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Meet Tony Jamous, CEO at Oyster:
Tony Jamous, CEO of Oyster, is an entrepreneur driven by a mission to empower companies to access global talent and create a more equal world. Born in Lebanon during the civil war, he moved to France as a teenager and was inspired by the country’s value of equality. With a background in computer science, Tony founded Nexmo, a cloud communication platform that achieved $100 million in revenue within five years and was later acquired for $650 million.
After taking time off, Tony recognized the potential of remote work and the challenges of building an international employment infrastructure. This led him to create Oyster, a fully distributed company with a mission to enable businesses to tap into the global talent pool effortlessly. With a team of 600 professionals across 80 countries, Oyster is revolutionizing the way organizations operate, fostering collaboration and diversity on a global scale.
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Quick Read: Tony Jamous, CEO at Oyster, Interview Highlights
Can you explain how Oyster’s platform works and how it helps companies overcome the complexities of global employment?
Tony highlighted the challenges companies face when employing individuals in other countries, including understanding local labor laws, engaging with lawyers and accountants, and providing competitive offers tailored to the local market. He emphasized that Oyster’s software platform simplifies global hiring by enabling companies to extend compliant employment contracts, localized benefits, and streamlined payroll and payment processes. By doing so, Oyster reduces the barriers associated with hiring globally, allowing companies to focus on finding talent while leaving the rest to Oyster’s platform.
“We enable you through our software platform to extend a job offer, an employment contract that is not only compliant but also adapted to the needs of that employee in that country.”
What were the key factors that fueled Oyster’s rapid growth?
Tony attributed Oyster’s remarkable growth to three factors: demand, culture and people, and the mission. He mentioned that the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent shift to remote work created a surge in demand for global hiring. Building a strong leadership team and fostering a diverse, distributed, and mission-driven culture helped attract top talent and position Oyster as a talent magnet. The combination of these factors contributed to Oyster’s rapid growth, with the company raising significant funding and becoming a billion-dollar company in just two years.
“Companies are not anymore needing to hire in 20 miles radius from their office; they have unlocked pockets of demand that we never expected to happen in such a short period of time.”
How can entrepreneurs and companies overcome the traditional focus on local hires and adopt a global hiring perspective?
Tony acknowledged the current challenges, such as some companies retracting remote work policies and the impact of layoffs in the tech job market. However, he emphasized that the future of work is remote and global, driven by the desire of top talent to work flexibly from anywhere. He urged entrepreneurs and companies to recognize that remote and global companies attract the best talent and become the innovative organizations of the future. Furthermore, he highlighted the cost-effectiveness of hiring talent from emerging economies and the need for companies to diversify their hiring locations to reduce costs.
“The best talent in the world, now they know that they can have an additional degree of freedom, which is to work from where they want to work and work flexibly.”
How does Oyster ensure compliance and help clients navigate employment regulations?
Tony emphasized that compliance is crucial for any Employer of Record business, and Oyster prioritizes scalable compliance and talent competitiveness. The Oyster platform allows customers to operate compliance tasks efficiently, including generating contracts, managing taxes, and ensuring the right benefits. Oyster’s software assists customers in creating competitive employment offers by providing guidance on compensation, equity, and local benefits specific to each country. By focusing on compliance and talent competitiveness, Oyster becomes a trusted strategic partner for clients seeking to acquire and retain talent globally.
“We focus on making customer talent competitive and make compliance scalable, so we become the strategic and trusted partner for our customers as they competitively acquire talent around the world and retain them.”
Do you envision Oyster owning its own pool of talent globally in the future?
Tony acknowledged the potential of owning a worldwide talent pool but mentioned that Oyster currently relies on partnerships with companies like Google to connect clients with talent. While the strategy for talent acquisition is still under consideration, the primary focus remains on addressing the complexities of global employment and providing the best experience for customers and their distributed teams.
“Our strategy for talent acquisition is still under discussion, but our focus right now is to bring the best experience to our customers and their distributed teams.”