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Germany’s Personio is Comin' to America


The European show is typically filled with one or the other: An American company in Europe, or a European company in America. This week, lucky listener, includes BOTH. America’s Uber, on the heels of dealing with similar legislation in California, now finds itself juggling an EU who wants to treat giggers as full-time employees. (Cue the higher-rates, longer waits fear mongering!) On the other end of the continental expansion is Deutschland-HQ’d Personio growing its footprint in America with an office in New York City. What’s more? How about a lively conversation spurred by the latest round of Buy or Sell, featuring Heyu Works, Recrubo, Freework and Kenjo.


PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:


INTRO: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark. Buckle up, boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese Podcast.


[music]


Joel: Oh yeah. It's International AJ Day, which I can only guess is followed by International BJ Day. This is the Chad and Cheese Podcast Does Europe. I'm your co-host, Joel Unwanted Kiss Cheesman.


[laughter]


Chad: And this is Chad "What Is This Rugby Thing" Sowash.


Lieven: And I'm Lieven "Not Stuck in Traffic Anymore" Van Nieuwenhuyze.


[laughter]


Joel: And on this episode, Uber warns Personio grows and buy or sell. Let's do this.


Chad: What are you doing in traffic? You're in Europe. You've got all this great public transportation...


Joel: Well, Lieven's way above public transportation.


Chad: Flying cars, I mean, that kind of...


Lieven: I really don't like the public parts.


Joel: Audi 5, whatever. Yeah, he's not...


Lieven: Five-five? It's an eight.


Joel: Eight. Yeah, exactly.


Lieven: It's an eight.


Lieven: There's just too much public on public transportation.


[laughter]


Joel: He may or may not have a driver as far as I know. He...


[laughter]


Chad: Well, he needs one apparently, because he was just stuck in traffic. And that's a bunch of wasted time.


Lieven: Over two hours. My commute is two hours.


Joel: Geez.


Lieven: Yeah, I know.


Chad: Your commute? Is that normal? Two-hour commute?


Lieven: Yeah. Normally, it should be one hour and 40.


Joel: You shouldn't have bought a country house so far away from the city. You should live in some two-bedroom apartment with the rest of the commoners.


Chad: With a garden and a pool and a tree house.


[laughter]


Lieven: Who told you?


[laughter]


Joel: The helicopter was out of service.


Lieven: Anyway, it's topics.


Joel: Helicopter was out of service.


Lieven: Topics.


[laughter]


Chad: I think we have shoutouts first.


Lieven: I have shoutouts. Shoutouts.


Joel: Shoutouts.


[laughter]


Chad: I got it, I got it. I gotta do this one first. Shoutout. I got a message over the weekend from Adam Gordon and he's doing his damnedest to try to make me watch rugby. Now, Ireland did defeat South Africa this week, so big props to the Irish. But they got beat by... The Irish did get beat by Ohio State, by the way, in college football. But at the end of the day, you just cannot compare, and people try to all the time, rugby with NFL football. Never the two shall come together, shall cross. So, Adam, I appreciate you love your rugby, but I'm gonna stick with my American football.


Joel: Yeah. Rugby.


[laughter]


Lieven: As someone who's living in a country which isn't interested in rugby nor in American football, rugby is without the helmet and the medieval protection and American football is like...


Joel: Medieval protection. Yes. The battle ax...


Chad: The armor.


Joel: And the strong bows.


Lieven: So basically...


Chad: Mason Morningstar. Yeah.


Joel: I do respect that rugby...


Lieven: So basically...


Joel: Players aren't all dead. There's a gentleman's agreement that they don't kill each other and there's an inside rule thing of like if you hurt somebody, you're gonna be... It's kinda like the baseball, you hit us, we're gonna hit you back twice as hard. So I do respect the level of gentleman behavior in rugby. I think I would like it if I embraced it. Adam should focus his energy on making the meat head of the podcast between you and me. I'm more likely to engage with rugby than you are, Chad.


Chad: But it's like cricket. It's like a worst version of baseball, right?


Joel: No. No.


Chad: Rugby is a worst version of the American football.


[overlapping conversation]


Joel: That's not cricket. You like the finesse sports and the positions.


Chad: No, no, no. My my point is they try to run parallels. Cricket, baseball, no parallels. Cricket sucks. Then rugby and American football, to me, again, it's a taste, it's something that I enjoy. My taste is American football. I just think rugby sucks.


Joel: Lieven, break the tie. Rugby or soccer or football?


Chad: He doesn't care.


Lieven: I don't care. But actually, I think if I just hear it like this, rugby is for men and American football is with a helmet on and "Don't you hurt me," and the shoulder, Epaulette, we call it in French, like the shoulder protection.


