Swingvy raises $1.1M to give HR staff in Southeast Asia a break from paperwork

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Human resources paperwork is never fun to take care of—especially if it’s literally on paper. Swingvy co-founder Jin Choeh says that in Southeast Asia, many small businesses are still stuck with physical spreadsheets and piles of forms. Swingvy wants to help them with affordable cloud-based HR software. The South Korea and Malaysia-based startup just raised $1.1 million in seed funding to grow its customer base.

The round’s lead investors are Big Basin Capital and Walden International. Swingvy has a full set of features, including onboarding new employees, managing leave requests and processing payroll and expense reports.

The company launched its software-as-a-service in October in Malaysia and Singapore and plans to enter Indonesia next. It claims over 1,000 companies have signed up so far.

Before co-founding Swingvy, Choeh was a technical sales manager in Southeast Asia for AhnLab, a South Korean security software company. During that time, he saw that many small businesses still rely on legacy software or physical spreadsheets to handle HR tasks.

For example, if employees want to apply for days off, they often have to fill out paper forms which are then signed by their manager. This means that if a manager is on vacation, they might have to wait until he or she returns to have their leave granted. Payroll management can be contracted out to third-party agents, but then it can take up to five business days before paychecks are issued.

It’s difficult for many businesses to afford on-premises software, so Swingvy’s goal is to offer them a cheaper alternative that is accessible on mobile devices. Swingvy uses a freemium model—its core HR software is free and employers pay a subscription fee for features like automated payroll, bank integration and benefits management.

Choeh says that the SaaS market is increasing at a much faster rate in Southeast Asia than it is in the United States.

“The unit economics is smaller because we usually charge less than in the U.S., but we found that the growth rate is quite fast,” he adds.