HRtech Atlas Launches In Brazil, Aims To Expand Borderless Talent Culture

HRtech Atlas Launches In Brazil, Aims To Expand Borderless Talent Culture

As the remote working model becomes more popular in Latin America, HRtech Atlas is launching its regional headquarters in Brazil today (15). The plan is part of a global expansion strategy aimed at helping companies embrace the concept of borderless talent to reduce hiring costs and risk.

Atlas’s value proposition is to enable businesses to hire anywhere in the world. This is done through a business model dubbed employer of record (EOR), whereby the firm combines its legal entities set up in 160 countries and a platform that enables clients to onboard, manage and pay their globally-distributed staff.

Fueled by a $200 million Series B round announced in September 2022, Atlas is now investing in technical improvements to its global workforce management platform and setting up offices globally. The company picked Brazil as its Latin American headquarters, and Adriano Araújo, formerly LatAm president at Dunnhumby, has been appointed as the firm’s general manager for the region. The startup employs 50 staff locally and plans to grow its Latin headcount by 30% in 2023.

Up to 20% of Atlas’s latest round will go towards developing its presence in the Brazilian market, according to the startup’s founder and chief executive, Rick Hammell: “I believe that Brazil and Latin America have a significant contracting power, but that is still underexplored,” he said.

“We want to support Brazilian firms wanting to hire outside their home country, not just to reduce the cost of talent, but to support their global clientele effectively, and that comes with language and cultural nuances that need to be taken into account,” Hammell told FORBES.

A greenfield for borderless hiring

A former head of HR for a government contracting agency, Hammell sold his house back in 2015 and set about buying legal entities around the world with the proceeds. In that process he dived deep into the various complexities of global labor markets, including details around payroll, benefits, and pensions. These learnings would later become the bedrock of Atlas’s EOR approach, which the startup positions as a shortcut for companies wanting to hire outside their home country.

“Businesses still have a hard time managing global talent and are looking into ways to expand and retain their global talent pools,” the executive said, referring to the cost and effort involved in setting up entities in various jurisdictions, as well as understanding the ins and outs of local regulations.


When it comes to business in Latin America, the founder is optimistic. “We’re very focused on not just tech firms that go into Latin America, but also supporting all types of Latin companies who want to do business abroad, and enable them to do it without all the brick and mortar of actually setting up entities themselves,” Hammell said.

To illustrate his point, the CEO noted that a Brazilian company wanting to hire in China would take around 18 months to confirm with local legal requirements and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process. “For a startup or even a scale-up, that’s a lot of time and money you could invest in other things,” he said, adding that his firm can onboard employees in China as soon as three business days.

Within the next year, Hammell expects Brazilian companies to be more familiar with the EOR approach and that his company will succeed in demonstrating that this can ensure job creation and operational efficiency. “[Brazil] is pretty much a greenfield for us, but [borderless hiring] is still very much a new industry in a global sense,” he said.

“In 12 months, I would love to say this trend is becoming well known in Brazil and that we are a leader in that space, with our local teams proving that EOR is the model to use,” the executive added.

Navigating complexities

With current gross revenue at over $300 million, Atlas is aiming for 85% growth this year. The company wants to improve the positive numbers reported for 2022, which included a 350% increase in the customer base. To get closer to clients, it will expand its presence with offices in other parts of the world, such as Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East, this year.

But how do these growth plans sit with the current global instability and the wave of layoffs sweeping across the startup ecosystem? While acknowledging his business is not recession-proof, Hammell stressed Atlas helps companies keep getting access to talent while reducing cash burn. The software also lets clients gain insights into areas such as which countries are more cost-effective to hire and helps companies keep up with changes in employment law.

“In every economy, there is a winner. And we are not just going after tech companies: we can support any business looking to hire the right talent anywhere”, said the CEO, noting that sectors such as agribusiness and pharmaceuticals are among the types of industries where traditional employers have been increasing the use of remote, borderless talent.

However, getting to that stage requires educating decision-makers about the upsides of hiring in other countries. “A lot of companies are testing the waters right now”, Hammell said. “We need to make sure that people understand what employee of record means and show them it is an expansion route for them. That is what this business is here for: helping companies create opportunities for success.”


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