Joel: Yeah. I do love the European sentiment that football players are weak, scrawny dudes. I challenge any European to get hit by a 380-pound lineman at full speed and tell me how...


Chad: And runs faster than all of us.


Joel: Yeah. And tell me how feminine the sport is.


Chad: I'm gonna go ahead and make this real easy for all Europeans. If, if Europeans and rugby was so hard and their athletes were so damn good, they would get paid more by being in the NFL, number one. The only people we see in the NFL who have crossed over and they make more money, by the way, are punters.


Joel: That's true.


Lieven: Are what?


Chad: Punters.


Joel: Kickers. Yeah.


Chad: The ones who stand and they kick the ball and they hardly ever get hit. Those are the Europeans and Australians who are so tough. You don't see running backs. You don't see offensive linemen. You don't see linebackers. You don't see any of them who would get more money. And if they were such great athletes, they would get more money in the NFL, but they're not.


Joel: And by the way, the fact that not every Mr. Universe or these dudes who lift weights all day aren't playing football...


[laughter]


Chad: Throwing cables.


[laughter]


Joel: I don't know where that disconnect happens, but why football scouts aren't going to Mr. Universe competitions and strong man competitions and recruiting these guys to be on a line somewhere. Yeah, I don't know.


Chad: Dude, it's not easy. That's why.


Joel: I know it's not easy. But these guys have a headstart. Holy shit, we're off on a tangent here. Alright, so...


Chad: My bad. It's Adam Gordon's bad, actually.


Joel: Yeah, it's Adam Gordon's.


Chad: It's your fault, Adam.


Joel: Fucking Scots, man, always fuck everything up. Alright...


Joel: Scottish. All the time.


Joel: I'm gonna bring this back to a gay wedding. How about that? So my shoutout...


Chad: Okay!


Joel: My shoutout goes to Molly and Martina. Molly is my niece I know very well. It's my sister's daughter. So Christmas is holidays. I've known her since birth. This isn't some distant cousin or niece somewhere in another state. So Molly and Martina got married this weekend. This is my first gay wedding that I've ever been to. We talk a lot on the show, Chad, about lack of progress, nothing's changing, we're moving backwards, all of which are relevant based on whatever context we're throwing out there. But when you go to a gay wedding and you see two people who love each other, you see, regardless of man, woman, whatever, love is love.


Joel: These people are happy. They have every chance as heterosexual people do to be as miserable in marriage as everyone else. Shoutout to Molly and Martina, proof that there is some progress, there is some change in the world. However, Chad, something that will not change, my ability to do dances that were popular back in the '80s. We're talking the Running Man. We're talking the Kid 'n Play. We're talking the Cabbage Patch. They were all out on display for the young people at the wedding and they were very impressed, obviously. Some of them may have gotten on camera. I don't know. If you're connected to me on Facebook, there may be some visual treats coming soon. [laughter]


Chad: Save us, Lieven. Save us with your shoutout, please.


Lieven: I just wonder, were you the drunk uncle, Joel?


Joel: Oh my God. Okay. Yes.


Lieven: Every wedding in Europe needs a drunk uncle.


Joel: I was not, but I got to tell you about the guy who was. Alright, so a guy shows up with a mullet. That was the first like, he's going to be the guy.


Chad: Well, and this is in Indiana, right?


Lieven: Which means?


Joel: Louisville, Southern Indiana, yes. By the way, a gay wedding in Indiana isn't like a gay wedding in Oregon. It's a little bit more of a purple squirrel. But anyway, my man showed up in a royal blue shirt with some green pants. He had a really blonde hair, Chad. You know the kind that like bleaches the shit with Clorox? Mullet...


Chad: Yes. Yeah, yeah.


Joel: And I was like, "This dude, this is the guy. This is the guy." So sure enough, a couple hours into the show, the shirt gets unbuttoned. Oh yeah. The shirt's unbuttoned, untucked, okay. He's giving everybody a hug, giving high fives. He's doing the whole, that thing. And then towards the end of the night, a couple hours later, he's showing around an empty bottle of Maker's Mark. And I'm like, "What? Why?" Well, he was bragging that he had consumed the entire bottle of Maker's Mark to everyone. And he was dancing with the Maker's Mark, shirt unbuttoned, mullet blowing in the wind. That was not me leaving. I was classing it up with my Running Man to Vanilla Ice, but this guy...


Chad: You're just giving Lieven more bumpkin ammunition right now.


Lieven: It could have been you, Joel.


Joel: Full disclosure, Chad...


Lieven: It could have been you. It sounds like you.


Chad: Chad, you and I both, and who we married to some degree are all backwoods, like there are elements of that in all of our families. So full disclosure...


Chad: Oh, easily, yes. Oh, easily.


