Entrepreneur

We Ask This M'sian Team How They Clinched A RM4.7 Mil Seed Round

I personally consider it a blessing to work in a very small company.

Paperwork and red tape is kept to a minimum when your manager, head of department, head of HR, head of finance, and head of administration happen to be the same person.

But this isn’t the case for most companies. With a much larger team across several departments, also comes structure—and not to mention, more effort as well to get acquainted with one another.

Approval process for leaves are longer, admin work is more complicated, internal emails are more formal, birthday dinners are more awkward.

Thankfully through modernisation, many platforms have emerged to solve this issue. More corporates also ready to test out these alternatives rather than sticking to the traditional paperwork way.

Malaysian startup, Swingvy is a HR solution that chose to remain on the downlow until they clinched their seed funding of $1.1 million (RM4.7 million). They then went on to becoming champions from TechInAsia Singapore 2017’s Arena back in April this year.

Capitalising On The Freemium Model

Launched in October 2016, Swingvy is a HR platform targeting SMEs who are looking for a cheaper alternative to connect all HR systems (employee onboarding, employee database, leave application, payroll, etc.) onto one platform.

Swingvy currently operates in Malaysia and Singapore with 1,600 companies using their platform.

Their core features are available for free. Employers only need to pay a subscription fee if they’re looking for added features like automated payroll with bank integration, claims and benefits management.

The freemium model is tricky.

You would need a solid platform that can keep customers happy with the bare basics, and you can only depend on add-ons for revenue.

Tho Kit Hoong, co-founder of Swingvy told Vulcan Post that it was a risky step they took to stand out from other HRIS (Human Resource Information System) cloud softwares who required users to pay from the get-go.

“Similar to free games. You can build a lot of them but if they’re not good, no one will play them which means you can’t monetise from added services. So make sure your platform is innovative and disruptive enough before diving into this.”
– Kit Hoong

Standing Out With A Native Mobile App

Many web-based platforms wish to offer users a mobile option. But due to the interface differences, not all mobile apps turn out to be user-friendly.

Take for example well known productivity tool Airtable which allows users to create organisational databases with spreadsheets.

On the web platform, the interface is beautiful and easily customisable. The sheets are viewable at a glance.

However on its mobile app, the records on the spreadsheets are converted into cards, which I find extremely inconvenient to view and edit.

This is the dilemma that comes with converting web platforms into a mobile app—but that hasn’t deterred Swingvy from doing so.

In fact, currently they are the first and only SaaS (Software as a Service) provider with a native mobile app.

Although it’s nearly impossible (and unrealistic) to duplicate the exact user experience from web to mobile, the team has put in every effort to balance user interface and functionality in the app. And that’s something that they have every right to be proud of.

Prioritising The Employees’ User Experience

A HR system shouldn’t be designed just for the convenience of HR departments.

A good HR system should also take in consideration the other employees, who would make up the majority of its users.

After all, in a corporation, the HR department may only consist of 2-5% of the company. On the other hand, 100% of the staff would need to apply for leaves, submit their claims, and receive company updates on a weekly or daily basis.

Swingvy advocates this and that is reflected in their interface and features.

Their design encourages employees and employers to communicate, other than just relying on formal e-mails.

How the timeline feature on Swingvy looks like.

The Calendar feature is a personal favourite of mine. It’s handy to know of key events, like when a work anniversary, an upcoming birthday, or if someone’s on leave (so you know why they’re unavailable).

Emails that are circulated internally tend to be serious by carrying a more formal and rigid tone. The Announcements feature keeps employees updated with the latest company news and allows attachment of picture, video and link—and not in a dull PR statement kind of way.

Company getaways and dinners, someone’s first day at work, a staff’s employment anniversary—anything significant gets broadcasted to everyone.

“Our company’s tagline is ‘People matter’, which is reflected on our platform. We’ve already designed it in a way where engagement is easily done. The next thing we’re looking at is adding an Employee Benefit Management module into our platform.”
– Kit Hoong

Emerging From Under The Radar

Kit Hoong commented on how Swingvy’s early years were spent on building the platform and making sure it was at its optimum performance.

His co-founder hails from South Korea, so they took advantage of the talent pool he had access to.

They worked with engineers from Naver (the South Korean version of Google) and Line, and the experience these employees brought on board sped up the development of their platform.

“HR innovation has been around for many years, but there isn’t any dominant player yet. Innovation, automation, simplicity, affordability, and scale of globalization from day one is what we offer customers,” Kit Hoong said.

“Our goal is to revolutionise the HR practices in South East Asia from the beginning. So we chose to shift the focus on making our product speak for itself first before we speak about it to others.”
– Kit Hoong

With Swingvy’s features and upcoming plans for further development of their web and app platforms, they’re vying to give their best for each company’s HR department and employees.

That’s something that both sides will certainly applaud to.

Swingvy is available on the Web, Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Feature Image Credit: Swingvy