Colombia-based Ontop wants to be a company’s tax, onboarding and payroll manager for its international teams. It is now buoyed by $4.5 million in seed funding.
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“We were born in the middle of the pandemic when remote work was exploding and evolving in ways where emerging countries become clusters of talent for developing markets,” Santiago Aparicio, co-founder and CEO told Crunchbase News. “We have been seeing this for a while in countries like Colombia and Argentina, and it is here to stay. International hiring is happening, but it is not connecting people hired for talent. There are still local regulations and currency divergences. We built Ontop so that someone can hire and pay someone with a click of a button.”
Aparicio and Julian Torres co-founded the company in 2020 to streamline contract creation, signing, compliance document collection and payments so that small and medium-sized companies can hire Latin American talent. At the same time, it provides workers access to remote opportunities with companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Ontop intends to use the new funding to roll out additional payments and banking capabilities for contractors in the region, including the option to maintain account balances in different currencies. The company’s onboarding process takes roughly seven minutes, and companies can start paying right away, and in most cases, it will be same-day payments.
“Not only will it enable workers to earn in U.S. dollars, if they want, they will also be able to invest in U.S. markets,” Aparicio said. “We are going to start in Latin America, but some of the biggest fintech banks and neobanks are coming out of emerging economies which has us pumped.”
Experts estimate approximately 42 percent of the American workforce remains fully remote a year into the global pandemic, according to the Future Workforce Pulse Report. At the same time, companies report that remote work is getting easier, not harder, as time goes on. Looking further ahead, the number of remote workers in the next five years is expected to be nearly double what it was before the pandemic.
For Ontop, growth “has been explosive,” as a result of the tailwinds from remote work, Aparicio said. Eight months since its launch, the company has achieved milestones including nearly $1 million in monthly revenue due to hiring of international talent by technology companies, he added.
Next up for the company is creating a credit card that will enable workers to save and spend directly from the card without having to wire local money into accounts.
Meanwhile, Pete Casella, partner at Point72 Ventures who specializes in fintech and financial services, said over the past few years, distribution of financial services has happened through the human resources technology stack.
While companies want to be able to hire from different countries, it is not always easy to understand local payment methods and tax codes. This is where Ontop shines, he said.
“They have the ability to act locally in markets they operate, so U.S. companies can take advantage without having to deal with local nuances for operating in the country,” Casella said. “Ontop understands how to take advantage of gig workers globally, which is a massive trend, to allow U.S. or international companies to take advantage of the growing talent coming out of Latin America.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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