Joel: Yeah. So we are Americans, Lieven. We're not caste system, royalty, European, like some of the people on this podcast. We are the riff-raff and the bumpkins of the world.


Lieven: Riff-raff, oh nice.


Joel: And this is what you get, man.


Lieven: Joel, I promise if you ever gay marry, I'll be there.


[music]


Lieven: Especially for you, I'll be coming to Indiana to join your gay wedding.


Joel: I hope to God my wife isn't listening to this show 'cause I'm gonna have some explaining to do based on that comment, Lieven. Thanks.


Chad: She's Canadian. She's very tolerant.


Lieven: She's open-minded, of course. I mean...


Joel: She's tolerant to a point. She may draw a line in that one.


Chad: Lieven, shoutout. Save us, Lieven. Save us.


Lieven: Okay. Back to serious business. My shoutout goes to Meta for launching a new AI chatbot actually this week. It was announced they're going to launch it this week. And they're focusing on young people using 27 different personas. So I read the article and I thought, okay, normally you go to Facebook to talk to your friends, but if you don't have any friends, Facebook is providing 27 different virtual friends, which is so sad. I mean, why would someone young go to Facebook to talk to a virtual chatbot, knowing it's a virtual chatbot? I mean, it doesn't make any sense at all. So I...


Chad: Have you seen the movie, Her?


Lieven: No, but it sounds like Joel's wedding. No.


SFX: Hasn't anyone noticed this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!


Lieven: No.


Joel: I'm sorry, I need to back this up. So we're shouting out the creation of 27 fake personas on Facebook being launched?


Lieven: Yeah, yeah. And...


Chad: Fake friends.


Joel: And this is the company that's doing this?


Lieven: Facebook is doing this. They're launching a chatbot with 27 different personas. So if you want to talk to a surfer dude you can. So if you're really sad and feeling lonely, you can. And that's actually the whole idea. You can go to Facebook and talk to someone with a personality you want at that point. But I think it's utterly depressing if you read it. If this is the future, I don't wanna be part of it.


Joel: Now, if it was Only Fans launching this, would you feel the same way?


Lieven: That would be something totally different.


SFX: Alright, alright, alright.


[laughter]


Lieven: Of course. But it's not. It's Meta.


[laughter]


Joel: Oh my God.


Chad: Maybe Meta will be at UNLEASH in Paris and we can talk to them about this. I would really enjoy that. That's right, kids. We're gonna be in Paris in October. Go to unleash.ai to see when that's actually happening. If you're in Europe, you should definitely be there. Stop by. Chad and Cheese are gonna be somewhere, somewhere. More than likely we're gonna be at the Textkernel booth at least on day one, but we're gonna be bopping around all over the place.


Lieven: And there are plenty of bridges, so under the bridge somewhere on day three, next to the Seine. But it's Paris, and Paris is nice, even if you have to endure an HR Congress for it. It's nice.


[laughter]


Joel: Oh my God. I'll save us this time.


S?: Topics, finally.


Joel: Alright.


Lieven: Finally.


Joel: Uber's top executive in Europe, Annabel Diaz, has cautioned that the Brussels' plan to classify gig workers as de facto employees could lead to the shutdown of Uber's services in hundreds of European cities and result in price increases of up to 40%, a 50%-70% reduction in work opportunities and longer waits for riders like Chad and Lieven when they're in Europe. The proposed EU legislation aims to grant giggers the rights of full-time employees by default, potentially changing the current self-employed status of many platform workers currently in Europe. Despite industry concerns, EU officials argue that such rules aim to ensure fair treatment and protection for gig workers. Chad, what are your thoughts on the news out of Europe and Uber?


Chad: So, from The Financial Times, Nicholas Schmit, the EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social rights said, "This is about establishing clear criteria and looking at the facts. If the platform is in fact an employer, then the people working for it are entitled to the same rights and protections as workers in the offline world." So if a company can't provide basic benefits while providing a living wage, it's not a company at all. If a government can't allow its citizens to choose between full-time employee work and side hustle status, well then you're doing it wrong. I see the answer is in the middle here. It's more of like a gray area that they're not having conversations around and allowing side hustlers who don't need additional benefits to select they are Ubering as a side hustle, and those who are using it as an FTE, their only source of income or their main source of income, there should be benefits that are attached to that. To me, it seems like we're having a black or white discussion and there's nobody meeting in the middle for this kind of option at least.


S?: That escalated quickly.


Joel: So the one thing we have to compare it to here from the US is there's a California law a couple years ago that started called Prop 22 that essentially resulted in, after an appeal, that contract workers would continue to be contract workers, they were not gonna be full-time employees, which was a win, and still is a win for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and all the other gig platforms. One of the big differences in America and Europe is healthcare. And one of the big arguments in terms of Americans being full-time employees is that there are usually benefits in terms of healthcare that come with that that contract workers do not get. If you're a contract worker, you're pretty much on your own in America. Europe is unique in that you get healthcare as a citizen. So even as a gigger or a full-time employee, you get healthcare.


