Photo: Wagepoint is Canada’s only online payroll startup, recently surpassing 500 customers and launching in the U.S. this week. From left to right: Wagepoint CEO Shrad Rao, Zoup! Waterloo and Zoup! Kitchener owner/operator Daryl Hunter, Wagepoint CMO Leena Thampan and Wagepoint COO Ryan Dineen.

Money. It’s what makes the world go ‘round.

For Wagepoint, Canada’s only online payroll startup, it’s about more than that. They’re aiming to be the best payroll service provider in all of North America.

Today, the small company from Communitech HYPERDRIVE’s fourth cohort is well on its way.

They’re celebrating two major milestones since their debut in 2013, including surpassing 500 customers and officially launching in the U.S. this week.

“About 75 percent of the small business market actually does not outsource payroll,” Wagepoint CEO Shrad Rao said of the startup’s continent-wide opportunities. “If you think about it, when does every company need payroll software? It’s something you need from the day you start your business, the day you hire your first employee. So there’s a natural market for our software. The way we deliver our experience is very different from the way it’s delivered today by the larger players in particular.”

Rao and his team envisioned an alternative to the old, frustrating payroll process, and developed a fast, intuitive and fun app that emphasizes customer service. For them, it’s all about creating no-brainer software that customers love to use, taking care of everything from taxes, direct deposits, T4’s and even offering a percentage of payment in bitcoin.

“That is literally how our company is built, from the customer backwards,” Rao said, explaining that the quality of service is the main reason Wagepoint has been able to on-board more than 500 customers in just 18 months. “The thing is, it’s not just getting the customer numbers that excites us. It’s the fact that when customers use it they actually tell us that they love it. We get unsolicited feedback all the time.”

Among those who sing the startup’s praises is Caitlin MacGregor, CEO and co-founder of Plum, another local startup and HYPERDRIVE grad in the HR field.  MacGregor switched to Wagepoint’s payroll software four months ago when she realized she dreaded working with her previous provider.

“It was so hard to find information. I could feel myself getting emotionally frustrated,” she said.

MacGregor wasn’t aware there was a fun, easier, user-intuitive option, and was impressed with Wagepoint’s simplicity once she tried it. She wished she had made the switch sooner.

“It’s such a small time commitment and such a huge reward.”

Daryl Hunter, owner/operator of Zoup! Waterloo and Zoup! Kitchener, has been using Wagepoint for just over a year and thinks it’s fantastic.

“Wagepoint is our recommended payroll company for all Zoup! locations across Canada,” said Hunter. Rao hopes to be in the American Zoup! stores some day, which would put them in 60 locations in 15 U.S. states and Canada.

When considering the amount of Canadian payroll processed using Wagepoint’s services – $120 million – the team considers simultaneously gaining traction and launching in two countries a milestone in itself.

“I think that this is going to be very promising,” said Leena Thampan, Wagepoint’s Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s setting us up to achieve high growth by going in this direction. So we were able to prove it by going in one market and now we’re ready to go to the next.”

The startup credits HYPERDRIVE’s accelerator program for helping to achieve customer metrics. Wagepoint entered Cohort 4 in March and decided to call Waterloo Region home after stints in Dubai, Halifax and Toronto.

“The whole Communitech team and the entire community of Waterloo have kind of adopted us. The fact is that Waterloo has been the one place where we actually felt like part of a startup community,” said Thampan. “They’ve just embraced the technology, embraced us.”

By the end of this year they plan to have more than 1,000 customers and set themselves up for a Series A investment round.

“We want to achieve high growth and we want to achieve it fast. We’ve got ambitions and the fact of the matter is that our dream is to make HR tech software for small businesses that people are going to absolutely love using,” said Thampan.

“We think our time is now.”

About The Author

Samantha Clark
Media Relations Associate

As a Media Relations Associate at the Communitech Hub in Kitchener, Ontario, Sam is passionate about the Waterloo Region community, entrepreneurship and technology. She is a graduate of Conestoga College with a bachelor’s degree in public relations.