Customer Stories 12 min

Swell saves time with stress-free international hiring

December 10, 2021
Preston Wickersham


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Discover how headless ecommerce platform Swell is growing globally with Remote.

Swell is hiring with confidence around the world

Swell is a rapidly growing global remote-first software company. As they scale, they're hiring quickly — adding to their small agile team to continue delivering top-tier quality work. They needed to partner with a company that could handle the challenges of a global team's HR, including tricky local taxes and compliance, without slowing down growth in the process.

Swell at a glance

  • Headquarters: Fully remote

  • Founded: 2018

  • Company Size: 26 employees

  • Industry: Ecommerce

  • Total employee countries: 7

With the help of Remote's user-friendly platform and hands-on customer service, Swell is positioned to expand their talent pool by hiring the global team they need. As a result, they continue to build their unique company culture with a seamless HR experience. Every employee feels a strong sense of belonging and is greatly invested in Swell's exciting growth, no matter where they're based geographically.

Why Swell chose Remote

Why did Swell trust Remote to help scale their global team?

  1. Remote’s speedy onboarding processes makes life easier for Swell’s team. Now, Swell has more time to focus on growth and building a healthy environment for their employees.

  2. According to Swell, the team at Remote is more helpful, friendlier, more knowledgeable, and most importantly, more transparent.

  3. Partnering with Remote gives Swell the help needed to build trust with their global employees. With Remote by their side, Swell employees all feel like part of one great global team.

Managing 400% growth while planning for the future

Swell's story is inspiring. The company originally launched as a five-person stealth-mode company in October 2020, but onboarded 26 new employees in 2021. With that level of growth comes a need for structure and stability. Stefan Kende, Swell's COO, knows how important those advantages can be.

“Being at pre-seed level is a different type of challenge because you're constantly trying to scrape things together, and yet there are only three or four other people in the company who can contribute,” says Kende.

When we raised our seed round last year, one of the core questions became: how do we actually grow Swell the right way? It's not going to be a five-person company forever. It's also not going to be a 26-person company either. We know it's going to be much bigger than that.

During this period of rapid growth, Kende has been the people person. He looks after screening candidates, hiring, onboarding, and generally setting up the hiring infrastructure for the company. As if looking after this process wasn't enough, his role handles all facets of operations, from HR to legal to finance, all while providing input to team structure and adhering to the needs of each individual employee. Putting it plainly: he covers a lot of bases. And now, Remote helps make it possible.

Growing globally as a remote-first company

As a remote-first company, Swell attracts a spectrum of people with a variety of skills. "In San Francisco, you have a very specific subset of people with a very specific mindset,” says Kende. “Even if you construct the best team in the world in San Francisco, you're still only getting a San Francisco perspective."

Bearing this in mind, Swell is committed to attracting top talent from all over the world. “We are a global company. So we want to attract international talent that lives into that. At Swell, we don't mind where you're based, as long as you have an internet connection." And so began Kende's quest to find help hiring internationally.

How exactly did he find Remote? "My brother-in-law mentioned Remote to me. He has a small company that he runs in Sweden and is a Remote partner. He was looking to hire from other European countries. But, just like many others, he runs a small business and didn't want the headache of figuring out how to hire all of the people he needed."

It was also important to Kende and Swell that the partners they chose could work autonomously and not need them to babysit HR.

I was looking for companies and partners that would take a lot of that work off my plate…and not require constant attention from my end. People operations are important, but I'm working on 10 other priorities in a week.

Kende knew Remote’s rigorous compliance would make life easier. “So if it's up to me to understand the local taxes or compliance or anything that's country-specific, it's possible that something will get missed and problems can happen.”

When Kende learned about Remote’s turnkey platform and ease of use, the decision became a no-brainer:

“You want to feel like the company that you're working with has everything covered…if Remote says they have it covered, they’ve thought about it, they looked into it as best as I could have, and at that point, they're doing the correct payroll, taxes, and everything else along the way. So, I think that sort of peace of mind was the top thing for me since I have many other day-to-day tasks to do.”

After demoing with EOR companies that required too much of his time and attention, Kende found Remote to be a perfect fit because Remote took care of all the logistics and support at a fair and transparent price.

How Remote supports Swell's people and culture

Remote has made the hiring process not only easy, but also incredibly efficient. For Kende, it was the level of communication and great customer service that won him over. He's found his partners at Remote, Eliot and Sarah, to be helpful, friendly, knowledgeable, and most importantly, honest.

"They're all very quick to say, I don't know the answer to that right now, but I'll figure it out. It doesn't feel like you're putting gasoline on something that's broken. I tell them right away and they say, 'Okay, we see that and we'll fix it.'"

Operating as head of HR, Kende often doesn't have the answers to complex employee questions. "I don't have the answers to what the superannuation tax retirement fund in Australia needs this year…It's been really nice to check in with Remote to either have them give me the answer via email, or oftentimes they say, 'Just loop me in with the employee.'”

It's been great to have the Remote team act as a localized account manager to help broker that and make sure that my employees feel like they're getting actual HR answers.

It was also important to Kende that international employees felt just as included as their domestic colleagues.

“It is super important to me that international employees don't feel like secondary citizens…It was hard to employ international employees before, especially for small companies…International people ended up being contractors, didn't get their normal benefits, or just started feeling like, 'I'm not really fully part of the team, and I'm missing out on what's going on in the US.'”

It was really important for me to work with an EOR that felt like there were people behind the organization and not just some software wall. Remote is facilitating better communication and trust with my team.

Swell prioritizes their people. In partnership with Remote, Kende is helping to fill the talent pipeline to support the company's growth trajectory. "The number one thing we want to optimize for is people and making sure that our people feel like they're committed, invested in, and part of the team... I'm a big believer that [teams and people] make or break a company, so I spend most of my time helping to build, grow, and cultivate company culture."

Thanks to Remote, Swell's company and culture are growing and thriving.

Swell is hiring! Check out their remote job options on the Swell careers page.

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