Our first encounter with the team at Format was an email from Jillian Lockwood, the team’s PR manager. We often get emails from teams who are interested in having us visit, but this one caught my attention. In four short paragraphs Jillian explained who they were, what was interesting about them, and included two photographs of their space in Toronto. I had heard of Format previously via their InFrame documentary video series and was immediately impressed at the level of content the team was producing in addition to building a product.
If you don’t know, Format is a self-funded Toronto-based team that offers an online portfolio platform for creative professionals. It was founded in 2010 by Lukas Dryja (CEO) and Tyler Rooney (CPO). Since then they’ve grown from 2 to 35 employees. Ten of those employees joined in the last year, and six employees are completely remote. The team had recently reached a milestone of having a user in every country in the world when we visited them. In addition to developing their product, the team at Format produces an editorial magazine aimed at informing and inspiring their audience. The more we learned, the more we wanted to know: how were they dealing with growing so quickly, managing a partially remote team and building a successful product in such a competitive space? With Toronto just a quick trip down the road, Matt and I took the opportunity to spend an afternoon with them, talking to the founders Lukas and Tyler, as well as members from the design, support and marketing teams.