Our Founders and Team

August 3, 2022

Learn the story of Sprinter's founders and team.

If you want to learn about where Sprinter is going, it’s worth taking a moment to understand where it came from. Sprinter’s origin story stretches across time and space, from Ukraine to Switzerland to the frontier of the metaverse.

It all began in 2015, when Sprinter co-founders Alex Ford-Carther and Brian Shields launched their first venture, Coder, as a way to help technologists and entrepreneurs launch new ventures.

From left to right: Sprinter co-founders Brian Shields and Alex Ford-Carther

Their distinct and complementary skill sets made them a unique match as a leadership team. Brian had previously managed a global digital marketing agency, while Alex had extensive experience as a product manager and developer working on back-end delivery.

Brian understood the challenges of working with global and fully-distributed teams: working asynchronously in different time zones, doing unnecessary work due to outdated information, and eternally delayed product launches due to limited engineering capacity. By contrast, Alex understood exactly what kind of organizational and logistical challenges caused those delays.

As time went on, Alex and Brian talked endlessly about the challenges faced by companies relying on remote — and frequently transnational — workforces. On one level, having a global workforce allows employers to tap into a truly global labor market. You can have a brilliant developer from Kyiv, a graphic designer from Johannesburg, and an account executive in Toronto working together asynchronously to build, market, and sell a product or service to users in France or Finland. But without the right tools, the promises of remote work never come to fruition.

Coder used a number of tools and platforms to deal with these problems, but they all provided incomplete solutions.

The Start of Sprinter

In 2019, Alex and Brian began working on Sprinter through the Batch_01 Incubation Program at CV Labs in Crypto Valley: Zug, Switzerland. With Sprinter, they set out to eliminate the problems they saw every day and build a platform that would increase transparency, reduce friction, and streamline payments. They set out to build a platform that would level the playing field and give everyone an equal opportunity for success, regardless of location or local currency. The team wanted to establish a Network of global-minded technologists sharing a common infrastructure to break their dependence on third-party software subscriptions while erecting a self-governing community, using its own tools, each member with their own independent operation.

Blockchain-based smart contracts are a core part of what makes Sprinter such an effective tool for remote employers and workforces, and the time spent with Swiss blockchain entrepreneurs and investors accelerated Sprinter’s ideation, development, and growth.

From Day 1, Sprinter has been fully remote. Their experience managing remote workplaces and employees at Coder and countless other clients has undeniably shaped how the Sprinter platform helps employers manage and grow their remote workforce. By combining cutting-edge smart contract technology with an operator’s keen understanding of what makes a remote workforce productive and successful, Sprinter pushes forward the frontier of product and employee management.

A team strengthened through struggle

A majority of Sprinter’s core employees are Ukrainian. To say that the war has devastated them would be an understatement; the Russian invasion has ripped Ukraine asunder, and the powerful outpouring of support for peace and Ukrainian sovereignty shows that there is no such thing as a local conflict in 2022. While we are watching videos of fighting and seeing images of devastated peoples and places, key members of Sprinter’s team have had to push themselves to the limit to keep their families and communities safe.

The fact that many members of Sprinter’s team are from Ukraine illustrates the complex contradictions and contrasting themes characterizing the world today. A global team trying to help other companies adapt to a global labor market has been disrupted by a local war with increasingly global consequences. We see those consequences as negative and positive: rising fuel prices and global instability coupled with extraordinary generosity and kindness from those who have supported refugees.

Sprinter team dinner in Kyiv, Ukraine

At Sprinter, we are building the future. Our team has seen firsthand what happens when outdated ideas and norms are used to justify actions, and our unrelenting support for the Ukrainian people — and for freedom and prosperity around the world — is based on the core values that led us to start Sprinter.

Sprinting toward the Future of Remote Work

Of the 55 million small and medium-sized businesses in the United States and Europe, 80% feel that they aren’t taking full advantage of their digital tools and are looking for new solutions. Not all companies are fully remote, but even in-person businesses can benefit from using contract work on the Sprinter platform. And for fully distributed teams, Sprinter is providing a one-stop shop for hiring and managing your remote workforce.