Oyster, an HR platform for distributed workforces, snaps up $50M on a $475M valuation

It’s clear that remote work is the way of the future, so it makes sense that a firm that’s developed a platform to assist companies in recruiting and onboarding remote workers has just announced a fundraising round.

Oyster has closed a $50 million Series B round; the company assists businesses with the hiring, onboarding, payroll, benefits, and salary administration of freelancers and full-time employees operating outside the company’s home country.

According to reports, the company is being valued at $475 million after receiving the cash, which is six times higher than its $20 million valuation from the most recent funding round four months ago. Tony Jamous, CEO of London-based Oyster and co-founder of the company with Jack Mardack, has remarked that the company’s growth since then has been “exponentially.” He claimed that the firm had assisted 80 major corporations in finding qualified candidates for knowledge worker positions.

The Series B round is being led by Stripes, with participation from existing investors Emergence Capital and The Slack Fund, and new investor Avid Ventures.

As I reported back in February, Jamous told me that the seed for Oyster was planted during his time at his first startup, Nexmo (which he eventually sold to Vonage), when he encountered the difficulties of hiring talent internationally and, more specifically, the millions the company invested to build out the infrastructure to do so itself, as every country has very specific procedures for employing people and handling all of the contractual, tax, and regulatory details related to doing so.

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Oyster’s goal has always been to make it easy for any business to employ from anywhere in the world without having to go through the hassle of doing it themselves.

That’s a fantastic plan on its own, and it meets a genuine need amongst commercial enterprises, but it’s been complicated by the current political climate. Not only are more people interested in working abroad, but domestically many businesses, especially those in need of filling knowledge worker posts, are struggling to find qualified candidates. This has increased the need to find and hire people from further afield, while also encouraging an environment where employees feel comfortable working remotely.

There is a skill scarcity and there is no longer any reason to come into the office,” he stated. The chances that your company’s top talent is located in London are fewer than one percent, therefore if you’re a London-based firm, it’s in your best interest to recruit from the worldwide talent pool. Therefore, if you rely heavily on talent, tapping into the global talent pool can drastically improve your odds.

Oyster isn’t the only company raising large sums of capital to expand into the market’s growing need for remote workers. Deel (now worth $1.25B), Turing (now worth over $1B), Papaya Global (now worth over $1B), Remote, and dozens more others.

While Oyster is not (yet?) involved in helping to source or vet potential hires, once someone is identified and an organisation wants to make an offer, Oyster provides a seamless way to handle the rest, including advice on whether it is best to hire the person as a contractor or full-time employee (the trend here, he said, is full time), how to handle benefits based on the country in which the talent is based, and other aspects of remuneration, in particular, how to Costs start at $29/mo for freelancers and go up to $399/mo for permanent staff, with additional plans available for larger rollouts.

The corporation sees this as part of its larger purpose to serve the public. The Lebanese-born Jamous has made it his life’s work to ensure that those from developing nations and other less heralded regions can enjoy the same opportunities for professional advancement as their more established counterparts. Now that moving and migrating aren’t necessities, people have access to a wide range of possibilities that weren’t available in the past. Oyster has applied for and been granted B-Corp certification, which it will use to fulfil the global talent and employment requirement.

It’s not like this is happening for no reason. According to a recent report by Korn Ferry, published by Oyster, 1.5 billion knowledge workers will enter the workforce in the next decade from emerging nations, despite the fact that there are true talent shortages. It makes financial sense to develop means of recruiting and supervising such personnel.

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