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Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships. Welcome to eight players, but guess what? We'll tell you how to target, hire, retain and train top performers for your team.


I mean, we grew from 20 people in March to 70 people today. So all of this tribute to 25 countries looking to add more, we don't care about your location, doesn't care about your talent. That's not a big jump, right. From having, I think, a month and a half ago, one person on the sales team, apart from my head of sales, to think about 11, 12, 13 is today. There's definitely some interesting parts to it.


I am Robin shows you at our suites and we are sourcing automation software that helps the tech companies hire the best talent at me. And follow me now on LinkedIn who want to keep an eye on this.


OK, so today we're having Alex from Deal. So this is a very special company. Correct me if I'm wrong, but what I understand is you launched the products in April twenty nineteen, and then in the span of a year and a half, you raised fifty million in funding with one of the most prominent VC fund, which is Andreessen Horowitz. And so today you are 70 people in the team in twenty five countries. So very stellar growth, is that right?


That's correct. Thank you for having me. I'm excited.


The topic for today, we decided together is how you got a thousand customers in a year for your company. And we'll see why it's interesting to our audience and why it's interesting to understanding how the landscape for players changed. So can you tell us more about what you do exactly and maybe a bit of background on the company and how you got here? Of course.


So what we do do is it's pretty straightforward, actually, with lots of complications to it. We help companies hire in other countries. So today your company wants to hire someone in the Philippines or in Estonia because the talent you want is there. We make it really easy for you to hire them as independent contractors are as full time employees in a couple of clicks. So, you know, most companies today are realizing that a players are all over the world and that limiting yourself to, you know, 30 kilometers when hiring that ranges is just not good enough.


And we're here to enable that. So we've launched the product, like you said, in April 2019. And in the span of a year and a half, we went from not much to building something that that people I think enjoy using. We support about a thousand companies from some is all the way to public companies. So, you know, that's a phenomenon that's happening all over the market. And like you said, we raise about 50 million dollars.


We're about seventy two point twenty five different countries. And yet we're doing actually hiring more.


So we've known each other for a few, I would say, years now. And I remember being very impressed when you raised a series A in June 2020 and a Series B in September 2010. Is that right? Yeah, that's correct.


It's been a crazy year, to be honest, that something was unheard of.


What were the numbers again?


So we raised 14 million dollars back by Andriessen and a couple of strong angels back in May, June, and then we raised thirty million dollars back by Spart Capital wisely continued to understand and a couple financials as well in September.


Well, and this is also obviously because the company had huge growth in 2020. Would you say that most of this growth was driven by covid?


I wouldn't say it was only driven by covid to the Japanese companies have been hiring internationally for quite a while. It's just it was never really done properly, or at least there was no real framework from a people's perspective or any perspective. So we had customers before covid and we're still growing. We definitely had the next generation with more and more companies being forced into remote work, realizing that, after all, if we're already all remote, why be limited to the distance and buy an office and a location?


So, you know, we definitely had a lot of momentum going into that. And a lot of companies that were not used to having Muttley have started looking into it. So, you know, I think we have still been where we are from a product perspective, but from a traction perspective and from an awareness perspective, the idea of remote work has exponentially grown for sure.


And yeah, obviously there was good execution as well. There's a lot of players in the space, so congrats for that as well. You're clearly in the leading position today, yet there is this very deep market trend that is driving this growth and driving companies moving to remote. And again, we're being used to that now. But can you tell us more about that market shift and what it means for the entire hiring industry? Yeah, sure.


So there's a few things to it. One, the fact that people started hiring outside of their country forced them into looking for a solution that gives their talents and much better experience. Until now, most companies hiring outside of their country would just be sending wires or for the ones that carried a little more that go into solution. Second, transfer wiser people to give a better experience, but overall, it's very underwhelming and what happens is the other side of that is that it's very non-compliant.


