Founded in Munich in 2018, Demodesk is a pioneer in offering the most intuitive customer meeting platform and automated scheduling tool for revenue teams. By providing intelligent assistance and insights during the call, Demodesk empowers remote sales teams to have great customer conversations and drive revenue.
Demodesk teamed up with Oyster in order to scale quickly and build a diverse, global team beyond their hubs in Munich and Lisbon, while also ensuring a unified company culture and a consistent employee experience regardless of where their people are located. Thanks to Oyster, Demodesk’s team is now working seamlessly across five countries.
As a fast-growing startup, Demodesk needed to scale quickly and build an international team. But they felt constrained because they were limited to finding people in their existing labor markets. If they couldn’t find the right person for a particular role and wanted to look elsewhere, they would need to establish their own legal entities in those countries. This is a costly and time-consuming process.
David Dawoud, Head of People at Demodesk, has experienced firsthand some of the challenges of trying to hire globally. “You typically need to establish relationships in numerous countries. You can’t go and talk to Employers of Record for each and every country that interests you, so you’ll need to filter it down. Then you’ll need to go into their neck of the woods and try to negotiate with them.”
That’s why it was a relief to find Oyster, he says:
“Without a solution like Oyster, it’s not even worth the hassle. You just end up deciding, ‘We’re not going to hire there.’ It basically restricts you from getting access to talent. Oyster takes that all away. That’s what makes Oyster great.”
The administrative hassle wasn’t the only challenge either. David knows from recent invoices that “lawyers can bill you upwards of €400 an hour.” The complexities of navigating local labor laws in other countries means that legal costs can add up quickly and become overwhelming.
Besides being expensive, the traditional way to hire in another country was also far too slow for a fast-growing startup. If they found the perfect candidate in Chicago, he’d have to ask them to wait a couple of weeks while they figured out how to hire them. But the delay meant they’d get snapped up elsewhere. “You end up losing them,” says David ruefully.
Most importantly, without a global employment platform, Demodesk was unable to ensure a fair and consistent employee experience, whether someone was in one of the hubs or working remotely from another country. That was a critical challenge that Demodesk needed to solve in order to grow and scale.
Demodesk eventually chose Oyster as their global employment partner in February 2021. Thanks to Oyster, they now have access to the best talent anywhere in the world. No need to set up legal entities or wrangle with EORs.
“Oyster makes a difference by giving you simple access to a very smart solution that’s easy to use and enables you to hire anybody wherever you want to hire them from, regardless of whether or not you have a legal entity there. That takes away a lot of challenges. If you don’t find the right person in a specific country you’re in, you can always look outside of that region."
The Demodesk team also appreciates the Oyster platform’s simplicity and ease of use. “The platform is very friendly in terms of basic usage, and you’re able to get everything out of it if you would like,” says David. He uses the platform for contracts, payroll, expenses, and more, and he’s able to take care of routine HR needs using the self-service tools.
“Oyster has it down in terms of its simplicity, but it’s genius at the same time. It’s simple enough that you don’t need to feel the burden of maintaining numerous systems. That’s the beauty of it. They provide you a great overview, and if you need help, you just email them. It’s awesome.”
According to David, what differentiates Oyster from other global employment solutions is that it’s not just a tool or platform, but a trustworthy partner on any HR issues that may arise. “With other players,” he says, “if you have any HR issues, you need to go to the Employer of Record in the specific country where your employee resides or is employed from. You get forwarded to a person who doesn’t know your employee or your history, but they’re officially the legal entity that’s being used, so you have to handle stuff with them. So numerous parties get involved who don’t know the nuances of your story.”
In contrast, Oyster provides a consistently strong customer experience regardless of whether the hiring is done directly in a specific country or using a local EOR partner.
“Even if it’s not their own legal entity, Oyster centralizes the experience by taking ownership and acting as the middleman to resolve any issues. For me, that has been really impactful."
In Demodesk’s experience, the Oyster platform is “90% of the answer” to what they need. However, when they do need support regarding legal cases or local laws in order to make certain decisions, they’re able to access country-specific legal knowledge by working closely with the Oyster team.
“I consider Oyster as an extension of our team. They’re the first to know when we need them. If there are HR cases, they really go deep into the matter and you feel like they’re a colleague you can count on.”
Demodesk cares deeply about ensuring an excellent employee experience regardless of location, and they’ve been able to count on Oyster to ensure a consistent Team Member experience across borders.
Even better, if there’s a specific benefit Demodesk wants to add that’s not readily available, Oyster goes the extra mile and “they usually get it done,” adds David.
With Oyster, Demodesk is now able to hire very quickly, which has improved their ability to acquire top talent. They no longer have to worry about losing candidates because it’s taking too long to figure out the paperwork.
“In terms of speed, we can get an offer out instantly. We don’t have to tell someone to wait while we figure it out. Now, we know what we’re going to offer, and we know Oyster is going to play ball and get it done. And that’s it. Instantly.”
Demodesk’s workforce is now 50% in their centralized hubs and 50% distributed. And thanks to Oyster, they were able to scale while also being able to guarantee an excellent employee experience.
“In terms of scaling, what’s super essential for us is offering a unified employee experience. You need to have certainty that you’re able to offer the same thing for employees that are close to home and those that are more distant and working remotely. Oyster enables that and takes away that burden. That’s super important.”
Partnering with Oyster has also helped Demodesk cut down on legal costs. Instead of hiring a lawyer, they’re able to rely on Oyster for the local knowledge and legal advice they need—at a fraction of the price.
“Oyster encapsulates a fair price and gives you access not only to knowledge of local labor laws, but also legal counsel if it's ever required—all included in that one price. Lawyers can bill you upwards of €400 an hour, so that’s a cost that’s completely taken away. In my estimation, you’re probably saving at least €2000 to €3000 per employee per year. If you have, say, a hundred people through Oyster, that’s a lot of money you’re saving.”
In fact, Demodesk has been able to lean on Oyster’s legal expertise in complex and sensitive situations. David recalls an HR case where the company was at risk of potentially being non-compliant. Their contact person at Oyster did some digging and put him in touch with the right folks in the Oyster legal team.
“I was at a loss as to whether they’d be able to help us. And before I knew it, I had a call with two wonderful ladies who were legal experts and they walked me through it. Then they stuck by me the whole way, and they’re still sticking by me. That was exceptional for me.”
So what’s ahead for Demodesk? “We’re excited about expanding,” says David, “and obviously Oyster will join us on that.” The Demodesk team is excited about tackling and overcoming the challenges faced by most startups with distributed teams: “How can you ensure the same experience, the same culture, captivate people, inspire them—while dealing with numerous personalities and cultural differences?"
As a People leader, it’s clear to David that this will become the new norm. “Taking on that challenge is going to be probably the most exciting thing,” he says, “and hopefully we’ll be able to get it done.” With Oyster by their side, they certainly will:
“It’s the only logical way forward if you want to scale and be well distributed, unless you want to spend a ton of money in setting up legal entities and going through all of those steps. But that’s going to hold you back from scaling right when you need to scale very rapidly. Without Oyster, I don’t see how we could get there with the speed that’s required and the employee experience that needs to be guaranteed.”