Singapore-based startup Sama announced that it had raised US1.15 million from investors around the world to boost further its digital recruitment platform that matches migrant workers to various jobs.
The investors, include Collaborative Fund, 3tvcp, Antler, and angel investors such as Steve Melhuish, are betting on Sama’s aim of matching workers with jobs without the added baggage of hidden fees and clauses they currently face.
As a start, the Same digital recruitment platform will focus its initial launch on the construction worker demographic in Singapore. Most of these construction workers pay up to nine months’ salary in commission to middlemen to secure their jobs.
“Sama aims to stop this and ensure they get a fair deal. I invested in Sama last year and am happy to support Kirtan and Nemanja as they build out the platform that will help all migrant workers in the future,” said Melhuish, co-founder of PropertyGuru and one of the investors in Sama’s funding round.
Kirtan Patel and Nemanja Grujicic founded the startup in April 2019. It is a fully-licensed agency, having obtained the Singapore Ministry of Manpower license earlier this year. The firm is able to work directly with companies to address their hiring needs.
Sama said it uses multiple data points collected and analysed on the platform to match workers with jobs that are good fit based on their skill level and experience. Workers can start the sign-up process by merely sending a message to Sama on WhatsApp and can quickly start uploading ID documents, training certificates, and prior work history.
Patel and Grujicic said launching Sama was based on personal experience and conversations with migrant workers. Grujicic said his family dealt with employment situations and agents in Eastern Europe while Patel disclosed that he spent a lot of time uncovering the challenges migrant workers face living in Singapore through casual conversations.
A recurring burden felt by most was the high fees paid to secure a job.
“Currently, workers pay up to S$10,000 in agent fees to secure a job in Singapore. This is due to the various middlemen with antiquated processes workers need to navigate in order to get the right job. The team at Sama are building technology to drastically lower these fees and enable workers to save for the future,” Sama said in a statement.
Around Southeast Asia, online recruitment platform Sieu Viet announced in February that it has raised US$34 million from Singapore-headquartered private equity firm Affirma Capital to finance its expansion plans.