So when you're hiring someone in another country, we're both from friends, probably the best country from an employment law perspective and the most complicated country for a lot of companies. You need to think about all the steps of working with someone in a country like that. And, you know, when you have a couple of people and you're hoping no one really sees, it doesn't really matter. You think it doesn't matter. But when you start growing and hiring in more countries and when countries are realizing you're hiring three times, they start looking a little deeper.


So understanding the right way to set up the relationship from a compliance perspective, combining with the fact that companies are not thinking about having a global team, meaning they want to give streamline and a pretty easy experience to older teammates, regardless of the location, for companies to look for solutions that actually do that. And that's one of the biggest shifts right now. Your people ups are your chief people officer will be looking to give the same or maybe even better experience to your teammates in the Ukraine or in France than their local W2 is in the US.


And did you see changes in mindsets in the last 18 months? Did you see change a lot or do you feel it was just natural continuity of what already was in place?


I think we saw a change in mindset for enterprise customers and maybe mid-market. I think SMB and small startups were always more open to hiring internationally because the fact that you have to compete for talent all the time and that they realize that when you don't have a lot of budget, you don't have a lot of funding. Hiring outside of your country is something that you naturally do more often. What I've seen is bigger companies, so I can't exactly name all of them.


But some of our public companies, enterprise companies, they've looked at it from a different perspective. They started getting their feet wet, hiring one to person in another country and trying to gauge whether or not it's something that was going to work for them. And then I think we've seen some of them hire hundreds of people directly right after that. So definitely a change in mindset develops level for sure. But also overall, you know, engineering studios are more open to working with engineers around the world and across the board.


What we've seen is the organization is just more welcoming. And if we can make it easier for you from a compliance and H.R. and of this perspective to do it, then we should be able to empower it even further.


And so you already do work with corporates and you also see copyrights making that shift. Does it mean that the competition for talent is just changing countries? So today we're competing in the same cities in New York and San Francisco. Does that mean that now we'll have to compete with these same companies in Tier two cities potentially?


There's a few things to it. First, I think I think there's still great talent in San Francisco. I do think some people are overpaid, that there's just some great things around the world. I think there's going to be a shift on that front where the best people, regardless of their country, will start reading what they should be learning. And that's going to be, I think, quite critical. I do think what you might see is you might see companies like ours.


I mean, we don't hire engineers in San Francisco. And I actually find that again, I think it should be done. But for me, it makes no sense. Right. So you'll see great startups. I hope our model a little more and give more chances to people in different countries. I think I mean, competition for talent will always be there. I think it gives them more opportunity to other people. Some great talent that could have been working for your company before.


I didn't have the opportunity and might have it today. So sure, there's going to be a lot more money funneled into those countries. And for those things, I don't think the balance is going to change drastically just yet. It's just going to level a little bit.


And can you tell us more about what the last 18 months look like for you? So you signed those thousand new customers already working with Enterprise cooperates. Can you explain a bit more about your own personal trajectory as a founder and the company's trajectory as well?


Yeah, as a founder and CEO, I'm pretty scrappy. So having gone through the process of having to level myself and become a better founder, a better CEO, let go of things that I might have never thought I would have to on the product side, on the south side is something quite interesting. So, you know, as the month went by from raising our children around and being very, very deep into the product, all the way to is there is a to starting to hire first executives, our management team.


I mean, I still do interview every single person at the company to the end. I want to do that forever. But learning how to let go and trust your teammate to execute and just having the high level KPIs and understanding of what are your priorities as a CEO every morning has been quite challenging. But I think so far I've done a decent job better. So the trajectory has been incredible that I it's a very different job. But I can say I'm still unsure which one I prefer the most always is to always be the one.


That wants to be creative versus just executing and just planning and compensation planning and hiring strategies, I think it's super important, but we'll see how that evolves in terms of the company itself. I mean, we grew from 20 people in March to 70 people today.


So all distributed in 25 countries, all distributed. Twenty five countries looking to add more. We don't care about your location. We care about your talent. And that's a big jump from having a month and a half ago, one person on the sales team, apart from my head of sales, to have about 12, 13 is today. There's definitely some interesting parts to it. I mean, you know, I can talk about it for hours, but I'd be curious to hear about the interviewing process.


