Change has come to HR and payroll software
No company is spared from the pain of payroll preparation. All companies, big or small, have to wrestle with mundane but important concerns such as managing attendance and payroll – a tedious process that entails tracking each employee’s working hours, adjusting for leaves, holidays, overtime, and government filings such as taxes and social security. Despite advances in technology, many Filipino firms still do this manually. This eats up precious time and accumulates countless errors along the way.
Now we’re introduced to Sprout Solutions, a Philippine- based SaaS ( Software as a Service) startup that aims to help emerging market enterprises with their HR and payroll needs.
Driving Sprout are Alexandria Agbayani Gentry, head of product and Patrick Gentry, co- founder, CEO, and incidentally, her husband. Together, they have transformed Sprout from a side project to a profitable cutting- edge software company with over 2,000 sign ups and over 50 enterprise clients.
Up until 2014, Payroll Pie and HR Hub were just internal tools used by the KMC Group of Companies, of which Patrick was a founding shareholder. KMC MAG and KMC Solutions were fast-growing real estate and BPO companies that needed a cloud-based payroll system localized for the Philippine setting.
Lacking good options in the market, they decided to build their own, which jumpstarted the beginnings of Sprout. At that time, Alex was still working in Saperium, a custom software development company headed by ex- Microsoft executive, John Lauer. Alex helped grow Saperium from an idea to an elite software shop hiring only the top one percent of developers in the country.
Under the mentorship of John, who in his Microsoft days was reporting directly to Bill Gates then Steve Ballmer, Alex learned the intricacies of building self-organizing agile development teams, designing intuitive user experiences, shipping high-quality products that are on time and on budget, and creating a company culture with zero turnover for three consecutive years.
When Alex got pregnant with their second child, she decided that it was time for her to be a full- time wife and mother and left Saperium. Patrick, on the other hand, was starting to get obsessed with the idea that Sprout systems needed to be shared with other businesses to help them automate their processes. Determined to validate the market, he started beating the streets of Manila to look for their first customers, and solicited Alex’s expertise to redevelop the products for B2B consumption.
Alex initially worked pro bono, sketching late at night to enjoy full- time motherhood during the day. As the products gained traction though, the couple decided it was time to spin off, and incorporated Sprout as a separate company in 2015.
Since then, there has been no looking back for Sprout Solutions, which Alex and Patrick consider as their third baby.
Sprout’s products enable a company’s human resource department to ease up a bit and focus on more important tasks by having a platform that fully automates complex timekeeping and attendance from biometrics all the way down to payout.
Last July 2016, Alex and Patrick packed their bags and their kids to head off to Silicon Valley to participate in an accelerator program under Acceleprise, where they are learning how to scale their business further. They are currently being mentored by the most experienced leaders in enterprise software and get to see firsthand how visionaries are paving the future of innovation.
Being one of the few female techpreneurs in the Valley, Alex is proud to bring pride to the country along with the rest of her team. While there, Alex is also learning the art of juggling work, studies, and managing a household. She balances her days with meeting mentors, attending roundtables, creating great experiences for the kids, preparing healthy dinners, laundry, and an attempt to keep the house in order. At night, she and Patrick manage the team of 40 employees in Manila – holding daily team or one- onone meetings until the wee hours of the morning. On Saturdays, she attends an advanced Product Management program at The Product School. She says she’ll catch up on sleep when the program ends this coming November. “We are truly living in such exciting times. The technology and business landscapes are changing so rapidly – instead of just applying best practices; we are collectively building them as we go along. I am, more than ever, determined to help companies from emerging markets improve their efficiency, and aide in driving the Philippine startup ecosystem forward,” concludes Alex.