Indonesia based startup, Vara raises $4.8 Mn in seed funding
Vara, founded in 2020 focuses primarily on staff management making it easier for small businesses by replacing the notebooks or spreadsheets with an app called Bukugaji. Vara recently raised $4.8 million through seed funding from investors including Go Ventures, RTP Global, AlphaJWC, Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, FEBE Ventures and Taurus Ventures.
The funding will help Vara make their application "Bukugaji" far more efficient and user-friendly by adding time-efficient features such as customizable reports, reminders, dashboard shortcuts, automated allowances and overtime, disbursement of salaries to employees and workers, data analytics to analyse salary and attendance trends.
“Before downloading and onboarding on Bukugaji, the vast majority of our users utilized notebooks to mark attendance and track payroll. A small portion used the notes features on their phones or simple Excel sheets. Bukugaji is designed to be fully self-service, so businesses can download and start using the app on their own. Its main app is mobile only, but the platform also has a web version", said Vidush Mahansaria, Co-founder, Vara.
As stated by the leaders of the company, Vara with their application "Bukugaji" targets small companies with less than 30 employees, majorly in retail, construction and building, food and beverages, industries with heavy labour services. The application "Bukugaji" is optimized for particular worker segments including operational staff, management staff, labourers or employees working in shifts with time based salaries. It also focuses on workers who do not have bank accounts or access to it and use traditional banking means. Vara with their application "Bukugaji" is aimed to help such underprivileged employees by making payroll system as well as management more efficient.
“Employees often request cash advances from their employers toward the end of the month, when they need the money the most because sometimes they can’t make ends meet”, said Vidush Mahansaria. “This has two outcomes: first, it ties up working capital for the employer. Second, it makes the employee increasingly reliant on the employer to meet emergency needs. It’s hard to break out of this cycle given the current limited accessibility to formal financial infrastructure for this market segment”.
Vara doesn’t have immediate plans to add an Earned Wage Access feature to Bukugaji, but it might add EWA as part of the value-additive services to further build the platform.
Vidush Mahansaria said that the said application is presently “razor-focused on Indonesia,” since SMEs account for about 60% of Indonesia's gross domestic product and utilize a major workforce. Bukugaji will gradually spread out into markets.
Image credits: Vara