Customer Stories 12 min

No relocation required: how Lessmore attracted the world’s best talent with Remote

Written by Marie Nayaka
Marie Nayaka

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In 2021, Samer Al Dafai, Jeremy Ries, and Joshua Hemmerich decided to design, develop, and bring a few mobile games to the market. Fast forward to 2023, and Lessmore — the trio’s company — is now a European game development heavyweight, powered by the breakout successes of Pocket Chess and Eatventure — the latter of which has been downloaded over 10 million times.

To achieve such successes, though, the three founders realized early on that talent was key. And to find the top game development talent, they needed to go global.

To find and onboard new team members beyond their home market of Germany, Lessmore needed the support and expertise of a proven, reliable global HR partner. Here’s why it chose Remote.

Lessmore at a glance:

  • Headquarters: Germany

  • Founded: 2021

  • Current remote employee locations: Finland, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Hungary

  • Industry: Mobile game development

Initially, Lessmore’s founders handled all the coding and game design themselves. But after working on several app prototypes and releasing a couple of games — including Eatventure — it was clear that the team needed to expand. Which is where Sophie Brügmann, Lessmore’s head of operations, came in.

“Things were going really well, but on a small scale,” she says. “And they said, ‘we need you now, come and join us! Let’s go on this adventure together’.”

When Brügmann joined the company, Lessmore’s international hiring was just gaining traction. At first, the company considered setting up an office in Berlin and hiring only in Germany. However, the team quickly realized there was plenty of top talent beyond the German capital — but that not everyone would be willing to relocate for work. 

“A lot of people, especially when they are not as young anymore, don’t necessarily want to move to a different country,” says Brügmann. “So, the question was: how do we bring them on board without asking them to relocate?

Our founders want to develop games. They don’t want to deal with all the bureaucracy and paperwork related to international employment.

Lessmore needed a partner who could handle all this heavy legal lifting, and support its global employment plans.

Hiring in Sweden

For Brügmann, the pivotal moment was when the company discovered an exceptionally talented Iranian developer based in Sweden. This showed that her new employers really cared about finding the perfect person for the job.

“It didn’t matter at all what country that person was living in, where they were from, or whatever paperwork might be in the way,” she says. “We wanted to hire this specific great person because we felt like we needed them on our team. All I had to do was figure out how to do it effectively and compliantly.”

Straight away, though, there was an issue: Brügmann knew nothing about Swedish employment law, and she needed to finalize the employment before the candidate moved on. She also needed to consider Lessmore’s long-term hiring goals.

With Remote’s help, Lessmore was able to work out all the formalities and compliantly hire the Sweden-based developer in less than a week. For Brügmann, it was a game-changer.

“Creativity is at the heart of the company,” she says, “and it's great to have people with different backgrounds and cultural perspectives. Otherwise, the variety of ideas is limited.” 

Thanks to Remote, Lessmore was now no longer limited to hiring people from just one location.

Making global HR feel local

According to Brügmann, the partnership is a prosperous one. “I speak to Remote's User Happiness team at least once a day for smaller queries,” she explains. “The support is always friendly and our questions are almost always answered on the same day.”

As of mid-2023, 40% of Lessmore’s workforce has been hired internationally through Remote’s employer of record (EOR) service. Brügmann loves how fast the onboarding process is for new hires, with the process usually completed within a week — and with very little engagement from her end. 

“Once we’ve decided on a new hire, I explain to them how our partnership with Remote works,” she says. “Then, I invite them to join us through the Remote dashboard, where they can upload their ID, all their paperwork, and all their work permit information. Everything gets checked and verified by the team at Remote."

I can see where the candidate is at every step of the process and the steps they need to take before onboarding is completed. It’s very simple for the candidate, and saves me so much time.

A flexible approach

Lessmore also values the flexibility that working with Remote offers its employees. “For example, we had one person that was living in Sweden and wanted to move to France to live with their partner,” says Brügmann. “They wanted to leave the country, not their job. 

“Being able to facilitate relocation with Remote means that talent stays with us no matter where they live. We have other team members who say, ‘hey, I want to know what it’s like to live in Spain or Ireland for a year.’ We can easily support that with Remote. It’s not a disadvantage to us as a business. Quite the contrary; people are happier, which is a benefit to everyone.”

These high levels of employee satisfaction translate into a positive experience for end users. Which, in turn, makes Lessmore more competitive when compared to larger game development companies. 

“Even though we are fewer than 20 people, our profits are actually comparable to some of the huge game makers that have 100 people or more”, Brügmann explains. “It really gives us an advantage in terms of creativity, perspective, and also cost”.

All the expertise in the world

Since deciding to hire internationally, Lessmore has inevitably encountered the occasional operational roadblock. For Brügmann, this is where the partnership with Remote is a great advantage, as the company now has access to country-specific legal counsel and tax expertise — all through one single point of contact.

“I don’t have to pay horrendous fees, or sort these types of assignments out myself,” she says. “It makes things a lot easier and more efficient for both me and the team.”

Brügmann also likes that she can find a lot of information herself through Remote’s Country Explorer. “I use Country Explorer often because it gives a great overview of a particular market,” she explains. “I can check probation policies, when people get paid, and what local labor laws we need to consider. And if we’re hiring in a country with unique conditions, then it also tells me how long the process is going to take with Remote. It’s really, really beneficial.”

A key part of this is Country Explorer’s ability to verify wages. “We can put in a job title and it gives a suggestion for that country based on the data” Brügmann adds. “We use that, along with the German salary, as a baseline. It helps us give everyone fair compensation and benefits.”

Nurturing the future

While, initially, Lessmore cooperated with Remote to bring on senior talent, it now also leverages the partnership to employ mid- and junior-level talent that it can upskill and develop — at a fair level of pay. “We’re trying to develop younger talent, which is what the industry really needs,” says Brügmann. “With an office-based company setup, it’s not as simple. It’s a big deal for someone who is, say, 18 years old to move between countries for work.

“With Remote, we can hire the most promising young people and not worry about the paperwork. It’s great for us, not to mention the overall sustainability of the gaming industry.”

If a candidate is amazing and a good fit for what we’re looking for, we can just go ahead and hire them.

As her company’s head of operations, Brügmann also admits that working with Remote has benefited her personally.

“I feel like it opens up a lot of doors for me,” she says. “Plus, I have the sense that the team can trust me. I can focus on my work, but if anyone on our team has questions regarding their employment or topics like relocation, they can run it by me.”

What next for Lessmore?

Lessmore aspires to continue finding and onboarding the world’s best game development talent, without requiring them to relocate.

“With Remote, we have all the flexibility to set up our team,” says Brügmann. “We can look for talent in Germany or in any other country. We can also focus on building our products and exceeding users’ expectations with more amazing, new games.

So, what advice would she give to other companies?

“My advice would be to dare to do things differently. Have the confidence to hire remotely to get the best talent, and give opportunities to people who can help you build your business,” she says.

Lessmore prioritize minimum effort at maximum output, and Remote allows them to do just that when it hires.

“It opens so many possibilities to attract and retain talent when you don’t restrict yourself to just one country. It gives us so much freedom.”

Want to take the stress and ambiguity out of your international hiring? Contact us today to schedule a friendly consultation with one of our global hiring experts.

Alternatively, you can get started right away. Set up your profile now, and begin onboarding around the world in minutes.

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