Joel: And if that's the big sort of hurdle as to whether somebody should be a full-time employer or not, if you take healthcare out of the equation, I agree with Chad that it becomes a gray area of like, well, does it really matter because we're taking care of people from a healthcare's perspective? I assume retirement and all those things are also on the table in Europe, whether you're a contract worker or you're a full-time employee. I think that labor unions have a major concern with the gig economy. I think the more contract workers there are, the less union members there are, and the less union members there are, the less member dues that come in, the less power that union has. And by and large, unions are more powerful in Europe than they are in America. We're seeing that kind of play out with the Auto Workers Union here in town.


Joel: I think it's a little... It's equally unfair to say if you wanna be a contractor, you wanna work when you wanna work, you wanna live the life you wanna live, you can't do that. You have to be a full-time employee. I think that's almost as unfair as saying you can't be a full-time employee or you can or can't. I tend to land on the freedom of choice. If you're gonna get healthcare anyway as a European citizen, I say it's even more so right for you as a worker to say, "I wanna be a contractor," or "I wanna be a full-time employee." I would like to see this fall on the side of the contract workers. I would like to see this fall on the side of Uber. And it's not about wait times. It's not about the number of of cars that I can get in Manchester next time I come to town. I think a lot of people do wanna work on their time clock, when they do what days they want, they wanna work as much or as little as as they please. I hope this goes contractor. We'll pay attention to it. But, yeah, I tend to lean on the side of freedom on this one.


Lieven: That's actually a very interesting point of view from a European standpoint, I mean.


Joel: How so?


Lieven: We feel like if you're paying them like employees without giving them the benefits employees get, those people are getting screwed. But you are totally right. I mean, they get healthcare and if they choose to do a job like that, it should be their choice. Then again, problem is I feel most of the people who are doing this for a living don't have much choice. These are the only jobs they get. And then there is a problem. It's totally different if you are like a student and you're saying, "I'm gonna side hustle a bit to get some extra money to go out," then you have healthcare, you have insurance, you have probably a whole future ahead of you because you're a student. But if you are 40 years old and you have a migration background and you have to drive around with your bike earning 10 Euros an hour without getting any employee benefits, then you are totally screwed.


Lieven: So in Europe, this is... I don't think it's the same system like it's in the United States. And when I read the article, I thought, basically the people from Uber say, "If you are forced to treat our workers decently, we will have to close down shop." That's what they're saying. "If you make us pay them decently, we'll have to close down." So I looked into it and I thought, but what if they're right? What if they actually have to close down because they don't make enough money out of it? Then there is something fundamentally wrong with the whole delivery system. And then this is just a business which have to close down. If it's true what they're saying, then this is just not sustainable. Or you have some students working for you and that's okay. But you can't force full-time employees to work for something like this.


S?: Right.


Lieven: And then it's a problem of the system. And I totally agree that Europe should intervene, but I totally agree with Joel as well. And I think this is something you can't just compare Europe with America with. It's totally different mindsets.


Chad: No.


Lieven: It's interesting.


Chad: And again, I think it's in the gray area because you're 100% right, we're talking about... I don't care about flexibility. I'm talking about the amount of hours that you work, right? Are you a full-time employee? You can choose your own hours. That has nothing to do with it. Are you working 30-40 hours a week? Right? The big question for me is, and I think you might be able to answer this much better than we can, Lieven, is how taxes actually get paid into the system to ensure that you're supporting that healthcare infrastructure versus being a contractor or FTE. And I think that, and I could be wrong, but let me know, that most of these governments are saying that companies are getting away without having to pay into the system, to pay into the infrastructure, because of this. It's almost like a loophole, right? And they want them to pay into the system because, again, you guys care about your entire citizenry, not just the ones who have jobs.


Lieven: Yeah, true. And the problem is the whole contractor thing, I mean, I'm a contractor, the whole top management of most companies are people working as an entrepreneur, they call it, independently, because they have some kind of, I'm not sure what the name is in English, their own company...


Chad: Contract?


Lieven: And they just send bills to. But those people make lots of money and then they can get their own insurance. They can have their own pension funds. They take care of themself. And the only reason why they do it like this is because they don't have to pay that much taxes. They can optimize everything. This is why top management in Europe is having their own company just to optimize taxes. Let's be fair about this. Otherwise, in Europe, you're being taxed to death. I mean, you have 55% taxes. It's just unfair. But, okay. The problem is, if you don't get the money to pay your own insurance and you don't get the money to pay your own car and your own whatever, then you have a problem with this kind of statutes.


