A year-old business has raised $4m of funding as it seeks to build out a software platform with the potential to create a global market for talent. Singapore-based Multiplier enables businesses all over the world to hire international staff without having to worry about the complexities of payroll and HR compliance in their new employees’ home countries.
“Our fundamental premise is that many companies, particularly in developed markets, are having difficulties hiring the people they need,” explains Multiplier’s CEO Sagar Khatri. “And while that talent may be available in other countries, governments are increasingly wary about letting those people in.”
The Covid-19 crisis has proved definitively that remote working can by hugely successful now that we have the technologies and tools to enable it. But while that means taking on staff based somewhere else in the world may be a solution to the talent gap, many companies are daunted by having to pay staff and comply with local legislation in countries where they do not have a presence. And setting up new entities to employ those staff can prove onerous and time-consuming.
Enter Multiplier. “We believe that where you are physically should not limit who you can work for,” Khatri says. “Equally, where you are based as a business should not have implications for who you can hire.”
Multiplier has therefore spent its formative years developing infrastructure in around 25 countries popular with international employees – as well as partnerships in a further 75 markets. In each case, it has established legal entities on the ground through which its customers can hire and pay staff while complying with all local regulation. This infrastructure is available to Multiplier’s customers through the technology platform it has built, providing employers with a one-stop shop for managing the complexities of local compliance, labour contracts, payroll, benefits and taxes, wherever they happen to be hiring.
The effect is to drastically reduce the time it takes to get new staff in international markets up and running. While on-boarding an employee in an overseas jurisdiction might previously have taken months, Multiplier says its customers can now complete this process almost instantaneously.
The platform is sold as a software-as-a-service solution, with Mutliplier’s customers paying monthly fees dependent on how many staff they are employing through the company. Crucially, however, while Multiplier is effectively operating as a third-party supplier of employment services, the relationship between employer and employee remains direct; many staff may not even be conscious of the enabling technologies that underpin their employment.
“We are really helping customers with their speed to market,” adds Khatri, who says Multiplier has already picked up significant numbers of subscribers to its platform since its launch 12 months ago. “We’re creating a level playing field where the nuances of labour laws in different countries don’t matter to you as a hirer of talent.”
The company’s target market is broad. One obvious segment is small and medium-sized enterprises that lack experience of operating in many of the countries in which they may choose to hire talent; these employers need help if they are to access those employees. Equally, however, larger businesses are also interested in Multiplier’s solutions; they may already be using third-party suppliers to run their overseas payrolls, or trying to do the job themselves, but the company provides an automated one-stop shop across multiple jurisdictions.
Khatri is convinced Multiplier can also deliver broader socio-economic benefits, particularly in the South-East Asian markets in which it specialises. Its platform provides a means for talented people in the region to access opportunities with international employers, he points out. And with remote working now becoming the norm, it may be possible to unlock areas of the labour market previously prevented from making an economic contribution – women returning to work after having children, for example.
As customer numbers increase, Multiplier is focusing on additional services it can provide to employers. It already helps them source health insurance products for their staff, but other opportunities range from payments to procurement.
To fulfil that potential, the business needs additional capital – hence the fund-raising it is announcing today. Multiplier has picked up $4m of capital in a round led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, with participation from co-investors Golden Gate Ventures, MS&AD Ventures, Picus Capital and a number of angel investors.
“Recruitment has changed – platforms such as LinkedIn make it possible for employers to find the talent they need anywhere in the world,” argues Khatri. “But once you’ve identified that talent, the difficulty is getting it onboard – that is where we can help.”