Vietnamese startup Nano raises $3 million for on-demand payroll app

May 13, 2021 | 15:58
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Nano Technologies, the first homegrown Vietnamese startup selected by US accelerator Y Combinator, announced that it has closed its oversubscribed $3 million seed round.
vietnamese startup nano raises 3 million for on demand payroll app
Vietnamese startup Nano raised $3 million to help employers gain an edge in the labour market

Alongside previous pre-seed co-lead investors Golden Gate Ventures and Venturra Discovery, the Vietnamese startup welcomed a strong consortium of regional and global investors into its Seed Round, including FEBE Ventures, Openspace Ventures, and US-based Goodwater Capital.

Founded in early 2020 by Dzung Dang (ex-Uber general manager and ZaloPay CEO) and Thang Nguyen (CTO Focal Labs and SeeSpace), Nano aims to support employers to keep their workers better and more cost-effectively while helping employees stay out of debts.

By partnering with caring employers through a flexible payroll app called VUI, Nano empowers low-income workers to access their earned salary anytime, anywhere to take care of daily expenses without having to wait until the next payday. VUI app also helps workers keep track of work attendance, receive the most important announcements from the company, and learn basic concepts in personal financial management – all for free.

As of present, the VUI app now serves more than 20,000 employees from employers in Vietnam including GS25, LanChi Mart, and Annam Gourmet. On average, 50-60 per cent of employees would sign up for VUI immediately and use the service about three times a month for early salary.

The employer-sponsored salary advance model has been adopted by thousands of employers in the US, Europe, and Latin America and delivered millions of dollars of cost savings. Walmart, the largest retailer globally, has adopted this solution since 2017 for their 1.4 million workforce with over $300 million of bottom-line impact annually. Harvard Kennedy School has conducted statistical research and recommended EWA for companies that employ a large base of low-income/hourly workers.

vietnamese startup nano raises 3 million for on demand payroll app
Nano provides an on-demand payroll product that pays workers daily instead of monthly for employers in retail, service, and manufacturing

CEO Dzung Dang shared that, “Given the ubiquity and acuteness of the cashflow mismatch problem for the working people, more frequent payroll is not only good for low-income workers but also a tactical yet underappreciated initiative that employers could deploy to stand out in the labour market. This model also eliminates the need for black market credit at small ticket sizes.”

Shane Chesson, founding partner at Openspace Ventures, said that, "Earned wage access is a triple-win for companies, workers, and society at large. And we see such models raising the bar for salary practices in Southeast Asia and moving companies towards what is already a norm in developed markets. Openspace Ventures looks forward to lending our support to Nano in its mission to improve the lives of millions of workers in Vietnam.”

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