03 Feb Scaling into New Markets with CEO of Vervoe: Omer Molad
Omer Molad is the Co-Founder of Vervoe, an AI-powered skills assessment platform that allows you to easily make the right hiring decision based on performance. He talked to MitchelLake about managing geographically dispersed teams, hiring and his experience on growing a successful start-up.
Nick Krekis (NK): What made you choose to launch into the USA market?
Omer Molad (OM): We made a decision to go global from day 1, partly because Australia is a small market but mainly because it was an emerging category and we weren’t sure where people would adopt what we’re doing. We didn’t want to be limited to one market and draw conclusions based on a local competitive landscape. We wanted to experiment globally and see where we’d get traction.
(NK): What would be your top 3 tips for a company launching in America?
(OM): These would be my top 3 tips for a company launching in America:
- Set up a US company because most large US customers want to transact with other US companies. Stripe Atlas does this for $500.
- Get a payroll company like Gusto to handle HR, it will make life easier.
- Don’t overestimate the value of traction outside the US. American customers want to see US logos.
(NK): If you could have one do-over on a major decision, what would it be?
(OM): We made a mistake of hiring someone in Ohio as a W2 employee when really he should have been a 1099 contractor. As a result, we created an expensive administrative mess that took months to unwind.
(NK): What market are you most excited about launching next?
(OM): For now, we’re focusing on our two core markets, the US and Australia. But we’re getting interesting traction in Japan. I don’t think we’ll hire locally because we can cover Japan from Australia, but it’s an interesting place to do business.
(NK): As a company when did you know you were ready to take on a new region?
(OM): We started globally from day 1. I’m not sure we were ready, but we did it anyway.
(NK): How do you maintain your cultural DNA across different timezones and locations?
(OM): That’s a massive challenge. We have people in the US, Australia and Europe. There are certain things that are common globally – like our mission and company values. As much as possible we try to embrace and respect local cultures and local ways. So we’re not trying to enforce our culture. Quite the opposite. Our culture is the combination of the different cultures each team brings to the company.
(NK): What functional hire was your first recruit on the ground? (ops, sales, Founder)
(OM): Our first hire in the US was a customer success manager.
(NK): Did you get any sage advice before launching? If so, who from?
(OM): We spoke to a handful of founders who had launched in the US from other countries.
(NK): Did you start off with co-working space, shared office, remote workers, registered office? How did you get to your decision?
(OM): We started off with people working from home and then moved them to co-working spaces.
(NK): How did you find navigating the different tax laws, employment laws, etc?
(OM): We have an accounting firm in the US and we use Gusto’s HR advisory service, which helps us deal with employment law in each state. It’s actually a great service.
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