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France’s latest unicorn is here! Payroll startup PayFit nabs $289M to simplify HR technology

Over 24 million existing SMEs in Europe are facing challenges due to the new remote working structure and rapidly changing HR trends. Addressing this critical pain point of payroll management is a startup from Paris. In a record-breaking funding for a French human resources (HR) startup, PayFit has raised €254M in a Series E round.

The funding was led by General Atlantic with participation from existing investors Eurazeo, Bpifrance and Accel Ventures. Following this round, the HR management startup has reached a post-money valuation of $2.1 billion (€1.82 billion) to become the latest unicorn in France’s buzzing startup scene.

The company will use the fresh funds to recruit additional top talent, boost development of innovative new products and increase its market share across Europe. The company will continue to expand its SME-tailored solution across HR management by complementing leaves/absences and expenses with interview assessment functionality, among other features to be launched in 2022.

Helping hand for the SMEs

Payroll and HR management has become even more important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Founded in 2015 by Firmin Zocchetto (CEO), Ghislain de Fontenay (CTO) and Florian Fournier (CPO), , the platform aims to simplify the process by offering next-gen payroll solution that automates complex and time-intensive HR processes, particularly for underserved small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Its proprietary technology platform enables HR managers, finance managers and business owners to easily conduct payroll calculations in markets with complex regulatory requirements, which is a key differentiator amidst the fast-growing HR technology market.

The development of existing and new HR features from PayFit will help startups digitalise their entire HR, save time and money and focus on growth. Among PayFit’s 6,000+ customers to date are ed-tech start-up Multiverse, insurance company Marshmallow and global Banking-as-a-Service platform Railsbank.

Its €90M Series D funding round earlier supported the company in the continued innovation of its current product suite and hiring of 300 new employees, reinforcing its leadership in the European HR tech sector.

Spreading wings in Europe

Based in France, PayFit has successfully expanded into three additional major European markets – Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom – and plans to scale from more than 700 current employees to over 1,000 within the next 12 months. The expansion of the PayFit team has included key senior leadership hires across critical business functions spanning technology, finance, operations, and more.

Payroll and HR management disruptor

Firmin Zocchetto, CEO and cofounder of PayFit said: “PayFit’s expansion beyond France into the UK, Spain and Germany shows further validation of our innovative offering and our capacity to scale up. We plan to use these new funds to deepen our presence in our existing markets, where we have significant growth potential.”

PayFit marks General Atlantic’s seventh investment in France’s technology ecosystem over the last five years, a region in which the company has strong conviction. Chris Caulkin, managing director and head of technology for EMEA at General Atlantic, said: “PayFit has built an innovative and disruptive product supporting the payroll and HR management needs of SMBs across Europe. We see great opportunities ahead for the company as it extends its product offering and continues to capture market share in France and across Europe. We are delighted to support PayFit and its management team in this next chapter of growth.”

Philippe Botteri, partner at Accel added: “Payfit’s unique and flexible cloud architecture has enabled it to quickly address the core HR and payroll needs of the large underserved European SMB market and I can’t wait to see what the team will achieve with this new financing.”

As the payroll outsourcing industry is estimated to grow leaps and bounds, especially in the post-Covid times, there has been a growing number of startups that are racing ahead to make their mark in the sector. Racing ahead along with Payfit are rivals such as UK-based Pento which recently grabbed Tiger Global funding, Paris-based Skello, Spain’s Factorial and Germany’s Personio.

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