The reality of work has forever changed. A commute and a 9-5 job confined in a cubicle is no longer the norm, but just an option. Pushed by the pandemic to allow their employees to work remotely, companies have seen a major shift in employee expectations. Time and time again, recruiters are noting that many candidates have come to refuse positions that do not permit remote (or hybrid) working.
To meet this shifting work paradigm, companies, and particularly their HR departments, are having to contend with new challenges that come with onboarding remote staff and teams.
RemotePass, an Abu Dhabi-based tech startup, is helping to alleviate these issues for both companies and remote working professionals.
“At RemotePass, we're working to create a world where anyone can work from anywhere while having access to a choice of benefits, perks and financial services,” Kamal Reggad, Co-Founder of RemotePass, tells the Abu Dhabi SME Hub.
Based in Hub71, RemotePass currently services 80+ global & regional companies, including notable names like swvl, Unifonic, Nas Daily, and Eyewa, assisting them in managing their growing global workforce in 120+ countries.
In December of 2021, the startup raised funds in a Pre-Series A round, which was led by BECO Capital with participation from Wamda Capital, Khawarizmi VC, Flat6Labs, Wealth Well and a syndicate of Saudi investors. This year, it partnered with co-working platform Hotdesk to offer an end-to-end solution for modern startups and agile ventures - from hiring to providing convenient workspaces.
We had a chance to speak with Reggad to learn more about his exciting startup and its distinct services.
Co-founders of RemotePass, Kamal Reggad (left), Karim Nadi (right)
Can you tell us about your company's core offerings, and why there is a need for them in the region?
At RemotePass, we're working to create a world where anyone can work from anywhere while having access to a choice of benefits, perks and financial services.
Companies of different sizes use our platform to build & manage global remote teams, in a few clicks. They rely on our solution to establish employment/contractor agreements, manage day-to-day HR operations and process mass cross-border payroll in 120+ countries and 80+ currencies.
The rise of a solution like RemotePass in the region is due to two main factors: the battle to attract talent globally, and the power shift toward flexible and hybrid remote work. The second factor is the willingness these companies have to stay competitive and retain the best talent. swvl, a leading mobility startup in the region, uses RemotePass to onboard and scale its global teams, for example. No need for entities and months spent in paperwork or compliance - it’s hassle-free and convenient.
How did RemotePass come to be? Walk us through your journey as an entrepreneur from ideation to launch.
RemotePass is in reality a pivot we executed during the pandemic. My entrepreneurial journey in the UAE started by founding Safarpass, a business travel management software. With travel collapsing in 2020, we were confronted with a hard decision. Shutting down our travel operations and starting from zero was a tough choice we had to make. With the help of our investors and the outstanding work of our tech team, we turned things around and launched RemotePass as a successful MVP.
As an entrepreneur, this reminds you that any situation you face is not intrinsically bad or good. It’s the way your teams handle them, act on them, adapt to them that influences the final outcome. Perseverance and grit are in the DNA of our founding team.
You raised a Pre-Series A funding round late last year, onboarding notable investors like BECO Capital, Wamda Capital and Flat6Labs, among others. How would you describe your fundraising journey so far? Are there any lessons or tips you can share with other entrepreneurs looking to raise funding?
We are grateful for the trust our investors demonstrate toward us, even in the most difficult times. All of our Seed investors followed on in our Pre-Series A round. One of the important things to take into consideration during the funding process is the degree of compatibility, long-term vision and value-add beyond funding.
What would you say are the greatest challenges you've faced so far as an entrepreneur in setting up and running RemotePass, and looking back, would you have done anything differently?
I think understanding the global HR industry was and is still one of the toughest challenges, as labour laws and processes differ from country to country. Certain technical aspects require a lot of research, external trusted advisory partners and documentation (payroll, taxation, legislation, etc.)
There is also the complexity in building a flexible and compliant platform with global standards and finding the right resources. Add to that the difficulty in convincing global providers to dedicate time and resources at the beginning of our journey, when we registered only a few transactions.
Why did you decide to set up in Hub71, and what support have you received from the local Abu Dhabi ecosystem so far?
We were one of the first companies at Hub71 and after two years I can say that It’s one of the best ecosystems in the region for any tech company, at any stage. The Hub71 team has always been supportive with the goal to see your team and your company succeed.
What would you say are RemotePass's overall objectives for the next three years?
We have three objectives we would like to achieve.
To become the leading solution in the GCC region to enable remote work and build international teams seamlessly.
To expand our activity across new regions of the world and scale our operations globally.
We want to build the next generation HR technology platform where employers and employees get to find all they need to start a collaboration. From employment contracts to workspaces, from payroll management to financial & benefit services e.g health insurance, pension plans, etc.
We want to be the ultimate platform for any company out there, looking to attract the best talent and provide them with the best ecosystem of services to retain them.