In Kenya, employers' payroll systems have been unable to keep up with the country's plan to fully adopt mobile money. Phone-based transactions now power the equivalent of 87% of Kenya’s GDP and have brought a globe-leading 96% of Kenyan households into the financial system, using only their phones–no bank account required.
However, most employees in the East African country experience payday via an analogue system: HR employees run payroll through ledgers and spreadsheets for a once-monthly employee payout— these processes are time-consuming and the funds are often delivered in cash. By providing a platform for SMBs to move payroll into the digital realm, Workpay is capitalising on a vastly underserved market in Kenya and throughout Africa.
"There was still no existing mobile-first payroll HR solution for the SMB market,' according to Paul Kimani, co-founder and CEO at Workpay, the Nairobi-based startup that offers a flexible suite of mobile-first HR tools, such as payroll processing to mobile wallets, biometric attendance tracking, and employee HR self-service portals.
Workpay has secured a $2.7 million pre-Series A round from Launch Africa, Saviu Ventures, Acadian Ventures, Proparco, Fondation Botnar, Kara Ventures, Axian, P1 Ventures, and Norrsken.
In 2020, the company previously raised $2.1 million in seed funding shortly after participating in Y Combinator's winter batch in the same year. Workpay was a beneficiary of Google's Black Founders Fund for Africa in 2021. Founded in 2019, Workpay offers tools that enable its clients to pay salaries in local currencies across Africa (and outside the continent through the startup’s partners), file taxes, and process employee benefits. Using its tools, employers are able to also track and manage employees’ time and attendance, and leave days.
"Since 2021 we have been doubling revenue every year and the number of our customers — who are nearing 700 as we speak. We also have about $200 million in total payroll value that we are handling for our customers annually," Workpay's co-founder and CEO, Paul Kimani, stated.
With this latest investment, the Kenya-based company intends to roll out its services in 40 countries in Africa. By delivering a mobile-first experience for payroll, Workpay is positioned to expand across Sub-Saharan Africa, which is already home to half the world’s mobile money services and continues to be a global leader in mobile payment transactions.
In November 2021, Workpay expanded into Nigeria. "The biggest challenge most businesses, especially in Kenya and Africa, have is when it comes to payroll payments," Workpay co-founder and CTO David Maina, stated. "Being able to automate that running of payroll and being able to pay out at once is one thing that keeps us going."
In addition, a timesheet app with GPS geofencing allows employees to clock in and out of work sites and sync with payroll.