Korean startup raises $1.6m so employees can clock in on their phones
Albam, a time tracking and payroll app from Korea, today announced it just raised US$1.6 million in series A funding, led by Capstone Partners. Other investors Kolon Investments, K-Bridge Investments, Shift, and Plantree Partners also participated.
The startup will use the money to grow its market share in Korea and expand to the rest of Asia, it says in a statement.
The service, founded last year, solves a major pain for businesses that still use antiquated clocking in machines and Excel spreadsheets to keep track of their employees’ work hours. With Albam, employees can use their phones to check in within five meters of their offices, which have iBeacons installed.
This cuts the time spent on taking attendance from 45 minutes to 15 minutes a day, making it extremely useful for entrepreneurs who manage more than one location. It also eliminates errors and disagreements over work hours.
Apart from check-ins and outs, employees can also view their schedules and claim shifts requested by bosses in the app.
Albam also has an automated payroll accounting system that it’s beta-testing with some brands in Korea, including coffee chain Tom & Tom’s, convenience store chain CU, and fast fashion company Wonderplace.
Stuck in old ways
Kim Jin-yong, founder of parent company Blue Night, had his lightbulb moment when he left Samsung and opened a pub. “I was spending a lot of time on administration, rather than doing the things that would help me grow my business,” he says. “Albam was like a gift to myself.”
“Despite massive adoption of smartphones in Korea, mobile HR and payroll solutions are not yet widely used here or across Asia,” says Capstone Partners CEO Eunkang Song. “Albam has developed a great product and has received a very positive response from the Korean market.”
More than 6,000 stores are using Albam in Korea and 1,600 are paying users. Albam starts at US$8.70 per month for locations with 20 or fewer employees. Kim claims that among franchises that have tried the app, 97 percent become paying customers.
Converted from Korean won. Rate: US$1 = KRW 1,185.