HRTech startup Clockster raised a $750,000 Series A funding round led by Quest Ventures, a noted investment firm anchored by sovereign wealth funds QazTech Ventures in Kazakhstan and Pavilion Capital in Singapore.

Other investors that contributed to the funding round were HR&Ed-Tech Accelerator, ABC-12BF Seed Fund, and Olzhas Zhiyenkulov. HR&Ed-Tech is particularly notable because it has been helping highly scalable HR tech ventures to grow in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Yerzhan Ryskaliyev, Clockster CEO and Co-Founder, expressed optimism not only for the financial investment made by Quest Ventures but also for the opportunity to be introduced to the Southeast Asia market. “Thanks to QazTech Ventures, Clockster was introduced to Quest Ventures, a top-tier venture capital fund in Southeast Asia. Besides the monetary investment from Quest Ventures, we now have market access via the established Quest Ventures ecosystem into Southeast Asia and beyond,” Ryskaliyev said.

Clockster intends to use the new funding infusion for three primary goals. One is to facilitate the company’s digital and geographic market expansion. The other one is to recruit more go-to-market talent Thirdly, the company seeks to develop software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.

“We plan to use the investment to expand into the 700 million potential Southeast Asia markets, as well as CIS in Central Asia. Such coordinated support by Qaztech Ventures is necessary for Kazakhstan startups in critical growth phases, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic slowing down the expansion plans of many startups,” Ryskaliyev explained.

Clockster has over 160 clients at present. An overwhelming majority of them, around 9 out of 10, are in Kazakhstan. However, the company has been steadily growing its customer base with new clients from India, Singapore, the Philippines, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Russia.

To support the planned expansion, the company intends to hire more talent. For this, Clockster acknowledges the support that Qaztech Ventures has been providing. In the early part of 2020, Qaztech Ventures established a startup acceleration program called the Kazakhstan Digital Accelerator (KDA), which seeks to raise the go-to-market speed of Kazakhstani startups and nurturing tech talent in Central Asia.

Clockster specializes in advanced but easy-to-use HR software tools for MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) to automate their payroll, simplify staff scheduling, make timesheets more efficient, and enhance employee-employer communication regardless of geographic boundaries and time zones. The company’s solutions help reduce unnecessary staff, overpayments, and HR-related expenses by up to 15 percent while raising employee performance by up to 20 percent.

Clockster expects to make its services even more effective and advantageous to clients by bringing it to the cloud. Through SaaS, the company hopes to make the most out of the new “economic corridor” into the Southeast Asia markets.

Oksana Pogodaeva, Managing Partner at HR&ED-Tech Accelerator, expressed confidence in the future of the company, saying that “Clockster is about to fly.” Pogodaeva took note of how the company has shown visible traction with the first clients in the Asia-Pacific market. “They’re also good at solving market problems: according to the latest HR research done by Deloitte Consulting, 67 percent of surveyed companies point out the lack of systems for collecting and processing data in that sphere. And 88 percent of respondents say that investments in HR automation have paid off,” the HR&ED managing partner added.

Diaz Beksoltan, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of QazTech Ventures similarly expressed high hopes for the future of Clockster. “My best wishes to the Clockster team as they scale into new markets. We eagerly await their transformation from an Astana startup into a full-fledged multi-market “unicorn” business,” Beksoltan enthused.