Kadmos, a payroll platform for migrant workers, raises $29.5 million – TechCrunch
Companies from many industrial sectors often rely on immigrant workforces, with data from the International Labor Organization showing that about 169 million workers go aboard. But being away from financial institutions and their domestic financial infrastructure presents a host of challenges, including what is perhaps the most important part for workers themselves – how to get best pay.
Meanwhile, from the company’s perspective, they may have to manage payments for workers from a variety of locations, many of whom are in temporary or short-term positions.
Managing all of this management and ensuring that workers are paid on time is harder than many outsiders may realize. And that’s a problem that the German startup Kadmos is starting to settle with an end-to-end platform that eliminates the hassle and many costs associated with paying their cross-border workforce.
Just four months after announcing a $8.5 million seed funding roundKadmos today revealed that it has added 29 million euros ($29.5 million) to the pot through a series A round led by Blossom capital, with participation from Addition and Atlantic Labs.
Since migrant workers are – by definition – away from home for the specific purpose of employment, they also need to be able to spend what they earn. Sometimes they can be paid in cash, which means they can spend the money locally, but then they can face exorbitant transfer fees when they bring the money home. On top of that, many migrant workers need to send money home to their families, which is often the main reason they go to work abroad in the first place – again, they can incur large fees when cash transactions.
Alternatively, a company may choose to pay their workers through intermediaries such as local banks, money transfer companies, agents or other third parties, which not only includes many fees but including paperwork and significant delays.
Over a year since its inception, Kadmos has been working with shipping companies that are using the first version of the service to pay their seafaring workforce.
How it works
For employers, Kadmos offers a centralized payroll payment platform to make and track payments, no matter where workers come from.
As for how all this is set up, of course an employee must be working for a company that has decided to use Kadmos. Employers refer them through their own dashboard, and employees receive a link to download Kadmos and sign up.
Above staff side, Kadmos offers a mobile app with an e-wallet that holds workers’ wages in US dollars or euros, and allows them to send money home instantly for a predictable set fee. And importantly, Kadmos also provides workers with their own debit card tied to their digital wallet.
Instinctively, restricting payments in euros or dollars can be a bit limiting, especially since migrant workers will likely be arriving from any country in the world and traveling abroad. schedule to an equally large number. However, co-founder Sasha Makarovych noted that the shipping industry mainly pays in those two currencies.
Makarovych told TechCrunch: “The current industry demand is mainly USD and EUR, as those are the currencies in which seafarers are paid. “For seafarers, it’s a significant benefit to be able to keep their wages in ‘hard currency’ (i.e. a stable currency).”
Of course, this means that workers will likely have to transfer money frequently, either when they spend it or send it home. And this is where Kadmos’ less than 1% tick comes into the fray, which Makarovych says compares favorably to the typical 1.5-4.5% that traditional banks might charge. So, if they use their debit card to spend dollars/euros in a country with a different currency, they will automatically be charged at the Kadmos rate.
However, if the company expands into other industries in the future, will Kadmos have scope to offer workers options for getting paid in other currencies?
“Yes, we are looking at these possibilities,” Makarovych said.
A modern fintech
In fact, Kadmos embodies the modern fintech movement. It is more benefits of a modern challenger bank such as Monzo, in addition to the same cross-border payment features as people who like Wise or remittance platform such as Remitly. But according to Justus Schmueser, another co-founder of Kadmos, the point of all this is Not just another B2B or B2C fintech – it’s built to solve a very specific problem.
“Kadmos’s approach can be classified as B2B2C,” says Schmueser. “In this sense, our scalability and acquisition costs are much more efficient because attracting a number of different employers to use Kadmos to pay their employees can lead to thousands of people. new end-user for the Kadmos app.”
By solving two problems at the same time – helping migrant workers get paid and reducing many costs and administrative burdens for employers – Kadmos is in a pretty strong position as the world continue to exit the state of closure and return to normal business activities.
“We want to make the payment process easier for companies, while also making it easier for employees to receive and spend that money,” added Schmueser. “The focus of Kadmos is really on using technology to provide a solution to the severe limitations placed on cross-border employee financial freedom.”