Loka was imagined as a global company from Day 1. Even before he’d hired a single employee, founder Bobby Mukherjee was intent on recruiting a talented, tight-knit workforce from under-the-radar tech hubs around the world. First he hired remotely from the flourishing tech communities in Skopje, Macedonia and Lisbon, Portugal. Then he found more of his people during a customer visit to Bogotá, Colombia. He united these teams around his vision of a product consulting firm that would take on fascinating projects while living up to Silicon Valley standards and working entirely remotely. His tireless travels earned him the nickname “Backpack Bobby.”
Mukherjee’s globe-trotting agenda succeeded: Today, some 19 years later, Loka employs 200 engineers and designers spanning numerous time zones. It also inspired one of the company’s most popular and most unique benefits. Guided by Backpack Bobby’s inquisitive mindset, Loka launched Explore, a travel program for the professionally curious.
Explore sets the stage for qualified Lokals to immerse for three months in one of the three cities where Loka maintains a work hub: Lisbon, Skopje or Bogotá. The program provides administrative assistance with travel plans, accommodations and visas. It opens the door to the kind of experiential learning and cross-cultural interchange that only international immersion can provide. It solidifies team chemistry and cohesion. And perhaps most importantly, it instills and rewards a curiosity and empathy for the wider world that infuses the entire company’s approach to work.
Gabriel Vasquez, a DevOps lead engineer at Loka, spent his Explore time in Skopje. As he puts it, “Traveling teaches you to know yourself, to stop and enjoy the smallest things, to interact with other people. To enjoy your time and to grow as a person.”
18 months after launching Explore, Loka has compiled a scrapbook of participants’ thoughts and images. Our Explorers have made the best of the opportunity, and we thank them for their joy and commitment.
And to the next round of Explorers ready to step into the unknown, we wish you the best of luck. We can’t wait to see how you grow!