Bringing Enterprise To Southeast Asia, PayrollHero Raises $1MM

Starting a company in a developing country is difficult. Two of the biggest challenges are navigating the government bureaucracy and building a business without proper technical infrastructure. When we started TaskUs I was shocked by how businesses in the Philippines handled payroll. In the U.S. we got an account with ADP or Paychex, paid a monthly fee. Yes, it's that simple. In the Philippines, we hired two full-time people to manually calculate and file the infinite (at least that is what it felt like) number of forms and remittances with the government.

The Philippines are not unique in regard to counterintuitive payroll systems. Rather than using technology to automate a solution to a problem, you simply hire another person to focus on it solely. Labor is relatively inexpensive, so this mistake gets made repeatedly. The margin for error is huge and the headache of navigating the complexity of labor law in any country is often too much for anyone to bear.

I am thrilled by the emergence of a new class of companies which offer enterprise technology solutions that are specifically aimed at companies in developing nations. One of the quickly rising companies in this market is PayrollHero. PayrollHero is a comprehensive solution for time, attendance, scheduling and payroll in Southeast Asia. Today, PayrollHero announced a $1M CAD seed round of funding from 500 Startups, LX
, The Futura Corporation, 8capita Partners, Ryan Holmes (CEO of Hootsuite), Dan Martell (CEO of Clarity), Benjamin Joffe (aka Mr. Asia), Christian Cotichini (Founder of MAKE Technologies) and other angel investors. Disclosure: TaskUs uses (and loves) PayrollHero's software.

PayrollHero is based in Manila, Philippines and Whistler, Canada and offers a subscription-based cloud software platform that uses the employee's face and GPS location as the metric for clocking in and out. The result is complete transparency as the right employee is able to successfully check-in and out for their correct shift.

PayrollHero was created out of necessity by founders Michael Stephenson and Stephen Jagger. Like us, Stephenson and Jagger setup a Philippine outsourcing company and could not find a suitable time, attendance, scheduling and payroll solution. Unlike us, they decided to pursue a technical versus manual solution.

At TaskUs, our revenue and costs are inherently tied to employee time and attendance. Thus, accurate time tracking is a vital component of our operation. Today, PayrollHero offers the ability to seamlessly track employee productivity by the minute via a clever iPad application. Employees clock in and out with a photo program and managers approve time sheets. All data is implemented directly into our client billing and drives employee pay. All government mandated payroll deductions are handled automatically and employees get paid accurately and consistently on time.

I sat down with the PayrollHero's founders recently. CEO Michael Stephenson described how they started their business, "There was a really big opportunity in Southeast Asia for a time, attendance, scheduling and payroll solution that was in the cloud and built for web and mobile. We built PayrollHero and set out to become the market leader in this space."

To date, the company has enlisted a number of large call center clients like us and all Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf locations in the Philippines. I'm excited to watch their growth and eager to see other companies focus on this enterprise opportunity in emerging markets.