London based startup MOVE Guides announced today that it has closed an US$8.2 million Series A round.
The SaaS (Software as a Service) startup is aiming to take a slice of the estimated US$150 billion dollars a year that companies around the world spend on relocating employees.
MOVE Guides describes itself as a transformational HR tech company. The venture partners with corporates and small to medium businesses to manage and move global talent. That could include new hires, employee relocations, fixed-term assignments or extended business travellers. The MOVE Guides software allows users to take care of all HR management functions as well as policies, payments and data. This results in efficiency and visible cost savings for clients.
Founded by Brynne Herbert, (an American expat in London) in 2013, MOVE Guides has had two rounds of seed funding (totalling US$2.4 million) including a US$1.8 million seed round last year lead by Notion Capital and NEA. This current round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and included Notion Capital, Andy Leaver and David Windley.
Where the story gets interesting regionally from an Asia Pac perspective though, is today the company also announced their expansion into Hong Kong.
Although some smaller ‘outsource’ style businesses exist when it comes to organising relocations, from an Australian and Asian perspective we actually have no comparable product to MOVE Guides currently residing within our market. The closest startup that has enough traction and around 60% of the features from a Human Resources perspective would be Sydney based Employment Hero.
Employment Hero allows businesses to handle the end to end HR needs for their businesses, and with some added functionality could be used to replicate a similar to service to that of MOVE Guides as an add on. Not too dissimilar to their Spring.me style add on 10,000Answers they launched for Australian employers.
Whilst the market may seem too niche and too small now that there are already three global players, we need to keep in mind what a growth engine Asia is not just regionally but for most large companies across the world. And in fact, in order to receive various perks, tax breaks and kick backs from Government’s in the Asian region, companies need to keep a quota of ex-pats living and working within those countries. Foreign workers moving back and forth across borders is becoming more and more common. Especially in places such as Hong Kong and Singapore.
Unlike years ago, the war for good talent is now a global one, companies are not adverse to looking beyond the borders of the country to find the right person for a role. Talent mobility albeit a rather unsexy market is definitely a lucrative one.