So you say as a founder, you still interview everyone. What does the interviewing process looks like? What does it look like? What's your secret source to find those top performers again, knowing that you have the very competitive advantage of hiring anywhere in the world?


So there's a few I think we should break down the question in a few parts. I'll touch on the interview process because that one is pretty rapid. We're very aggressive on hiring. So one of the things and we need to get much better at it, to be fair. But one of the thing we're good at is when we find someone we think is a fit, we'll have all four interviews today and we'll get enough out super fast. And that makes it very smooth.


Communications are super transparent. And if you're passionate about what we're doing and as a company, you get really excited first. So our process is quite simple. Depending on the position. We'll have the hiring manager to the first interview. If it's if they're fit, give them a case study or something that's tailored for that specific role. And then again, depending on the specific department, you'll have a microphone. There are still to do the second interview, another interview with another hiring manager and then one last interview with me.


I've got the fun job of this, which is trying to really go deep into understanding the person, giving them a bit of an understanding of who we are as people and understanding if they're fit for that. And we have a couple of key characteristics we're hiring for. And that's kind of the fun part of the job on my side is just making sure that we're aligned and that they'll be able to stay with us for the next few years. Actually, that's my favorite question in interviews.


I love to ask people what can I do for you to still be with us in the next five to seven years? Yeah, it's a different question to ask because you want to not be in the position they are today if you want them to be, whatever the problem. So that's our interview process and from a talent perspective. So there's a few things you can do there. To be fair, I think we've got a decent brand in the remote space.


So we do get quite a bit of applicants, which is very flattering and has been a great tool for us to get eight players. And then you've got you've got amazing tools like obviously high speed is a great way to measure inbound candidates and actually managing the album. This has been really nice and you've got great people that can help you there. I think the way we look at hiring is very open. We've got our job descriptions. And when you don't look for locations, when you just look for a skill set and scrappiness or whatever is the right fit for that role, you have a different approach to screening.


And yeah, we look at everyone and we try to do our best to give them the most if we can be. They answer them as best as we can as well.


We'll keep the question, what can I do for you to still be with us in three to five years?


And that's a good one for five, seven years. That's five, seven years. You're gunning for the IPO. You know, it's actually been seven years, so you should be in the same boat.


What do people like that?


You know, usually you get a part of the answer in the first discussions, which is like, why are you looking to make a move? Because a lot of the times the people we interview are working are an amazing companies. So they can tell you what's frustrating for them or what are they looking for. So you kind of get a sense of that. But I think in that way really makes you understand what they valued the most and what they want to see as a change.


So sometimes it's a matter of spin, right? Like things are a little too slow. If they're going to be corporate, though, it's a matter of ownership that's given to them. Sometimes it's a matter of not seeing the world the same way. And that also gives you some perspective. Are you seeing the or in the same way. Right. Would they be a good fit for a deal for our company, for your company from a culture perspective?


So I like that answer because the way I usually like to end this is if you ever get in a scenario like the one you describe, you know, I'm here for you and please come and talk to me and we'll see if it does. I've been on paper. To me, it's for you to understand we care. And caring is one of the when you're asking what's the culture and what are we looking for? The first thing we haven't mentioned is we hire people that really care, that have really good heart.


So that really aligns with our hiring characteristics and the values we have.


We'll see again. We'll talk again after the IPO, then we'll see what was left. And so another thing that you mention is so you grew the team from 20 to 70 people really fast. Beyond that hiring plan, how did you decide on who to hire or how do you feel the architecture for the. So I think my investors are going to freak out when they're going to hear that. But, you know, as a startup, like a fast growing startup, we didn't get hired.


But first, we are an H.R. company, right. So we salute every single person at the manager level. And within the company thinks about what is the best way to build H.R. processes all the time.


So we took it on ourselves to all be very thorough in every single step of the process. And in what way do we want to go if we want to do? On the flip side, sometimes you really need talented people for things that you didn't realize you need it. So it's kind of a bunch of we really need to get that done. We need those people right now and oh, we need a head time. So we need a head of customer success.


