Bento, a pan-African digital payroll and HRM platform, has announced its expansion into three new markets: Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda, in order to expand the company’s reach across the continent.
With over 400 million people in the labour force, Africa’s payroll and HR management sector is a big untapped opportunity. Until now, African businesses have relied heavily on spreadsheets and bulk uploads to bank portals, as well as bank transfers, checks, and even cash. Bento is taking African payroll and HRM into the digital age, ensuring that different market participants communicate and use data to unlock credit solutions.
Bento, which was founded in Nigeria in 2019, automates salary payments, tax, pensions, and other statutory remittances, addressing many of the challenges that African businesses face. Bento empowers African businesses and provides peace of mind through its cloud-based platform, which streamlines many of their procedures with a single click. For employees, the platform provides free access to third-party services such as credit solutions, which include the opportunity to pay school fees and rent monthly rather than annually, unemployment insurance, savings, investments, and more.
Bento is developing local teams in Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda and adapting its products to local cultural and financial nuances after obtaining complete operating licenses in each region. Bento has been at the forefront of payroll and HRM in Nigeria, serving over 900 active Nigerian businesses across all sectors, including some of the country’s largest healthcare and financial services companies, such as Hygeia and Tangerine Africa, as well as many Y Combinator-backed firms including Paystack, Kobo360, Branch, Helium Health, and LORI Systems.
By the end of 2022, the company plans to expand rapidly across the continent, launching in Egypt, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Angola, and Senegal.
”Seeing so many companies using analogue methods to manage their workforce is simultaneously frustrating and exciting for us. Employers don’t have access to locally customised, world-class payroll and HRM tools, and employees can’t easily access third-party services to help make life easier,” said Ebun Okubanjo, Co-Founder and CEO at Bento. “When you think about it, your salary powers your life, so we’re building the operating system that will have a profound impact on the African continent for generations to come.”
Bento is enabling employees to access credit solutions and other third-party products and services while solving the missing piece of the B2B payroll and HRM puzzle. Around 95% of African customers have never had formal credit and rely on informal lenders and savings schemes.
To further illustrate this point, only 4.5 percent of people in Africa have access to a credit card, compared to 65 percent in the United States. Bento’s proprietary credit engine, designed in partnership with Tarya, Israel’s largest P2P lender, allows the company to provide much lower rates than traditional retail lenders and transfer funds in minutes rather than days.
“We’re starting with payroll and HRM, but moving rapidly towards Salary 2.0, where we redefine the intersection of work and life and transform the way people earn, spend and borrow on the continent,” added Chidozie David Okonkwo, Co-Founder and COO at Bento. “Having successfully established product-market fit in Nigeria, one of the most difficult markets to penetrate in Africa, we’re excited to roll out across the continent and solve the real problems we know millions of employers and employees face on a daily basis.”