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Customer Stories 12 min

simpleclub makes easy work of its international expansion

Written by Marie Nayaka
Marie Nayaka

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simpleclub kennt jeder Deutsche student. 

If your German is a little rusty, this means “every German student knows simpleclub” — and it’s not an exaggeration. Created by two Munich-based friends in 2015, this edtech startup has revitalized the learning experience for millions of German high school students, and is now evolving into apprenticeships too. But simpleclub’s broader mission is to “educate the world,” and to do that it needs access to a world of talent.

For value and mission-driven companies like simpleclub, global footprint doesn’t just mean hiring beyond borders. Expansion partners need to understand the importance of safeguarding company culture, maintaining compliance, and cultivating belonging — and that’s no easy task. Here’s why simpleclub chose Remote to help deliver on these goals.

simpleclub at a glance

  • Headquarters: Grünwald, Germany

  • Founded: 2015

  • Company size: 51-100

  • Industry: Educational services

Created originally as a YouTube channel, simpleclub is designed to “liven up” the way German school subjects are explained and taught, and make them more accessible and relatable to students. The channel was an instant hit, with videos generating millions of views, and its two young co-founders quickly realized they had a viable business opportunity on their hands.

With students — and parents — on board, investors soon followed, and the company promptly required Series A funding. However, to continue to grow and deliver top-tier educational content, simpleclub needed to expand its talent recruitment beyond Germany.

Internal talent that represents customers

When Yasmin Ahmed, simpleclub’s VP of People, was first asked to lead the company’s people team, she was hesitant. Her corporate background seemed counterintuitive to simpleclub’s young startup culture, but the inspiring nature of the company’s mission resonated with her.

“Education literally made me who I am today,” she says. “It allowed me and my sister to have successful careers and options. And that was just because of that chance at education.” 

Once aboard, Yasmin realized that, to expand simpleclub’s product across the globe, the talent makeup of the company needed to evolve.

If we say we want to educate the world, we cannot have people working in just one country. Talent has no borders and our vision can be very exciting to a lot of people. So we wanted to open opportunities for others to be part of that and do something that is purpose-driven.

Yasmin knew that setting up costly entities in other countries would drain valuable time and resources, which wasn’t an option. The company needed an employer of record (EOR) to help them find and onboard talent, handle payroll, take care of benefits and equity, and ensure compliance. The search was on.

Finding a great partner: no competition

In particular, Yasmin and her team wanted an EOR provider with a robust product, and a strong understanding of the importance of company culture. After doing their homework, they quickly found that Remote not only ticked both these boxes, but provided a personal customer service touch too. According to Yasmin, no matter who they spoke to at Remote, the interaction was the same: warm, knowledgeable, and reliable.

“What really made a difference with Remote was our account manager,” says Yasmin. “He convinced us that we were in good hands, and that we weren’t just a customer. It's a partnership that’s all about enabling the business.”

In fact, Yasmin is so happy with Remote that it has helped shape simpleclub’s wider approach to talent expansion.

There was a situation where we had to partner with another provider, because hiring in that particular location wasn’t possible through Remote at that time. And that was proof immediately that, yes, we are very happy with Remote!

“Now, our talent acquisition team uses Remote’s Country Explorer as the guide. So if a country is not supported yet by Remote, we just don't even start there. Because we want to grow with Remote and, as they support more countries, we will expand our hiring to those regions.” 

  • Remote offers a flat pricing structure and no hidden fees when hiring new employees

  • Remote’s employment and compliance experts on the ground around the world give simpleclub the peace of mind to hire talent globally

The benefits of a dependable global hiring process

Once simpleclub was up and running with Remote, Yasmin noticed some immediate benefits to the global hiring process. The biggest was having the burden of managing compliance in each country lifted from her team’s shoulders.

“I really trust the hiring process with Remote,” she says, “because you definitely want to be compliant. There’s so much you could get wrong. But Remote has experts in every area and we know that we can reach out and get the answers that we need very fast.”

In addition, simpleclub could now offer the option of working anywhere to their talent, which resonated with the company’s goal of removing location-based barriers to achieving and learning. simpleclub was even able to entice some candidates who expressed interest in relocating.

We have people that want to move to Germany to work, but it can take a long, long time to get visas and arrange everything. By putting support in the interim phase with Remote, they can start their employment with us earlier and take their time getting ready to move. And with Remote, they still feel like a valued team member, no matter where they are in the world.

Partnerships only work with shared values

A great EOR partnership isn’t possible without an understanding and sharing of values, because often, the EOR has to represent its customer to others when it isn’t possible for the customer to do it themselves.

“One of our values is that we genuinely care, and Remote has that same value,” says Yasmin. “And that helps to extend the simpleclub experience to our employees, so that you don't recognize whether it's a partner or not. If that synergy isn’t there, then the partnership can’t work.” 

As the partnership grew, simpleclub discovered that these shared values went deeper than they initially realized. Both companies have a strong purpose in mind, with respect for their employees, and with an understanding that their lives outside of work have priority. Remote and simpleclub also understand that culture is not limited to a certain location.

“Remote working is so important to our culture,” adds Yasmin. “Another of our values is that we love life and all its colors. That’s why we don’t say work-life balance; we actually just call it ‘lifestyle’. Because you live and you work, and that is just your life, right?”

With Remote, simpleclub can provide a meaningful lifestyle to its employees without compromising its revolutionary educational mission.

What’s next for simpleclub’s international hiring

According to Yasmin, simpleclub’s hiring strategy is purpose-led; it doesn’t hire for hiring’s sake, and the company only pursues talent expansion if it makes sense and adds value. When it comes to recruitment, the company believes that optimizing is everything.

If there wasn't a model such as Remote, there simply wouldn't be this kind of hiring. Because otherwise, it's just too painful, too lengthy, too expensive, and too risky.

When simpleclub does identify the need to look for candidates, it will continue to use Remote’s Country Explorer. And when they find the right one, Yasmin fully trusts Remote to onboard them quickly and provide an employment journey that fosters belonging.

Without the need to worry about global HR, simpleclub can achieve that all important mission: to educate the world. Viel Glück, simpleclub!

Want to take the stress and ambiguity out of 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 employees and contractors around the world in minutes.

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