So there's a balance between, oh, my God, we did not realize that that role right now, what can we do to have the best person possible with the next one week or two weeks? And OK, clearly, on the upside, the head of operations, our operations is working wonderfully, but we've decided in three to six months, even the scout, which we're growing, we really need to bring another senior person on the team. So it's a mix of attire right now and something is going to break if we don't hire right now.


OK, so everything is on fire and we're looking for people to put that fire we're always looking for.


So one of the things we have and we'll see how much we can stick to it, I hope we can. But if you look at the job description, we dream about building a company where let's say one hundred and fifty people take us to take the company to IPO. We don't want to be a company with thousands and thousands of people. We might have to, but I'm hoping we can solve problems through scalable processes over headcount. But I think every single person we bring has a critical role in the company.


And I think the people we bring are highly talented and they're more than their headcount. Right. They're here to solve lots of problems. And if you think through it, I mean, it's actually a really good exercise that something our CEO talks about quite a bit. Whatever we build, we always try to build it in a way of what will happen to this. If we had one hundred million dollars and they are right X hundred, accept what you have today, how bad would that be broken?


And if it's broken, how can we make it so that it actually can scale? I really like that mindset.


So but being a remote first company, did you work in a remote company before or were you accustomed to this way of working, which is again different from the office life?


Funny story always built companies from my side dropped out of my Quixtar from France. I moved to Israel to do my B.A. and then I moved to the US to do my my masters move to the UK to do my dropped out of my ability to start my first company, which didn't end up being that great, to be honest. But I could never afford developers in Israel because they're crazy expensive there. I could never afford developers in San Francisco. So I actually hired people in different countries just because I didn't have any money before you bootstrapped.


And so the fun part is I've never had a team that was not distributed and I'm actually never worked in an office in my life. So I don't really know how it feels or what it is.


OK, good. So my other question, but then the answer will probably be different then is what do you change in the interview process when you're hiring the person remotely? And I'm thinking more specifically about the technical assessment and the technical interview, the assessment side. Do you need to change something? Do you do it differently? Do you have any recommendation on that?


Yeah, I can't really compare, but I think our technical assessment, which makes the contest compare and life testing pudding's our assessments, doesn't feel that different. Whether you're in the same room or sharing your screen to me kind of feels the same. I've never really been a big fan of that because I've done quite a few of those interviews myself, those wild morning interviews. That's never been my thing. So I can only give you tips on how to run interviews differently.


But I can tell you for sure that if you've got strong people on your team, they can assess the skill set is the practical skill set of someone really easily. And then maybe what's a bit harder is the culture of fear, because you're not in person, you cannot feel that person. And that's where you have to be a bit more fair about what are you looking for now?


But again, you can never work in an office, and that's probably not a relevant question lately.


And so where do you see this trend going? Do you feel so? We're talking about vaccines. We're talking about the end of the year. We hope for the best the end of the PennyMac. Do you feel like this trend will change or do you think will accelerate in the same direction?


Well, you know, of course, like everyone, I'm really hopeful that I can stop wearing a mask when I go outside. But, you know, the way I look at that is there's going to be a bit of a mix of both some people needing a. Is work right, and it may not be full of this with every single person in the same place, there might be some stories of people not wanting to go back and be good.


They still remain friends of the virus and all of those things that I'm not. One hundred percent sure they're what I'm sure that a psychological level people have embraced the idea of not having to be stuck from nine to five in one office and have been more open to hiring, diversify at times and diversify it, too. I think that Richard is very critical for an organization to be successful as well. So long story short, I'm looking at the market and I think there's definitely less to which had been done right.


People are always going to be looking remote first from a hiring perspective. And whether we end up being in a hybrid situation or not, I think most companies will just see what they think is better for themselves. I don't think we'll ever be in an office that's just not going to happen. Could we have one office in London when we have too many people and that they can pop by whenever they want?


Sure, why not? I don't mind as much. Right. I just want my team to be happy and I want to give them the flexibility of doing whatever is right for the right.


