Singapore-headquartered Workmate raises USD 5.2 million funding in Series A round

The startup connects businesses with informal workers in Southeast Asia.

Workmate, a startup that connects informal workers with employers in Southeast Asia, has collected USD 5.2 million funding in a Series A round led by Atlas Ventures, with the participation of Gobi Partners and Beacon Venture Capital (Kasikorn Bank), among other existing investors.

According to an official statement, the startup will utilize the fresh investment to broaden its tech team, strengthens its sales strategies, and expand the company’s business into new cities by 2020. This new capital brings Workmate’s total funding to USD 10 million.

The firm was founded in January 2016 under the name Helpster by entrepreneurs Mathew Ward, current CEO, and John Srivovakul, who is still a major shareholder at the company. On November 8th, 2019, the firm was officially rebranded into Workmate, to represents its mission and business better in Southeast Asia, said the company.

The firm is headquartered in Singapore and has offices in Bangkok, Thailand, and in Jakarta, Indonesia.

According to Workmate’s internal research, the informal labor sector accounts for more than 50% of Southeast Asia’s workforce, with approximately USD 200 billion in wages paid to informal workers annually. However, connecting workers with vacant positions can be difficult for freelancers and employers, leading to inconsistent employment for both parties.

“We are automating what traditional manpower agencies would typically offer – by allowing businesses to go directly to workers versus going through a middleman agency that charges up to 30% in fees – and we’re doing it at scale,” said Ward in a press statement.

All potential workers are pre-screened by Workmates to verify their skills and experience before being made available to hire on the platform. After passing the screening process, users are shown various job offers that match their skills via the Workmate’s app.

For businesses, the platform connects them with potential workers nearby who fit their requirements, and also manages contracts, attendance, timesheets, and worker payments.

The platform offers protection from wage fraud and provides social security for workers. Workmate also plans to offer insurance and access to financial support in the near future, the statement says.

Among Workmate’s clients are aCommerce, JD Central, and Lazada in Thailand, whereas in Indonesia the firm works with Grab, NinjaVan, Kopi Kenangan, and giant F&B chain Ismaya Group.