The Big Idea: Startup finds success with smiles in a fast-growth market

The number of startups on the scene in the Sea to Sky is on the rise.

Offices in Whistler are perfectly positioned with Vancouver’s thriving developer and engineer ecosystem and California’s tech-world mecca of Silicon Valley further south.

article continues below

With their North American software engineering office in Function Junction, PayrollHero is a major player in this local startup landscape. Co-Founders Stephen Jagger and Michael Stephenson have a growing team of engineers in Whistler and Southeast Asia who are optimizing workplace productivity with happiness.

Their platform is changing the way payroll professionals work, with technology that uses facial recognition to ensure that the right employee is in the right place at the right time. With their digital tool for time, attendance, scheduling, HRIS, business intelligence and payroll they have effectively translated staffers clocking in with a selfie into a sophisticated system for HR administration.

Solving a need for Southeast Asia

With many companies in Southeast Asia operating in the early stages of the computing, smartphone, cloud software revolution, PayrollHero spotted a gap in this fast-growth market for payroll software. They put their primary focus on expanding their business in this emerging market and have succeeded in attracting some very high-profile brands to adopt their personalized take on payroll.

“With over 750 million people in the region the opportunity is huge and untapped,” said Stephen Jagger, co-founder and director of business development. “We are ‘Payroll Live’ in the Philippines and Singapore with Malaysia in the works and have signed companies like The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Krispy Kreme, FamilyMart, P.F. Chang’s, iHOP, Nespresso and many others to our platform.”

Recruiting and retaining is an adventure

Like most startups, building out a platform requires expanding the engineering roster, but this key to success is also a common choke point for so many startups. Finding and keeping engineers was proving incredibly difficult. PayrollHero needed a way to stand out from the crowd competing to attract top-notch talent, so they decided to focus on their unique strengths. They opened an office in Whistler, and the concept of the “adventure engineer” was born.

The “adventure engineer” is a work hard, play hard experience built around adventure and a flexible work schedule. With their business focused on South East Asia, the team enjoys ample travel opportunities in their primary market. By opening an office in Whistler the lure of limitless outdoor adventure right on their office doorstep has captured the attention of adventure-loving individuals in the industry and has created a healthy company culture.

“We attracted engineers from all over the world who want to work in Whistler, see Southeast Asia and get outside,” said Jagger.

The healthy dose of outdoor adventure made easily accessible with flexible work hours is a perfect compliment to hours of effort in the office. Pair this with travel to participate in industry conferences as well as to Southeast Asia and you have a powerful program. At any given time PayrollHero employees might be found expanding their company’s reach anywhere from Whistler and Squamish to Hong Kong, Shenyang, Singapore, or Manila.

Client connections

For Jagger, building his platform is all about building the right tools so payroll professionals can simply do their job better. Finding out what his clients really want requires getting to know these clients and their culture, cutting out any assumptions and identifying clear needs.

“We are ridiculously client focused. We require our team to be in Southeast Asia at least two months of the year so that they can get close to our clients, see how they operate and understand the local culture,” said Jagger.

PayrollHero’s “labs” program delves even deeper into development to suit user needs by testing out new ideas in a live client environment. Working with selected clients, PayrollHero experiments with new products and features that could amp up their platform. The more time they spend with their end user, the more they get to know exactly what their customers need to do their job better.

PayrollHero not only puts a smile on employees faces every day, it keeps HR professionals and business owners happy with valuable attendance data in real time and dramatically increased administrative efficiency with the click of a couple buttons.

Make business easy — tune in to The Big Idea, a bi-weekly column from the Whistler Chamber of Commerce showcasing a Whistler business innovating in their sector.

© Copyright Whistler Question

Comments

NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Whistler Question welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus

Question POLL

Do you plan to celebrate Canada Day?

or  view results

Popular Columnists