Chad: Yeah, the numbers don't align.


Joel: Lieven, how do you think it would... How would it play out if you could choose, let a worker choose if they wanna be full-time or contract? How would that work?


Lieven: To be honest, if you don't make 500 Euros a day, you'll have to be employee, or they should choose that. Then again, for me, for example, I like it having a client instead of a boss. I mean, if you're independent, you sent a bill, you have a client, and if your client is unreasonable, that's something totally different. And having a boss, I would never be unreasonable...


Chad: Yeah, but you're not driving Ubers though.


Lieven: Of course not. [laughter] No, no, but indeed it's a different system. I was thinking about in Belgium, and I don't think it's the same in all European countries. In Belgium, we have something called flex jobs, meaning if you already have a job like four out five days working, you can take a flex job on the side which will allow you not to pay any taxes or... Yeah, I really think it's not any taxes at all. And you can make some extra by working more, because we need workers. We have a lack of workers. And this is a very good way to work for Uber, for example. But then you have the benefits from your full-time job, from the other job, and you have your pension and you have everything being arranged for you and you make some more money, which is nice. But if you have to get a life out of the 10 Euros an hour, sorry, no way.


Joel: But I did not know that upper management were contractors. Did you, Chad?


Chad: Country to country. I think that differs from country to country. But yeah, I didn't know that about Belgium. No.


Joel: Look at them taking advantage of the loopholes.


S?: 60% of the time, it works every time.


Lieven: That's a fact.


Joel: Alright, let's take a quick break and we'll play Buy or Sell. Alright guys, who's up for a little buy or sell? You know how the game works. We mention four companies. It's usually three. We did four 'cause we had an extra one. We read a summary and each of us will buy or sell each startup. Are you guys ready to play?


Chad: Yep.


Joel: Buy or sell. Alright, number one, London-based Workfree has secured $400,000 in pre-seed funding. The platform aims to streamline freelance hiring by eliminating traditional high commissions for freelancers and relying on a community-vetted talent network to enhance trust and quality assurance. Freelancers, community advisors and non-institutional investors collectively own 25% of the company, which says it will support over 10,000 freelancers and 100 paying clients by the end of 2024. Chad, are you a buy or sell on Workfree?


Chad: All of this sounds great. And since Workfree is focusing on specific talent communities like digital agencies and tech companies, they might just have a chance 'cause they're really being incredibly focused, and then they can broaden that TAM later as they start to get traction. But I'm just not close enough to understand the market's appetite for another freelancing platform with only an estimated 7.2 million people in the UK who are identifying as gig workers. And then when you are successful, where do you expand to? Europe, as we've learned through this podcast, is not easy to expand from country to country to country, right? There are huge obstacles going from the UK into Europe. And I mean, the UK's not even a part of the EU right now. So for all of those reasons, unfortunately, it's a sell.


Joel: Alright. I was totally confused by this whole 25% of the company owned by the freelancers, the community advisors. Who the fuck are these people? The institutional... Like this whole...


Chad: Advisors?


Joel: Decentralized movement, this blockchain, nobody owns this shit, crypto craziness that goes around, I'm gonna lump these guys in that same, just hallucination that this company isn't owned by anybody, it's owned by the people that use it. Like, fuck off, man. Look, this company is totally BS. Like Chad said, it's a smokescreen to make you forget the fact that they're competing with these huge businesses that are established and profitable with these kinds of workers. Freelancers have many places that they already know about by telling them that, "Hey, you'll own part of this company. Come over to us, use us." And then five years from now when the company's out of business and your ownership of the company is worthless, then you'll be like, "Why the fuck did I get on this bus?" So for me, this is too much risk, too much competition. This is an easy one for me. This is a sell.


Chad: That's surprising. [laughter]


Lieven: I think you Americans can't handle the whole idea of a community-driven company.


S?: I'm happy.


[laughter]


Chad: An open source, yes.


Lieven: In fact, there are many companies like that in Europe. In France, for example, you have those winemakers, and they have all their own vineyards, but they buy the machinery they need to produce their wine together and it's called... But it actually works. And you have the same with farmers who are in dairy. That's the name, dairy, yes? Milk?


Chad: Dairy. Yep.


Lieven: And then they... Yeah. I think those are just very modern and you're not ready for it. I would buy, but I already have shares in Fiverr and they're not doing very well and I'm not going to do something like that again. So, no.


S?: No! God!


Lieven: It's a sell, but I do like the idea and I think you Americans are not ready for it.


S?: No! God, please, no! No! No!


[laughter]


Joel: I love that we aren't open-minded enough. And he's mentioning thousand-year-old businesses around wine and dairy. [laughter] We're so not progressive. Let's get on the dairy trend, everybody.