But what we understand is that in the past 10, 20 years, companies have more and more access to information, to tools, to software is getting cheaper and cheaper. And know that's also the same for talent. You're creating a company like what you did when you dropped out of your PhD and you started a company, hired people remotely. And that's a very cheap way to access talent because you don't have to hire in your city and also probably a way to encourage more innovation.


So in any way, companies will probably have to adapt to this new way of hiring anyway.


Right? For sure. And I mean, if you think about all the amazing websites to teach you how to learn, how to cook all those amazing schools that are teaching people online how to code, you definitely have talented people around the world that have access to more knowledge. That's the thing. A big part of that that shift is you can have a very cheap laptop and you can start learning how to code regardless whether you're in Zimbabwe or in the middle of nowhere in Russia and China.


So from that standpoint, the way I look at things is over the last few years, all those amazing companies prepared and amazing people to be ready for when the market will open like that. Right. And I think that's actually one of the biggest accelerator of that is all this time having access to knowledge by a click of a button.


And do you see companies hiring directly talent in different countries, or do you see, like kind of outsourcing companies doing the intermediary and being the middleman between the actual software company and the talent? Because that's also another model, right?


Yeah, not a huge fan of the I think intermediary is the way you're reading it. You know, for example, the way I deal the way we have companies is finding plug and play software to make it easy for those companies to hire people. Now, there is some limitations around, for example, the full time employee model that we have, which is at the end of the day, you don't have an entity in the local country, so you need another company and another entity to hire that person on your behalf and take on the responsibility of the employment.


But that's more like an umbrella company. There are not an outsourcing agency.


Exactly. Outsourcing for me, it's something that's something. This is 10 years ago with call remote teams. So, you know, people have changed on this topic. I'm personally not a huge fan of the idea of outsourcing. Now, there's some wonderful agencies that can do a lot of work, but I'm more focused on bringing players. And if you want to bring a players, you've got to give them a great experience. They've got to be on.


You've got to be with you if that makes sense.


OK, and so today, do you only work with software companies or do you also work with these agencies as well as customers?


We work with agencies, but the way we work with some agencies, they're a team within themself. Right. So you want to work with Agency X to develop a product? Agency X is a remote team and want to give a really good experience to their teammates. Right.


So it's not really like plug and play. The way you think about it, there is more you know, we have some really interesting companies using the product. I mean, we've got a company doing global first medical response using deal to hire people in different countries, which is that crazy. So it's not you know, it's never made in software. We have companies, we've got universities as Festiva. So it's a little bit of everyone. It's not just the startup world that's looking at talent and saying that's outside.


It's it's a global revolution. Right.


And I'm also curious to hear so obviously, especially in the Bay Area, when you're thinking about hiring distributed talent, we're thinking about engineers because they're so expensive in the Bay Area. But again, that's the only engineers, right? You can hire doctors, you can hire different people. So what on the main use cases that you see your clients use you, in which team do they use you mostly?


Yeah, you know, by virtue of being a tech company and having a tech in that. My first customers probably start and I've seen quite a bit of engineers being hired for a deal, but then again, it's all over designers, customer support agents, domestic agents, operation people, salespeople, and it's honestly across departments. Right. Obviously, some companies have a preference, for example, on the sell side to hire within the United States and with perfect English if you're sending access to other US companies.


But across the board, I think regardless of the department, regardless of the skill sets, we've seen companies hire everywhere. And again, it's more a matter of talent rather than location or type of skills.


Well, thanks a lot, Alex. It was great talking to you. Thanks for sharing those very exciting 18 months with us. And we're looking forward to the next 18 months then, for sure. Thanks.


Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. And excited to chat again in 18 months with hopefully a bigger team.


And thanks for listening that podcast till the end. If you're still with us, it's probably that you enjoy the players. Eight players is brought to you by myself and higher suites. Well, building a sourcing automation software. And we already helped nine other tech companies hire the best science.


To know more about us, go to W-W the higher suites dot com or you can add me on LinkedIn.


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