' is wherever your laptop or phone is, you won't feel like you are 'away from the office' whenever you are traveling, venturing to new coffee shops, or visiting coworkers IRL.

SignalWire was not satisfied with the tools that were available to them at the time; they were either too clunky or too restrictive to collaborate in an effective way. In order to operate successfully, SignalWire required a platform that employees would be comfortable using on a daily basis so that each team member could be easily reached in order to solve problems.

SignalWire did not want employees wasting time focusing on scheduling meetings and setting up endless rooms and links. This hinders productivity and collaboration instead of focusing on work and building new technology.

It was also important that team members could effectively communicate with each other without experiencing the dreaded “zoom fatigue.” It was important that everyone could talk back and forth with colleagues and with clients in a natural way. It was also critical that the online office facilitated effective communication for team building needs so that work did not become stale and employees could get excited about what they were building.


The Solution

SignalWire was not satisfied with the other tools that were available so they built their own ‘Work from Anywhere’ solution: a Virtual Office that operates as their official full-time office.

Employees log in to their virtual office on a daily basis. Each team has its own room to hold meetings in and to act as a collaborative space to get work done together. Each room has a permanent link so it is easy for the entire company to access one another. Some employees even choose to have their own personal offices to meet with clients or to make themselves available for impromptu discussions. Some teams schedule specific times to meet for scrums while others just pop into a room when a problem arises so it can be solved efficiently. 

From the home screen of the virtual office, employees can see a preview of all the active rooms available to them and travel in and out of them as easily as they could walk down the hallway of a real office. Meetings can be held quickly and organically; there is no need to waste time creating specific meeting rooms with temporary links and invites.

SignalWire uses machine learning to remove background noise, detect poor network conditions to automatically save bandwidth, and texts or calls users when someone enters a waiting room. 

If a team needs to review a video or create a live stream, they can share it with co-workers directly from the room. SignalWire Work even has its own special version of a reaction GIF that is perfect for punctuating moments or getting that office laugh.

SignalWire Work utilizes Multiple Control Units to compile each participant’s audio and video and sends it back as one stream. This means that each participant can interact with each other in real-time with no awkward delays or audio clippings. Higher quality audio and video with less CPU utilization and network bandwidth means that participants can communicate naturally without those awkward pauses or audio silences when users talk over each other.

These natural conversations battle "zoom fatigue" and makes it comfortable to spend the workday online. It’s easy for SignalWire employees to communicate with team members and clients in the same way it is face to face. Effective communication also increases their employee morale as they are able to have casual conversations and team building moments that makes the workday interesting and gets everyone excited about being a part of the team. 


“This is not a trendy new fad for us, this is our lifestyle, our heritage, and we're just getting started.”

Anthony Minessale CEO at SignalWire and Founder of the FreeSWITCH Open Source Project

Results

Easy to use:

SignalWire Work is browser-based, meaning there is nothing to download. This makes it easy for SignalWire employees to interact with co-workers and with customers. 

Customizable:

Customize your office with specific settings and imagery. 

Save time:

When a problem arises, it's easy to hop into a room and solve it efficiently without wasting time creating temporary rooms. 


Collaborative:

It is easy SignalWire co-workers to get together for planned meetings or impromptu strategy sessions. Excellent audio and video quality makes it easy to talk back and forth.