Changemaker: Improving Hiring to Keep Pace with Remote Work
“It’s been the journey of a lifetime to build something with my sister.”
The cofounder story of Maite Diez-Canedo, MBA ’17, and Itziar Diez-Canedo, MS ’17, starts at home. Instead of hosting a lemonade stand, the seven- and five-year-olds sold books. “Hearing 10 rejections before lunch and just picking back up and trying to sell again. That’s a core memory,” Itziar says.
In this ongoing video series, we showcase Stanford GSB alumni who are striving to change lives, organizations, and the world.
The two sisters eventually enrolled at Stanford GSB: Itziar in the one-year MSx Program, and Maite in the MBA Program. “Being at the GSB together got us to truly think about what it would be like to start something together,” Maite says. “Not only did we think of the idea for Via, but also we tested our own co-founder dynamic.”
Via aims to make the hiring process easier for remote workers and their employers, across the globe. Although remote work is now standard, the founders say that contracts, hiring processes, work visas, and training programs aren’t set up for this new landscape. Via aims to change that.
“Hiring internationally is really complex, so what we’re doing is basically making it really simple. Our mission at Via is enabling any company to be a global organization,” Itziar says.
Maite: We were lucky to grow up in an entrepreneurial family.
Itziar: We built our first company when we were seven and five-ish. It was a book stand, and really learned from our dad just selling. Maybe hearing 10 rejections before lunch and just picking back up and trying to sell again. And that was just a core memory.
Maite: That was our lemonade stand.
Itziar: I think few things can bring you closer to someone than creating and building something together. It’s been the journey of a lifetime to build something with my sister.
Maite: It was a very lucky circumstance that me and Itzi were at the GSB together. I think it actually got us to truly think about what it would be like to start something together. Not only did we think of the idea for Via, but also we tested our own co-founder dynamic.
Itziar: Via is a platform that helps companies hire internationally in a seamless and risk-free way.
Maite: We help you take care of all of the admin, burdensome, boring things about hiring someone in a new country, specifically taking care of all of their contracts, local payroll benefits, and maintaining ongoing compliance.
Itziar: Hiring internationally is really complex, so what we’re doing is basically making it really simple. Our mission at Via is enabling any company to be a global organization.
Maite: The name Via is actually a bridge, a connection, or a path from one place to another, which is, in a sense, what we’re doing.
Itziar: A lot of the why for me is also just representing something bigger than the company or the mission itself. It’s really clear that female founders are underrepresented, female tech founders, Latina founders, you name it.
Maite: Instead of thinking about the challenges or thinking you’re the one that is different, I like to think of who’s coming next and how do I want to act for them.
Itziar: Part of the reason and the energy behind what we’re building is, what are we representing, and what example are we putting out there for others that might be looking for a role model that is not typical?
Maite: And the more you can act that way, the less issues you see with being different, and the more you see that as being an opportunity really to have a different perspective and to bring something new and different to the table. Via wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the GSB.
Itziar: The GSB was an inspiration. Every single day, it was. From the conversation you had over coffee before class to the guest speaker to who you were meeting for dinner.
Maite: It’s almost like it gives you the confidence to be able to start something.
Itziar: You really can create a bespoke and unique experience that fits what you’re looking for in life and in your career.
Maite: I’m Maite, and I’m the co-founder of Via.
Itziar: I’m Itziar, and I’m the co-founder of Via.
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