Bloomberg Línea — Although Latin America’s job market showed a recovery in 2022, inflation and the economic slowdown will cause unemployment to rise again in 2023, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), but despite that outlook, the region’s talent remains attractive, according to Alex Bouaziz, co-founder and CEO of human resources provider Deel.
Bouaziz says that recruitment of talent to and from Latin America has increased by 161% in recent months.
In an interview with Bloomberg Linea, Bouaziz talked about the attractiveness of Latin American talent, despite “every business being currently vulnerable to global economic slowdowns”, and talked about Deel’s increase in valuation and its revenue expectations.
Bloomberg Línea: Deel has achieved a new valuation after its latest round of investment, what are the projections for 2023?
Alex Bouaziz: It really has been a great year for Deel. We had significant growth during 2022, as we increased our valuation to $12 billion. We managed to go from generating $57 million in annual recurring revenue to $295 million in less than a year. In addition, we are operating with a gross margin of over 85% and closed the year with positive EBITDA results.
In terms of numbers in 2023, we expect to double our revenue and in the next two to four years to reach $1 billion.
Since the second half of 2022 we have seen a “winter” in the startup space in terms of contractions and layoffs. Has Deel been hit by this situation? Have you considered reducing payroll or restructuring spending?
Today every business is vulnerable to global economic slowdowns, but we are also confident of our strength. We have been registering steady growth month after month and we expect this trend to continue. We understand the current environment and are cautious in our use of budgets. Our commitment is not only to our growth, but also to our team, so we invest our resources wisely and prudently.
The companies I talk to tell me that they are consolidating costs and HR tools based on the outlook, and for this reason our efforts to become an all-in-one platform are extremely attractive to them.
How important is Latin America for Deel’s business? What percentage of the company’s business does the region represent?
More and more companies are seeing the potential of Latin American talent and the value it can add to their business: well-trained professionals, and a time zone that fits with many locations, among other factors, have contributed to a considerable increase in the number of hires from abroad.
According to our most recent International Recruitment Report, Latin America tops the list of regions with the most companies hiring from abroad, with an increase of 161%.
Great Latin American talent continues to position itself in foreign markets and, in a borderless labor world, this becomes a great opportunity for them. Latin America is undoubtedly a key region for us.
Are you concerned about the slowdown in Latin America and the layoffs we are already seeing in the region? How could this impact Deel’s goal of doubling its revenues?
Although this is a phenomenon that affects many companies in one way or another, not only in the region but globally, we believe that, in parallel, companies are seeking to optimize their human resources tools and have much more concise infrastructures. Today a company can use between 14 and 16 people management systems. That is a lot. We want to help companies consolidate all these systems into a single all-in-one platform.
On the other hand, as I said earlier, Latin America continues to be one of the regions that hires the most internationally and from where companies hire the most talent as well.
We are in the era of data, and where there is more and more and better disaggregated data. How can we use that to better manage companies and human resources?
We are a data-driven company; it is part of what we offer our clients, so that they can better analyze the information they generate and thus make better decisions. We have been working every six months on our Global Hiring Report in which we analyze the most in-demand roles, salary trends, which countries are hiring and whom, worldwide.
But we didn’t want this data to remain just a report. That’s why we recently launched a new area of research and public policy, the Deel Lab for Global Employment, which provides experts with information on trends gathered by the company on labor issues, in order to elevate the debate around global employment public policy. We are convinced that there is a lot of work to be done in this regard and our data can add strategic and positive value for society.
What role will Emerson Collective play in this expansion and growth of Deel?
Beyond the valuation of a company, for us the objective has always been to have the support of the best investors in the world. We are very excited to now add Emerson Collective and have them on board at Deel. We are confident that their support will be critical to our growth, as they come on board as a strategic partner for the innovation and scalability of our company.