London and California-based Oyster, an HRtech platform designed for globally distributed companies, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $150M (approximately €137.76M) in its Series C round of funding.
With a valuation of over $1B, the company has now earned the status of a ‘unicorn’. The status comes in less than two years after its launch. The company is also one of the few B Corporation companies to achieve the milestone.
Oyster’s Series C follows a Series A round in February 2021 and a Series B in June 2021. The company has raised a total of $227M to date.
Investors in this round
The Series C round was led by Georgian, a fintech company that invests in high growth software companies that harness the power of data in a trustworthy way. Based in Toronto, the firm’s team brings together software entrepreneurs, machine learning experts, experienced operators, and investment professionals.
Margaret Wu, lead investor at Georgian, says, “The Oyster team is one of the most mission-aligned companies we’ve ever seen. They’re the kind of company we deeply admire – not just a unicorn, but an ‘impact-unicorn’, a business that creates enormous value as the direct result of its social impact mission. We’re eager to support them as they lead the world into a new era of work.”
Salesforce Ventures, LinkedIn, the Base10 Partners Advancement Initiative, Okta, and Endeavor Catalyst also participated in the round. Existing investors including Stripes, Emergence Capital, PayPal Ventures, Slack Fund, Avid Ventures, PeopleTech Partners, and HR Tech Investments, an affiliate of Indeed, also participated in this round.
Oyster plans to use the funds to further develop its global employment platform and invest in the People Ops community. The company will also continue its work toward creating a gold standard distributed culture and delivering on its ‘high-impact’ social mission.
Aims to remove the barriers to global employment
Hiring on a global level means jumping local hurdles. By understanding the specifics of local markets, Oysters can help bring people from ‘job offered’ to ‘onboarded’ within a week.
Founded in 2020 by Jack Mardack and Tony Jamous, Oyster is a distributed HR platform that allows companies to hire, employ, and retain talented employees globally. Jamous says, “We’re on a mission to remove the barriers to global employment so that talented people across the globe can increase their employability no matter where they are.”
With the company’s software platform, one can hire remote full-time employees anywhere in the world, provide fully-compliant payroll, as well as give “valued remote hires” the benefits and perks they deserve. Besides payroll and benefits, the Oyster platform also manages local legal compliance, and other human resource needs specific to every country.
According to Oyster, it is motivated by the opportunity for positive social impact. The company says that removing these barriers makes the world a better place in three ways: it helps redress inequalities of access to opportunity; allows for the distribution of wealth to places other than the major cities of the world; and supports the environmentally-friendly and business-smart shift to remote working.
Tony Jamous says, “Distributed work is better for business, better for people, and better for the planet. Our mission, to create a more equal world by helping companies everywhere hire people anywhere, fuels everything that we do. It’s thanks to the strength and impact of that mission that we have been able to grow our team and business in such an unprecedented way. We’re thrilled to work with Georgian and our investor partners on this step of the journey.”
The HRtech company witnessed a year of growth. In 2021, Oyster grew its revenue by over 20X and the number of team members employed on its platform by 17X. As a result of its mission-driven, fully distributed culture, the company managed to attract over 20,000 job applications in the first quarter of 2022.
Oyster customers, who can recruit job seekers in over 180 countries, already use the platform to pay more than $200M to global talent each year, with 25 per cent of that talent living in emerging economies.
In the last two years, the company claims to have created a team of 500 employees. With employees in over 60 countries and an employee base that is over 60 per cent female, the company says it enjoys one the highest employee engagement scores in its class.