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

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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 New York-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 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’ 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.”

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