Lieven: Yep.


Chad: I wanna get on the wine trend. I like that.


Joel: Our second contender, Berlin-based HR tech startup, Kenjo, has raised 8.8 million Euros in a Series A funding round to expand its HR and employee engagement software solutions targeting SMBs and Latin America expansion. The startup supports efforts around attendance, shift planning and recruitment among others while remaining compliant focused on businesses, industrial service and commercial sectors. Chad, are you a buy or sell on Kenjo?


Chad: If you're not Personio and you have hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and you're going after SMB market, I think you have little chance. Secondarily, if you are in Germany, France and Benelux currently, and you are taking this money to expand into Latin America, Latin America, not the rest of Europe, but Latin America, okay? [laughter] If you wanna move into Latin America, do it organically through your portfolio and wallet share growth, not new funding. This, to me, there was nothing that I saw in this organization and their go-to-market that I would ever get behind. So easy enough. Sell, sell, fucking sell.


SFX: Take off dude, we're doing our movie. Don't wreck our show, you hoser.


Joel: Alright. Unlike Chad, I like Pilotfish. I like surfers that are on really great waves that may be mediocre surfers. Now, Personio is the apex predator, and we will talk about a few others in Buy or Sell, I believe, going forward. But look, I love Latin America. Money's moving out of China. Money's moving over into locations closer to the US where shipping and things can be shipped more easily and efficiently to America. I'm only mad that it's not American companies that are taking over South America. How on earth are we letting German companies come over and invest in South America? It should be us doing it. So I love emerging markets, Africa, South Asia, and I also love these guys, which makes this one for me...


[music]


Joel: A buy. That's right.


Chad: What do you know about the SMB market in LatAm?


Joel: I once bought some Mexican candy in Cabo.


Chad: That's what I thought. That's what I thought. Okay, carry on. Carry on. Carry on.


[chuckle]


Joel: The Brazilian market's blowing up, Chad. Come on. Everyone knows that.


Chad: Yeah. 'Cause they speak Portuguese. Carry on.


Lieven: Is it me now? Alright. So basically, to follow Chad, I don't know anything about South America, but I feel if a company is investing 8.8 million in Kenjo, they must have done their due diligence much better than I have and I trust them and I follow. If a serious company is investing 8.8 million of their own money, who am I to go against that? And I'll just try to walk behind them and get something out of it. For me, it's a buy just because I don't know anything about them. I'll follow those who do.


S?: Alright, alright, alright.


Joel: He's a follower, everybody. That's our Lieven. We love him. Netherlands-based... Sorry. Let's get to our next startup. We got a little bit off-track there. Netherlands-based Recrubo has secured 600,000 euros in a seed funding round. Recrubo promises to simplify job applications using WhatsApp and AI, streamlining the process for candidates and employers. The platform is already serving companies like Sodexo and aims to help five million career entrants over the next five years. Chad, are you a buy or sell on Recrubo?


Chad: Recrubo. [laughter] Recrubo. Okay. So all of the conversational AI players that have been in the space for more than five minutes already integrate with WhatsApp. I think this is bad timing. Everybody's getting into the generative AI space and they wanna try to find their niche. There's way too much noise and there are way too many veterans in this space who survived. The ones who already got kicked out, ALIO, the Mayas, those, we were able to learn from them. So I think it's just bad timing for Recrubo right now. It's a sell.


Joel: Alright, let's get back to my Pilotfish commentary. [laughter] This too is a Pilotfish. If Paradox is the great white shark ready to eat most of the market share, there's certainly gonna be some left for the pilot fish out there that are serving up the crumbs from the predator that they are enjoying the ride. So for me, yes, you had Maya and many others. Zoro we haven't heard from in a while. Are they still around? Anyway, I don't know. Maybe these guys learn from the sins of the father. They've done a lot cheaper. Certainly, the amount they've taken, can you turn 600,000 into six million? Yes, I think that you can and if that is your calculus for success, then this too for me...


SFX: Alright, alright, alright.


Joel: Is a buy.


Chad: Cheesman's on a buying spree.


Lieven: Yeah. Alright. And I've been stuck in traffic and I'm a bit grumpy and I'm not buying. But anyways, I don't know anything about South America, but I do know the Netherlands. And I don't know Recrubo, which isn't a good thing. So if we didn't buy 'em, then we must have had a very good reason not to because normally, if it's good and it's in the Netherlands, we buy it. And with me, I mean House of HR.


[laughter]


Lieven: So that isn't really speaking up for them. And I looked at their site and it says, "Recrubo's AI recruitment solution ensures that your vacancies are always felt." This is bullshit. Yeah. And so it's a sell.


