Office Hours: I’m Shuo Wang, Co-Founder & CRO of Deel. We recently raised our Series D and are valued at $5.5B. AMA!Featured

Hi everyone!

I’m Shuo Wang, the Co-Founder & CRO of Deel.

Deel is a leading global compliance and payroll solution that helps businesses hire anyone, anywhere. Deel’s technology offers unmatched payroll, HR, compliance, perks, benefits, and other capabilities needed to hire and manage a global team.

I co-founded Deel with Alex Bouaziz in 2019. In 2020, we saw a 20x increase in revenue, and last month (October), we raised our Series D at a $5.5B valuation.

Prior to founding Deel, I co-founded Aeris, a cutting-edge smart home health technology company. I also hold a B.Sc in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration on Robotics from MIT.

Ask me anything about startup growth, fundraising, the founder journey, remote teams, or anything else!

Thanks so much for joining us @Shuooo!Elphas – please ask @Shuooo your questions before Friday, November 5th. @Shuooo may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hi Shuo! How would you describe the difference between Revenue and Growth roles? What are the top skills needed to be successful as a CRO?
I always CRO is to make money for the company 😆So every strategy and decision should be revenue driven! Growth is critical for revenue, as growth generate top of the funnel for sales to close revenue. Revenue is very process driven and we need to trust the processes.
Thanks for joining us Shuo! As a second time founder, what are some lessons you've learned from Aeris that have helped you in building Deel?And a fun one — how did you come up with the name Deel! :)
Aeris is hardware and Deel software. Compare to hardware, software is easy to iterate and test the market. I think as a second founder, I think more about the market, whether the market is big enough, how important is the problem I am trying to solve for this market.
Hi @Shuooo , thank you for doing this session! How did you recognize the opportunity for Deel? Would love to learn about any research or frameworks that led you to decide to work on this idea.
Hey Tanmayisai, thank you! So about Deel, initially I wanted to build a payment platform for international contractors. I have a very international background, and I have worked with talents globally. So I see the trend of how companies are hiring internationally. Also, people tends to travel more and work online more, if they can work from home, they don't want come to offices. Plus, the technology is so advanced today so people can just communicate online. Then I was thinking maybe that is the trend that companies will hire internationally, and people can work from wherever they want.
@Shuooo thx for doing AMA. As a fellow Founder, where did you get started in your revenue strategy and what traits should we look for in a CRO? Thx, Jo
Thank you @joclark! About initial strategy, we start with where are our clients? Based on where they are, we can develop strategies to acquire them. The role of the chief revenue officer has changed significantly over the last few years. First and foremost what you need is someone who is a systems thinker and who isn’t afraid of jumping into data. You also need this person to have a genuine understanding of the sales process.
Ah super inspiring! We use Deel at my current company. I'd like to know how you decided to go from being an engineer/robotics to starting a payroll company? What is your vision for career trajectory planning and what would you recommend women?
hey @cattxx! I went into engineering because I believed the skills you learn as an engineer are fundamental to many other areas of life. I didn’t sit out to become a chief revenue officer but I always thought out to do the most impactful work I can with my skill set and at our current company it ended up being the role of chief revenue officer. Instead of chasing titles always ask yourself how can I provide the most value to those around me and do that at the highest level possible
Hello @Shuooo, congrats on crushing your Series D round after just two short years since launching! I'm far from an expert in payroll or compliance but your product sounds simultaneously complex yet is capable of scaling fast at the same time — definitely no small feat by any industry standards. Could you share more with us about how long it took you guys to develop a usable product and sign your first customer(s)? Did you employ a more segment-focused approach in the beginning then layer more services/features after the launch? Thank you so much for your time!
thanks @EmilyWan great questions. We have iterated our product a lot. We spent a lot of time with our clients, understand their painpoints and what their needs are. We had some wrong assumptions about how client would use the product initially, but after gathering many feedback, we realized, our assumptions are completely wrong. So we had to start over many times :)
Fantastic! Thanks for your insight. Please keep us updated on your journey!
Deel has gone through an amazing journey but also created something that the market needed more than ever now, so thank you! I know growing so quickly comes with the good and bad, so I would love to know how you and the leadership team ensures that the culture stays true to what you set out to do!
It all starts with hiring the right people you need to hire people that are not only a culture of it today but you can trust with upholding that culture as the company scales. A lot of leaders make the decision to hire super talented people and overlook the fact that there is no culture of it assuming that’s great work would compensate for it. We have always valued culture fit as much as talent. I want to be clear that this never means that we will hire people that are not as talented just because they’re a culture fit but it does mean we will be willing to hold off for an extra week or two to find the right candidate who is both incredibly talented and is a good culture fit.Beyond that we are very strict with writing down what culture means for us so that the expectations are clear and people know how to behave within the company.
🙌 incredible journey 🙌
thank you!
@Shuooo what was your process behind discovering the Deel idea? How did you iterate and find a product-market fit?
@kellychou great question. I am Chinese who moved to America as a foreigner and my cofounder is a French person who moved to America as a foreigner. Both of us had friends that were very international and some of those friends made the decisions to go back home and often times that meant they had to give up incredible true or opportunities. Seeing that made us want to hire our friends and we noticed that there was no solution that will allow us to do it compliantly cheaply and fast. That was the origin of this idea we then asked around and noticed that a lot of people were not taking the next steps to hiring internationally because they simply didn’t know how.
Congrats on your Series D round, Shuo. What's the journey like to go from launch to Series D? Did you start with a seed round, then Series A to C every few months? Did you have relationships with the investors before launching?
@MinaFung We didn’t have any relationships with any of our investors before launching was me and my cofounder of my foreigners new into the country. YC helped a lot, and we focused on execution, and release the product for users to use and test so we can fast iterate. When we get a certain milestone on rev and users, we raised a new round.
@Shuooo Thank you so much. I look forward to trying Deel for my growing my business all remote and for my clients (also all remote).
Such an inspiring journey. What do you suggest as bullet points when fundraising ( female founder)?
I think just make sure that your pitch is solid and do a really good job of telling that story very clearly. Personally I’ve always stayed away from using hyperbole and stuck to facts as much as possible. Excitement isn’t the thing that gets you the fundraising dollars it’s a market opportunity. Aside from that anything you can do to showcase your trajectory as a solid leader as well as your chemistry with your cofounder will increase the confidence that theses have in you.