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Kenya’s Workpay raises $2.7m to push expansion across Africa

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Workpay, a Kenyan HR payroll service provider, has raised $2.7 million in its Series A funding round. The YC-backed startup said it will use the funds to double its reach, expand to about 40 countries in Africa, and also release an API to enable, for instance, accounting firms to be payroll providers.

Aside pursuing an expansion, Workpay also said it will be launching other products like investment accounts, medical and asset insurance, and earned-wage access for emergencies or bills.

Workpay’s Series A funding round had participation from investment companies including Launch Africa, Saviu Ventures, Acadian Ventures, Proparco, Fondation Botnar, Kara Ventures, Axian, P1 Ventures and Norrsken.

Workpay was founded in 2019 by Paul Kimani (who also doubles as the CEO) and Jackson Kungu (COO). The startup was founded with the mission to 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. The startup also has tools that employers can use to also track and manage employees’ time and attendance, and leave days.

“On the tech side, we have integrated with nearly everyone who is processing payments to allow us to send money to as many countries in Africa as possible. Non-tech means we have established a presence in these countries, and have partners that allow us to be compliant, which is very important,” Kimani said.

Workpay, which raised $2.1 million seed funding in 2020, said it is also adding financial services on top of its HR and payroll platform including linkages to investment accounts, medical and asset insurance and earned-wage access for employees attending to emergencies or bills.

“We are a full-stack HR Payroll company, and we help employees to manage their people and pay them. And ours is a very neat platform that processes payrolls, and helps employers to be compliant. […] As an employer you are able to pay employees wherever they are, and in their preferred accounts — they don’t have to be forced to open accounts with specific banks just because the employer banks there — and file taxes too,” Kimani said.

Speaking on its growth, Workpay claims that its revenue growth and clientele have accelerated since the 2020 Covid-19 slowdown.

“Since 2021 we have been doubling revenue every year, and the number of our customers is nearing 700 as we speak. We also have about $200 million in total payroll value that we are handling for our customers annually,” Kimani said.

Commenting on the funding and partnership, Thomas Otter, general partner at Acadian Ventures, said:

“Workpay is building a top-notch product, meeting the specific needs for HR and payroll in Sub-Saharan Africa. The addressable market in the region is growing rapidly and HR and payroll systems provide the foundation for fair and accurate pay. When combined with advances in mobile payments, solutions like Workpay can have a positive impact on businesses and society.”

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When I'm not reading about tech, I'm writing about it, or thinking about the next weird food combinations to try. I do all these with my headphones plugged in, and a sticky note on my computer with the words: "The galaxy needs saving, Star Lord."
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