The 8 SaaS Platforms That Every Remote Startup Needs

Easy-to-use, affordable online tools of the trade for small teams that are starting up their remote company.
The 8 SaaS Platforms That Every Remote Startup Needs
Sharne McDonald

I’ve been working at an HR Tech startup called Hi5 for over 4 years now, and we’ve tried and tested a lot of online tools to execute daily tasks such as project management, customer support, communication automation, CRM, social media management, website design — the works!

Since we’re helping startups this month, I thought it would be cool to share some handy SaaS platforms that will help other startups like us!

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Depending on what kind of business you’re running, the below tech will help most companies that are starting out and have small, remote teams who need to do a lot of work in the least amount of time. We’ve also tried to source the most cost-effective tools that offer as much as possible for the best price. (We’re a lean startup, too!)

Tools for your startup

For tech companies working remotely (whether for a season, or forever), it’s important to keep data and communications in the cloud as much as possible. I’m not only talking about email and Google Docs or Sharepoint — you can automate a bunch of mundane or time-consuming tasks using online tools, measure output on tasks, and search for old data much more efficiently using SaaS tools.


Canva is a free graphic design SaaS that makes it super easy to create and share pretty sophisticated graphics, animations, and videos. Even though this tool has a lot of design limitations compared to established graphic design software like Adobe Creative Suite, Canva allows you to quickly and easily achieve complex effects that would normally take hours to design.

On top of that, Canva Pro ($119.99 per year for 5 people) opens up an impressive library of beautiful images and templates for all your stationery and social media needs.


A missing ingredient for most remote companies is an integrated way to encourage and appreciate great work. Hi5 is a platform for remote teams to onboard new team members through games and stay motivated through ongoing recognition & communication. Employees can set goals and managers can solicit performance feedback using the Pulses survey feature. The account admin can add the company values and enable tagging values in recognition messages (Hi5’s) to encourage positive behaviors.

Hi5 Awesome is free for up to 10 users. Hi5 Business starts at $5 per user p/m for unlimited pulse surveys and reports.


Every business needs a way to reach new and potential customers. The Mailchimp story is pretty great, and the software has grown from an email service provider to a full-fledged Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. This means you can use it for newsletters & automated email notifications, as well as building sign-up pages, online shopfronts, website pop-ups, and more.

Mailchimp is free to use for up to 2000 subscribers, pro features start at $10 per month and they charge based on usage (so you only pay more as you grow your audience!)


Shortcut used to be called Clubhouse and is a great collaboration and project management tool. It’s really important for remote teams to have something a bit more robust than email or chat to get things done. There are plenty of project management platforms out there and it really depends on what kind of business you’re running and how your team functions. We’ve found that, for the price and features, Shortcut is the best tool for software development teams who work on a sprint, epic, and iteration basis.

Shortcut is free for 1 team with up to 10 team members. If you want to add more team members or more teams, you need to upgrade (from $8.50 per user per month).


Our team loves Slack! Slack allows you to create multiple channels and have private conversations with colleagues as well. You can also join other workspaces, so there’s a lot of potential for consultants who work on multiple projects (or just for connecting with other cool companies!). You can add a bunch of cool Slack apps to make work smoother and more fun (Pssst… we also have an integration with Slack!)

Slack is free but gives you limited access to your message history. If you want unlimited message storage and more file storage, you pay $6.67 per month.


Every startup needs a way to get paid! Truevo is a payment gateway SaaS that offers a free payment plugin, debit cards, and an online portal to manage your money. Truevo will save your business hundreds of Euros compared to other popular payment gateways like Stripe and Paypal.

Check out their pricing page for a breakdown of their transactional fees.


Compared to other big website builders like WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix, Webflow is super robust for building a website that looks and works exactly the way you want. However, you do need some HTML/CSS knowledge to come to grips with the features and how to build awesome elements. The best thing about Webflow is their amazing knowledge base that offers video tutorials on how to do just about everything you would want a website to do.

Webflow starts at $12 per month.


Something that startup founders and team members only discover much later is how essential automation is to the overall productivity of the company. Not only is Zapier a really cool company, but they offer a free product for automating a bunch of tasks with no code! For instance, you can get Zapier to populate a Google sheet for you, or automatically send emails, or even populate subscribers in Mailchimp.

The free version gives you 50 tasks per month, the paid tiers start at $19.99.


I really hope this short listicle will help some remote startups choose the right tools to get their website, team culture, communications, automation, and payments up and running! If you found this helpful and would appreciate some more articles like these, please let me know!

About the Author

A qualified artist (if you get such a thing) by training and a digital designer by trade, Sharné McDonald joined the Hi5 team in 2017 as a Happiness Hero. She currently holds the role of Product Marketing Manager and it’s one of her joys to delight customers and leads with great content, technical information, and funny GIFs. She loves being a generalist and is currently completing a Masters degree in Art Education in her spare time.