Chad: Bullshit.


Lieven: I mean, even we can't ensure your vacancies are always felt, almost always, of course, but not always. So no, no Recrubo for me.


Joel: Alright. I'm feeling really lonely on this buy or sell episode. Let's see if we can all come into agreement on the next one. Another Netherlands-based recruitment platform, Heyu Works, Heyu Works, that's the name of the company, has partnered with Otto Holding, receiving a significant yet unnamed amount investment to support growth. Heyu Works matches professionals with companies based on personality and skills assessments. Over 4,500 professionals have joined with plans to double this year and potentially reach 35,000 by 2024. Chad, I dare you to get the Pink Floyd classic out of your head and buy or sell Heyu...


Chad: Yes. Or...


Joel: Standing...


Chad: Hey Jude. I'm a big fan of the funding because it's coming from Otto, and since they could be a great option for portfolio penetration and then the prospect of acquisition, I like this a lot. Heyu says they would, or they want to use the undisclosed amount of cash to take their current candidate user base from 4,500-9,000. That was pretty telling. As a closer partner with Otto, she would explode their candidate in client base dramatically. So with those projections, it doesn't seem like Otto will be giving anything more than just cash to burn. So for me, that, again, it's a sell. If you're going to focus on driving numbers that matter, then yes, but these numbers just don't matter.


Joel: Yeah. Alright. How do you say plum in Dutch is my question?


[laughter]


Chad: Don't you dare compare these guys to plum. Don't you dare!


Joel: Let me keep going. Alright. So the website says, "Heyu helps you find out more about yourself and your career." Maybe this is some warm and fuzzy European shit. But I was confused by this because this isn't a business-to-business solution where you say, "Okay, take your candidates, give them assessment, let 'em know how they did and put 'em in your database." This was more of... To me, this is more of a LinkedIn job board style like, "Hey, do your assessment, we'll tell you about yourself, where your strong parts are, points are, where you're weak." And then do they transfer that data into job postings? It looks like they're trying to sell the data to companies that come in like as pre-assessed. So are they taking on LinkedIn? Are they becoming a job board? Is this the hook to get people to apply to jobs? I don't know. I was really, really confused. I think some of it is lost in translation. Look, unless this undisclosed amount of money was a $100 million-plus, they're not gonna be able to scale this to a ton of consumers to make it relevant.


Chad: No.


[laughter]


Joel: So for me, this was a pretty easy...


S?: Hasn't anyone noticed this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!


Joel: Pretty easy sell for me. Lieven?


Lieven: I agree. I like the idea of taking a test and having a different way of doing job matching just by saying what's interesting to me and which kind of, whatever you like. But there are just so many companies doing the same thing. We have 40... No. 53 companies within the group, and I think at least 10 of them are doing something similar, but they all have different suppliers. So there's just too much competition on this market to become really big, I think. And now with AI, there soon will be a whole new kind of matching, I feel. And this will be outdated before it's making me money, so I'm not going to buy it.


[laughter]


Lieven: Sorry, Heyu. Sorry. If we bought you recently, then I take my words back.


Joel: That's three sells. And I apologize, plum. I apologize. Just for that, I'm gonna play this sound bite just for you.


SFX: Can you feel the tension in the air right now?


Chad: I can feel the tension after that.


SFX: I can feel it all the down...


[overlapping conversation]


Lieven: Plum is kind of a fruit right? Plum?


Joel: Yes.


Chad: Yes.


Lieven: It's plum in Dutch.


Joel: Good to know. Good to know.


Chad: Plum.


[overlapping conversation]


Joel: It can also be used as iconography around body parts. I'll just leave it at that. And that is...


Lieven: In Dutch as well. In Dutch as well, but I wasn't going to say so. but indeed. Yeah, it's in...


Chad: Allow the bumpkins to do it for you.


Lieven: I think the wedding you went to would be enthusiastic about it.


[music]


Joel: That's right. Okay, gang. That is another round of Buy or Sell. Quite a bit of disagreement this time. But it's always fun doing that. Alright, let's get to our last news story. Munich-based Personio is expanding its presence in the US by opening an office in New York City.


[music]


Joel: That's right. That's right. They plan to double the US workforce by the end of 2023 by double. The company valued at $8.5 billion, currently has 40 employees in the US and intends to hire across various departments. Bodhi Mukherjee, former engineering director at Google, has been hired as the vice president of engineering and will lead the New York office. While Personio aims to tap into the US talent pool, the company says it remains committed to serving European SMEs and is considering an IPO possibly in 2024. Founded in 2015, the company employs 1,903 people. Chad, your thoughts on Personio coming to America. And please pronounce Bodhi's name if it's much better than how I would pronounce it.


