(6/21) A global payroll platform that helps companies hire anyone, anywhere

Plus great startup ideas & advice from Vedika (Weekend Fund), Andrew Chen (a16z), Brian Balfour (Reforge) and more!

Welcome to the 3rd edition of the Geeks Of The Valley Newsletter where we share our written memo on startups that have yet to raise any funding or announce it publicly, new startup ideas from some of the most original minds in tech and VC’s, and a must-read tactical advice from founders/VC’s that have built and invested in great companies.


🏢 Venture Insights

🎙️ The Pitch

“ Employ, onboard, and manage your international team without setting up a local entity.” - Multiplier

👥 Team

  • Sagar Khatri: Prev. VP of Corporate Development @ Hmlet (Sequoia-backed; raised US$48m), Senior Consultant @ Nomura.

  • Vamsi Krishna: Prev. First / Snr. PM @ Funding Societies (Sequoia & Softbank-backed; raised US$128m), Product / Engineering @ Works Applications (Highest market share in the Japanese ERP market).

  • Amritpal Singh: Prev. Search Consultant @ Korn Ferry, Manager @ Robert Walters.

The Sparks ✨

  • Significant shifts in the way employers speak about their employees.

The former way was to prioritize hiring the candidates within a similar geographical location. On top of this, workers and employers shared a collective consent: employers provided wages and job security, and employees were confined to operating within the orthodox office space and managerial setting, for the sake of paying the bills.

But now the table has turned. Today we’ve seen the shift, which is majorly led by tech companies that move towards more decentralized and merit-based hiring. Progressively, these businesses have concentrated on recruiting the right-fit workers and imparting variations in everything that can make the workers more productive.

  • Paying a globally decentralized remote workforce is complicated, costly and usually burdensome.

Despite the increase in demand by the companies to hire cross-border workforce, it’s still very challenging when it comes to overcoming the regulations and payroll issues, among a few.

This means negotiating a dynamic system of state and national rules, and the punishment for doing it wrong can be expensive and time-consuming. Employers are then left to trade amongst a variety of flawed solutions.

Typically what employers do is appoint a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) that will take care of the workers’ payroll, in return for 15 to 20 percent of payroll in the process. The risk of doing this incorrectly is greater than ever, as the misclassification of workers may have severe implications.

  • Dynamic experiences of the management team.

Finance itself is already a top-rated regulated industry and building a solution to create a new standard for global payroll, taxes, compliance and benefits just adds another layer of challenge.

Being the first PM for one of the fastest growing fintech startups in SEA, ex-technology exec. in an Alibaba acquired company, ex-VP that was responsible for the company’s expansion and fundraising from the tier-1 fund and not to forget the vast experience in the top executive search firm just made the combination of the management team unique.

Note: This analysis was originally written in March 2021. More details can be found here.

💡 Startup Ideas

  1. Vedika Jain, Chief of Staff @ Weekend Fund.

  2. Dan Romero, ex-VP of International Business @ Coinbase.

  3. Marc Kohlbrugge, Founder @ BetaList.

📚 Top 5 Tactical Advice..

  1. How To (Actually) Calculate CAC - by Andrew Chen

  2. How To Run A Weekly Growth Meeting That Gets Results - by Brian Balfour

  3. Tech debt is not a burden, it's a strategic lever for success - by Matt Greenberg & Keya Patel

  4. How to Experiment with Product Improvements - by Crystal Widjaja

  5. The Path to 1 Billion: Lessons learned from Growing Instagram - by Bangaly Kaba

🎙️ Episode Of The Week

Listen here

Ben Narasin is a 25-year entrepreneur and 10-year early-stage investor. His knack for spotting emerging trends led him to make seed investments in companies like Dropcam, Lending Club, TellApart, Kabbage and Zenefits. Before NEA, Narasin most recently served as a General Partner at Canvas Ventures and was previously with TriplePoint Capital, where he oversaw the firm’s seed funding investment activities.

Like many of NEA’s partners, Narasin’s path to investing is rooted in entrepreneurship. He founded several consumer companies before launching his investing career, including Fashionmall.com, one of the first e-commerce companies, which he founded in 1993 and led to a successful IPO in 1999. Narasin frequently writes and speaks about technology and investing, as well as food and wine, a lifelong passion. He holds a B.A. in Entrepreneurial Studies from Babson College.


Thanks for reading! See you next week, geeks 👋

If you know anyone that you’d like to be featured in our podcast, feel free to send a note to geeks@geeksofthevalley.com!