As a business owner, Suwandi Soh noticed a problem with most HR software available on the market. Users need extra time to master the software’s complicated system, which might itself directly impact work performance.
Employees end up not using the software to full potential with companies eventually abandoning it for good.
In 2014, he finally saw the solution in his own brother’s software development company Harnods. They were developing an HR management software that Soh himself eventually invested in. This was the beginning of Sleekr, which was taken from the word ‘slick’.
“HR software has been unnecessarily burdened by complicated modules. We are thrilled to provide easy and intuitive features that everyone can actually use,” says Soh, now CEO and Co-founder of Sleekr, in a statement.
The startup developed an HR Core Software that is simple to use, intuitive and low-cost. It is able to perform basic HR tasks such as new hires on-boarding, performance management, self-service portal, time-off management, payslip processing, job description listing and organisation structure.
Sleekr specifically targets startups and small businesses with perks such as free service for companies with up to five employees, with a monthly fee of US$29 for companies with a bigger staff.
After initial launch in February 2015, Sleekr received a warm welcome from startups in Singapore and Indonesia that it decided to rebuild the software for scalability.
Run by a team of seven, Soh initially funded the company by bootstrapping, though he later claimed getting some funding from partners.
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HR management: The new sexy?
In an email interview, Soh tells e27 about the high potential of the global HR software market, a sector that seemed ‘unsexy’ for Indonesian startups given the small number of players in the space.
There is a rising trend for cloud-based HR software or SaaS, as indicated by the acquisition of SuccessFactor by SAP and Taleo by Oracle. There is also a wide spectrum of HR software available, with Sleekr specifically aiming for the employee management vertical.
Though conventional HR software has been in business for a long time, the cost for the software can break the bank for small and medium enterprises.
“These solutions are designed for giants. It is understandable, mature companies are more likely willing to spend on HR software,” he explains.
“Earlier stage companies will not realise how important HR management is until it’s getting too complicated,” he adds.
When asked about the difference between HR management in startups and in big companies, Soh stresses that most startups do not have sophisticated HR processes or requirements.
For a startup, where the founders tend to be in charge of everything, most available HR software is either too costly or too impractical for them to use.
“Most HR software gives you everything you don’t need. Sad, but true,” he says.
Sleekr has already planned features development and release for 2016. To fulfill its aim to become a globally-recognised brand, the startup is also setting up an office in Singapore.
“Turns out, it’s not easy to build global SaaS from Indonesia, especially in payment-related issues,” Soh says.
Soh is also aware of possible comparison to Talenta, another Jakarta-based startup in same field. However, he is confident about competition.
“We’re heading [in] a different direction. We believe and we are confident of serving [the] global market, Talenta is more Indonesia-focussed,” he says.