Chad: No, I don't want to because that's the funniest shit. Mukherjee. I love it. I love it. I would call him Mukherjee from now on...


S?: Hi, papi.


[laughter]


Chad: So earlier this year, Personio changed its legal form, which allows companies to carry out business activities more easily throughout the EU and member states, obviously also looking to target the US. I think this is incredibly telling and awesome. Last week on the Friday show, we talked about hiring. Companies like Salesforce and Facebook and a lot of companies are actually trying to get some of that talent back that they laid off 'cause they over-hired and then they overlaid off and now they're trying to get the boomerangs back. This is where Personio goes in and says, "Fuck those guys. You come work for us."


Chad: Tech layoffs, sales layoffs, customer service layoffs, these brands who will have a national footprint, I think this is the perfect time, perfect time for Personio to come to the US 'cause there is so much fucking amazing talent that just got chopped for no fucking reason. And guess what, kids? You're gonna have a great German company. I think this will be probably one of the best invasion stories we're going to see from Personio.


S?: Alright, alright, alright.


Joel: Look, I think we should pat ourselves on the back a little bit. We kind of called this Personio, HiBob, job and talent growth coming to America influence. I think we should pat ourselves on the back a little bit for calling that. But look, while we talk about oyster on the weekly podcast as well, Chad, some of the bigger unicorns in the US are, if not floundering, challenged to say the least. So to see this story by Personio, to talk about HiBob on the weekly show, some of these European countries across the pond are really crushing it and I think it's a ton of fun to look at. I know quite a few, and I think Chad, you do as well, people in the industry that are looking for new opportunities. Either they're unhappy with what they're currently doing or they've been laid off, or they're at threat of being laid off.


Joel: Take a look at these companies. They're hiring, they're looking to grow and they're clearly doing something right on many, many fronts. My question is, if they're gonna go IPO, come on, man. One of you guys buy Monster or CareerBuilder, or just do it. Just one of you guys...


Chad: Don't do it.


Joel: The Germans at Personio need to go down to Randstad...


Chad: Don't do it.


Joel: They need to write a check...


Chad: Don't do it.


Joel: And get Monster. 'Cause they're a sourcing tool. They could do sourcing, Monster, the whole thing, dude, and go public with Monster in the portfolio. Come on. Come on, do it. Give it to me, Personio.


Chad: Don't do it.


Joel: Give it to me. Come on.


Chad: Don't do it.


Joel: Please.


[laughter]


Lieven: The only reason why I would not buy Personio is if they bought Monster. Come on. Seriously.


[laughter]


Chad: I'm with you...


Lieven: Who would be... Okay, I'm not supposed to be talking about Monster now. We're talking about Personio. But I think in this case, the Germans...


SFX: Just the tip.


Lieven: Are right to take a shot at America. Someone has to tell you how it's supposed to be done. And I like that their website, they offer 50%, how do you say it, discount to nonprofit organizations. So that's so, so nice of them. So it's a buy. And also because they're going for an IPO and I think that's where the big money is. So if you buy now, then we could make something more.


Chad: So do you think in 2024, we're gonna see some successful IPOs in this space? In our space?


Lieven: StepStone has been announcing their IPO in 2022 and still fine. I didn't hear anything about it anymore, but they were supposed to go IPO in 2023. I can imagine the market isn't exactly right now, but if the situation in Ukraine is stabilizing, then suddenly there will be lots of interest for IPOs, I'm sure. And the market is ready. There's so much money. But people are a bit... They have cold feet about investing it right now. So it's just becoming more and more money and it needs to find a way. IPO is a big idea. But we'll see. We'll see. I go for Personio.


Joel: Well, the podcast where there are never cold feet, that is The Chad and Cheese Podcast's Europe. That's another one in the can, boys. Fun as always. We out.


Chad: We out.


Lieven: We out.


[music]


Lieven: I didn't get a call from one candy, not one.


[laughter]


Chad: No, no call from a candy?


Lieven: No candy at all. No.


[laughter]


Lieven: I mean, candy, candy, candy, I can't let you go. I mean, if I don't have a candy, I can't let her go. Oh, well.


Joel: We out.


Lieven: We out.


[laughter]


OUTRO: Wow. Look at you. You made it through an entire episode of the The Chad and Cheese Podcast, or maybe you cheated and fast-forward it to the end. Either way, there's no doubt you wish you had that time back, valuable time you could've used to buy a nutritious meal at Taco Bell, enjoy a pour of your favorite whiskey, or just watch big booty Latinas and bug fights on TikTok. No, you hung out with these two chuckle heads instead. Now go take a shower and wash off all the guilt, but save some soap because you'll be back like an awful train wreck, you can't look away. And like Chad's favorite western, you can't quit them either. We out.

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