Changemaker Judah Hirsch is on a Misssion to Make Payday More Efficient for Filipinos through Salarium

The CEO of the award-winning SaaS company on improving the payroll system across industries in the Philippines

Employees receive an amazing E-wallet solution that will allow them to transfer money easily to friends, shop online with a debit Mastercard, pay bills, borrow money when needed, and save money through financial products.

According to a study by technology company Bridge Southeast Asia, 1 out of 6 companies in the Philippines still compute their payrolls manually. This can lead to errors in pay disbursement, which can adversely affect employees. As only around 31% of Filipinos have bank accounts as of 2014 based on World Bank’s Global Findex Database, one can only imagine the financial distress a payroll error can bring on an typical Filipino employee: shortage of personal funds, inability to make ends meet, potentially resorting to a quick cash loan.

Judah Hirsch is on a mission to make payday more productive and efficient for both for employers and employees. He founded Salarium, a cloud-based end-to-end time, attendance, and payroll software in 2013. The year after, Salarium won the top prize in Seedstars World, a global startup competition for startups in emerging markets, besting around 2,000 contestants and winning an equity investment of $500,000.

Prior to Salarium, Judah founded a consultancy firm for regulatory compliance for companies in diverse sectors in the Philippines, from Food and Drug to Accounting and Finance. This allowed him to gain experience and insight in operational deficiencies in local companies, leading to his brainchild Salarium.

Today, Salarium boasts of different functionalities that  benefit employers and employees, thanks in part to its strategic partnerships with international companies such aas VMoney and PyxPay. It automates payroll processes such as tax deductions on scale, helping companies’ HR professionals. Salarium also helps employees get access to financial services by depositing wages on prepaid credit cards. Employees working offshore can also receive payment wherever they are in the world instantly and securely through an electronic wallet (E-wallet).

Given his busy schedule, Judah was gracious enough to tell us more about Salarium’s features and his plans for the company’s future. Read the full interview below.

What inspired you to launch Salarium in the Philippines? Does it have to do with the growing tech startup scene in the country, coupled with high technology literacy in the Philippines (55% mobile broadband subscription and over 47% internet access)?

While these are all amazing stats, I launched my company in the Philippines as I have been living here for over ten years and this is clearly my home.

In the tradition of Reddit’s ELI5 (Explain Like I’m 5): What is Salarium and how does it benefit both employers and employees?

Salarium is an end-to-end payroll solution which handles everything an HR needs to run payroll from time, payroll calculation, to disbursement of employees salaries using our ATM Card and E-wallet program, SAL Pay. We do all of this completely free.

Employers benefit from getting an amazing payroll solution which will reduce the time their HR spend on payroll by up to 90%, at no cost. 

Employees receive an amazing E-wallet solution that will allow them to transfer money easily to friends, shop online with a debit Mastercard, pay bills, borrow money when needed, and save money through financial products.

How will you describe Salarium’s and SAL Pay’s traction so far?

We have been growing at an increasing pace, with hundreds of companies and thousands of employees actively using the platform.

What’s the next move for Salarium? How are you planning to strengthen SAL Pay’s presence in ASEAN countries?

Towards the end of this year we will identify the next markets that we would like to open up in ASEAN.

What advice can you give aspiring entrepreneurs who want to be a part of the burgeoning startup scene in the Philippines?

Less talk more action. Just do it. If there is an idea you would like to explore take the plunge. 

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Written by Kash Avena

Kash has been with in marketing and business development roles since 2014. Now based overseas, she is happy purveyor of financial literacy for OFWs and their families.

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