Check is a startup that builds software tools to digitize business payrolls. They emerged from their stealth mode that lasted for two years when they announced raising $35 million from a new funding round.
The funding round was led by the giant in digital payments, Stripe and Thrive Capital, with their investments. However, the valuation of the startup post-funding was not disclosed. This funding has helped Check to raise a total of $44 million.
There is noticeable participation made by Stripe, as Check is seen to get strategies from them about building the infrastructure of payments for the increasing digitization of the economy. On the one hand, Stripe focuses on helping businesses to accept online payments on credit cards, while on the other hand, Check targets connecting the payroll systems with the hugely growing array of software tools, in order to manage businesses and their profitability. Most of the team members at Check as well as their co-founder and CEO, Andrew Brown, previously were a part of the eBook startup named Oyster, which got acquired by Google in 2015.
Check is entering a fairly crowded market since payroll and HR software like Workday and ADP are already widely in use by enterprises. Gusto, a digital platform for payroll, which was founded in 2012, claims to be doing business with 100,000 clients. Another company, Square, whose focus is quite similar to Check considering the fact that small businesses are its target clients, already offers services related to payroll which integrates with their timesheet and sales features.
However, according to Brown, the company focuses on a niche that isn’t well served by established businesses, making it easier for developers to integrate payroll features into a wider and more expandable variety of software. He mentioned how the complexities involved with digitizing payroll, including steps like the need to automate the employee’s tax withholding in different jurisdictions, can make the creation and launching of those features from the ground to be too difficult and expensive for developers who work for smaller targets in marketing.
Check simplifies the process of adding the payroll to the managing software by handling the most challenging elements it possesses, and hence, makes it easier to add payroll. In addition to transferring the funds to their respective tax collectors and calculations in taxes, Check also handles the tax form filings for different services built utilizing their system.
Most of the customers at Check pay a flat fee, based on every business user, and a charge depending on the number of paid employees. Stripe has grown into a private giant in the past decade with a huge valuation of $100 billion, using a similar model. However, by dollar volume, Check has a bigger market than Stripe, as the total transactional payments under Stripe was $348.7 billion in 2019, while Check focuses on an annual volume of $9 trillion.