How Open Scout Onboarded 50 People Across 6 Timezones
Early stage investors invest in people. Because new startups lack predictable metrics investors make a judgement call on the founding team. For many investors the pandemic has reduced that judgement call to a video call. Without meetings, networking events, and even catch-ups over coffee investors are deciding whether founders can build multi-million dollar businesses over Zoom. But 2020 was still a strong year for venture capital, so it looks like the industry is adapting to remote life just fine.
Along with these changes there are new opportunities being created: last year Adam Hardej started Open Scout to make startup fundraising faster and more accessible in a remote-first world.
Open Scout connects founders with investors using their scout network. The scouts are based at college campuses across the United States and internationally. Unlike the traditional model where scouts find deals for investors, Open Scout's network helps founders find investors. They also provide a suite of tools to help deals get done faster, like Open Scout's newest product, OnePager.
Before last year's launch, Adam and his team needed to onboard 50 scouts across six different timezones. For the new recruits, joining Open Scout meant getting familiar with the company, and learning about the world of venture capital and startups. With such a big group and so much content Adam's team was faced with a challenge more akin to online education than VC.
"With all of our scouts scattered across the country and a few abroad, finding a time for a group call was a nightmare"
To get up to speed quickly the onboarding needed to be accessible and engaging for all scouts. Adam wasn't keen on scheduling calls to fit a bunch of different timezones, nor the idea of repeating the same call at a different slot. Adam said, 'there's nothing less engaging than a 50 person Zoom lecture with everyone sitting silently and one person talking'. He wanted an approach that let scouts learn in their own time and kept the content engaging.
So Adam decided to create a video series that he'd record and share each week. The videos would consist of updates and ideas from Adam, recommended readings, and small projects for the scouts to work on. Adam's next challenge was deciding how to create the videos. He realised that his content was going to be tricky to create with a basic screen recording and he didn't want to spend hours in a video editor either.
"Tella was really the perfect tool for what I needed to do."
Adam used Tella because of the way he could easily split his videos into smaller parts using Scenes. 'I was able to make sure I hit all the points I wanted to cover with videos and slides that were short enough to be manageable in one take', he said.
Each video was about 10 to 20 minutes long, with three or four scenes. Most started with an introduction where Adam kicked-off the video. For the intros he usually created camera-only scenes and added bullet points after recording. For demonstrations he used screen + camera scenes to shift the focus to his screen. Adam ended his videos with closing thoughts and a summary, and for these he created another camera scene. The combination and variation of scenes meant that he kept his audience engaged, even on longer videos. Additionally, any time Adam wanted to re-do something, it was only a matter of replacing a single scene — he didn't have to worry about re-doing an entire video.
Adam made a template from his first video which meant he could create his next videos even faster.
The onboarding videos were met with a really positive reception from the scouts. Adam said, 'I had multiple scouts immediately compliment me on the videos ... a big step up from what a mandatory 50 person Zoom meeting would have inspired.' The async onboarding videos continue to save time as they can be reused for new scouts. Despite the success of the videos Adam's team haven't completely ditched live calls, but now they're less administrative and more personal.
"The async onboarding was a huge hit because it made it a lot more manageable while still getting everyone through the same amount of material."