UAE-based technology startup Bayzat has raised US$3 million in funding from undisclosed investors, taking the company’s total amount of external financing to $7.5 million in the last 24 months. As most MENA businesses (especially SMEs) continue to rely on basic Microsoft Office tools to manage their Human Resource (HR) tasks, Bayzat aims to offer a fairly simple and more efficient alternate to streamline processes such as leave management, payroll, employee record maintenance etc.
Originally launching as a tech platform for financial advice and health insurance in the UAE, the startup then focused its offerings on insurance, and then recently diversified into automation of HR management. Bayzat says recent UAE government decisions making employee health insurance mandatory has helped the company decide on its business strategy, and has led to a spike in business (the company says it has seen 350% revenue growth and grown its workforce from 12 to over 50 employees in 2017).
“HR departments spend over 70% of their time doing admin work and answering questions about company benefits. HRMS [HR management solutions] like Bayzat Benefit processes a bulk of this work, giving HR more time to focus on other areas of the business that can’t be automated,” says Talal Bayaa, co-founder and CEO, Bayzat. Elaborating on the company’s core offering, he says the motivation to launch Bayzat came from a need to give companies and individuals an opportunity to understand insurance fine prints without consulting their insurer, or HR. “All of our features are designed with a mobile audience in mind, who don’t have time to read through pages of policy to find the necessary info they need to utilize their insurance,” he adds.
In its endeavor to utilize technology to disrupt the way regional companies manage HR operations, Bayzat has been supported by an enviable list of backers. In an earlier funding round in 2016, regional tech investor BECO Capital along with Precinct Partners, RAED Ventures, Delta Partners Group and WOMENA invested $3.5 million in Bayzat. Bayzat also raised AED3.67 million from a group of private investors earlier in 2015. With these investments, and with the current financing, Bayzat believes it is now “better equipped to handle burgeoning demands” for their insurance and HR software. “The funding will go towards innovation and technology, and to improving [our] current products with added features and uses,” says Bayaa.
Though the Middle East has been relatively slow in adopting cloud-based software and other technology in HR compared to other regions, HR tech is an area that has seen considerable entrepreneurial action with startups like Compareit4me.com, Visage, and others being a few offering similar services. In a highly competitive space such as this, it’s safe to say that besides solving a problem, entrepreneurs also need to solve it better than competitors. Bayzat seems to be cognizant of this, and says its constant focus and investment on R&D is its differentiation factor. “If we can find a way to automate any process that will be seen as a great added value for policy holders or HR professionals, we look into it,” says Bayaa.
Since the launch of its integrated HRMS solution Bayzat Benefits, Bayzat says it has connected over 12,000 individuals in the region with health insurance, and has registered over 50,000 monthly visits from those enquiring about insurance plans. Among the list of prominent regional companies that use Bayzat’s HR solutions are Deliveroo, Fetchr, MumzWorld, MacKenzie Jones, Propertyfinder. ae, Bayut, and others.
Talal Bayaa, co-founder and CEO, Bayzat
Based on your track record of raising funds in the MENA region, what would be your three top tips for the region’s startups to pitch and clinch funding?
“[Firstly], know the problem you’re trying to solve better than anyone else. This means understanding the finer nuances as well as the strategic trends. You also need to have an objective and analytical understanding of the size and scale of the problem. [Second], be ready for rejection. You need to meet as many potential investors as possible to enable you to continuously refine and improve your pitch. Most will say no, but that’s how you improve. If someone is not interested, make sure you ask them a lot of questions to see what you can learn from the rejection - and don’t take it personally. [Finally], be yourself. Starting and growing a company is a monumental task, so you need to have partners who have the same values you do, otherwise, you’ll just make things harder on yourself than they already are. Don’t tell investors only what they want to hear; the process should be a healthy debate so that both parties can learn from one another and gauge the chemistry.”