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HR automation platform Omni aims to be the “tap of Southeast Asia” – londonbusinessblog.com

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Omni wants to be the human resources platform to rule them all, or at least all HR related tasks. The software enables HR teams to digitize employee records, automate administrative tasks such as employee onboarding and leave management, and integrate employee data from different systems. Based in Singapore, it currently operates there and in Indonesia, and plans to roll it out in other Southeast Asian markets after localization for labor regulations.

The startup announced today that it is coming out of stealth mode with $2.4 million in an oversubscribed pre-seed round co-led by Alpha JWC Ventures and Picus Capital, with participation from FEBE Ventures, Basis Set Ventures, Ratio Ventures and Frances Kang at Horizons Ventures. It also included investments from angel investors, including former executives at US HR software companies Namely and Ultimate Software.

Omni HR had its soft launch in March 2022 and is already being used by several companies, including Indonesian investment app Ajaib. The funding will be used to add more features to Omni, including a recruiting module by the third quarter and a performance improvement module by the end of the year.

The company was founded in 2021 by Brian Ip, a former Goldman Sachs president, and data engineer YC Chan. Ip told londonbusinessblog.com that he had previously worked in software investments at Goldman Sachs Growth Fund and looked at many HR tech deals, which is how he and Chan first learned about the industry.

“Through research and discussions with end users, we realized that HR software is a category that requires just as much localization and that there is no winning product yet for Southeast Asia,” said Ip, adding that most local solutions only address limited functions. such as payroll.

But most of the HR teams Chan and Ip spoke to wanted an all-in-one solution. Many still used spreadsheets or basic payroll software. Examples of work they did manually that can be automated by Omni include hiring new hires, recruiting employees, performance reviews, collecting documentation such as employee IDs, and preparing HR reports for internal use. management.

“From a strategic standpoint, what we think makes this startup opportunity even more interesting is that we don’t see HR software as a silo tool used only by the HR department,” Chan said. “Instead, we see it as a ‘system of record’ of employee information.”

Almost any app or business function within a company, including software, devices, office administration, and finance, can be connected to Omni, making it a software infrastructure layer.

In terms of competition, Chan said he sees two categories: local payroll software and software imported from abroad. He added that this drawback of payroll software is that they only provide basic management features around payroll and are not scalable. They also lack performance review, recruiting, onboarding, and employee document management features.

Imported HR software, on the other hand, isn’t localized, meaning they lack features like payroll modules for Southeast Asian countries, local customer support, and “sometimes even modules like leave tracking or attendance management that aren’t built flexibly enough to meet policies in one market.” said Ip.

He added that Rippling and other top US HR platform like Gusto and Namely are not currently available outside the United States. “We believe that even if they expand internationally at some point, the localization requirements and geographic focus will allow us to build a strong moat.”

Locating for any market can be quite complicated. HR managers in different countries need to collect different employee information. In Singapore, for example, employees provide their children’s birth certificates so that companies can use them to claim compensation from the government when they take childcare leave. On the other hand, companies in Indonesia collect multiple forms of ID information, including KTD (resident card), KK (family card), and NPWP (tax number).

Each country also has different workflows. In Singapore, Ip said, the probationary period of permanent staff can be “extended”, but in Indonesia, a maximum of three months is allowed and cannot be extended or renewed.

Salary calculations also vary from country to country and include factors such as taxes, pensions and other statutory deductions. The rules for free time also vary. For recruiting, Omni can localize by connecting to local job boards instead of US.

Singapore and Indonesia were chosen as Omni’s first markets because the startup’s first customer segment is companies in technology and technology-adjacent verticals, especially other VC-backed companies, Ip said. He added: “Singapore may be the most mature market in South East Asia in terms of software/cloud adoption and willingness to spend. Indonesia is one of the largest and fastest growing market opportunities in Southeast Asia.”

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