Startups

RemotePass, which helps companies onboard, manage, pay and retain remote workers, raises $5.5M

Comment

Image Credits: RemotePass

As remote work becomes increasingly prevalent, organizations globally are adapting, especially regarding onboarding procedures for new employees and navigating cross-border payment complexities. This new age of work has led to a surge in demand for startups that provide human resources (HR), payroll and compliance tools to help businesses hire remotely.

RemotePass, one such business out of the UAE, has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding led by Istanbul-based 212 VC. Other participating investors include Endeavor Catalyst, Khwarizmi Ventures, Oraseya Capital, Flyer One Ventures, Access Bridge Ventures, A15 and the Swiss Founders Fund.

CEO Kamal Reggad and Karim Nadi founded RemotePass in late 2020 to allow businesses to onboard, manage and pay their talent base in countries where they lack local legal presence. The platform, which serves a range of clients, from startups to large enterprises, including Spotify and Logitech, facilitates hiring contractors and full-time employees in more than 150 countries.

But RemotePass didn’t start with this premise. A year before launch, it was SafarPass, offering a SaaS platform for streamlining business travel and expense management through a dedicated app. The idea was to address the prevalent disarray in corporate travel, which happened to garner significant interest until the onset of the global pandemic.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Reggad revealed that as SafarPass encountered challenges, it became increasingly apparent that the pandemic would prolong business travel recovery. A shift in the market meant a pivot became inevitable. At the time, SafarPass, even before the pandemic, operated as a remote-first team comprising 18 employees across the UAE, Africa and Europe. As such, Reggad gained firsthand insight into the intricacies of managing a remote workforce and navigating associated payment hurdles, thus laying the groundwork for RemotePass.

“We had to deal with payment issues at the end of each month. With contract work, one wasn’t so sure about the compliance overall. We knew that if we’re having this problem being a six-month-old company, our clients might, as well,” commented Reggad. “If you look at the Middle East, for instance, there are different countries with their currency, laws and complexities regarding financial services and benefits. And we decided to build something enabling these companies to onboard pay and manage these team members easily.”

Image Credits: RemotePass

Seizing the opportunity provided by the pandemic as the world began to embrace remote working at scale, RemotePass grew 35% month over month for its first two years, primarily driven by client referrals. The CEO said the platform, which provides users with multiple payout options, grew 2x in revenue between 2022 and 2023. Customer and revenue growth was buoyed by $5.4 million in venture capital RemotePass secured before now, money it used to scale its platform to serve over 600 companies and 8,000 remote workers in emerging markets.

Several companies are actively facilitating remote work and aiding employees in receiving payments from employers. While industry giants like Deel (which today acquired Africa’s HR and payroll platform PaySpace) and Remote dominate a significant portion of the market share, RemotePass says it distinguishes itself by leveraging its expertise in emerging markets, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.

Reggad emphasizes RemotePass’s localized approach via its super app, whose features — such as dollar debit cards that enable users to hold funds in USD, mitigating risks associated with currency fluctuations and monthly health insurance benefits that extend to dependents — are tailored to the unique needs of end users in these markets. The Dubai-based startup works with third-party providers for its insurance product, and apart from an end-to-end contractor management platform, it also provides businesses with EoR services and relocation support.

“When our clients hire, they care about the remote workers. This is why they like what we offer in terms of financial services and benefits and giving these flexibilities to the remote workers,” said the chief executive, who worked in the U.S. as a systems engineer before returning to Morocco in 2011 to start Hmizate, a travel and shopping e-commerce site that eventually got sold. “At the end of the day, everything reflects to retention. If a contractor or full-time employee is happy and they have this ecosystem of services, they are happier and get to stick around longer.”

RemotePass generates revenue through a subscription model. The fee for engaging contractors is $40/month per active contractor. For companies hiring full-time employees, the subscription rates range from $350 to $699/month per employee, depending on the country and specific requirements for immigration and relocation services. While contractors and full-time employees currently need their employers on RemotePass, that may not remain the case for too long as the platform works toward creating access for end users independently, leading to a new revenue stream for the platform down the line.

With this growth capital, RemotePass’s focus is twofold. First, it’s intensifying efforts to enhance its product’s enterprise readiness. Second, it intends to onboard more businesses in Saudi Arabia, where it’s seen the most growth and double down with product localization.

“Witnessing RemotePass’s remarkable product growth and stellar customer service since early 2023 solidified our belief in their visionary team & business model,” Ali Hikmet Karabey, managing director at 212 VC, said in a statement. “Addressing today’s workforce challenges like talent mobility and remote work, RemotePass stands out as a key enabler. It connects companies seeking a broader talent pool with emerging market talents who previously lacked access to global financial solutions and processes. This disruption positions them as game-changers in the UAE & KSA, hubs poised for global dominance.”

Deel acquires Africa’s PaySpace, says it’s crossed $500M in ARR

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo