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Seso is constructing software program to repair farm workforces and clear up agriculture’s HR woes


Migrant staff are a essential labor drive for U.S. farms, however getting them right here on correct H-2A visas could be difficult, and the compliance surrounding these staff is taxing for farms. Seso was based 5 years in the past to assist streamline that course of and now seems to be to broaden right into a one-stop-shop HR platform for the agriculture trade.

Michael Guirguis co-founded the startup after his cousin requested for his recommendation on whether or not or not her natural farm ought to broaden. Regardless of demand for her harvests, Guirguis, whose total profession has concerned job creation and the labor market, instructed her increasing wouldn’t be sensible as a result of the trade’s labor scarcity would make hiring sufficient staff arduous.. That impressed Guirguis to discovered Seso to automate the H-2A visa course of to assist repair that subject and assist farms keep compliant. As soon as he began speaking to potential farm clients, he realized that farms might use much more assist with their HR past simply discovering staff.

“In relation to the again workplace, each farm we visited had hundreds of submitting cupboards,” Guirguis mentioned. “It’s some of the laggard industries within the U.S. That was the eye-opening second. We are able to tackle the labor scarcity and construct an end-to-end trendy working system beginning with HR and modernize a whole lot of these actually complicated duties.”

The startup simply raised $26 million to broaden its platform’s capabilities. The Collection B spherical was led by Bond’s Mary Meeker with participation from Index Ventures, NFX, SV Angels, a number of Seso clients, and others. The corporate doubled its buyer base in 2023 and works with 27 of the biggest 100 agriculture employers within the U.S.

Whereas agriculture is an enormous trade ripe for disruption, it’s been comparatively reticent to undertake new expertise, he mentioned. Guirguis thinks Seso has been profitable in promoting to farms to date, when many different startups haven’t been, as a result of Seso isn’t attempting to vary the precise farming course of, one thing farmers made clear to him that they weren’t prepared for but. Adopting again workplace tech, is a neater promote.

“Your HR staff is within the again workplace doing conventional HR work,” Guirguis mentioned. “That’s who we try to vary habits for, which is simpler than for somebody 50 years within the subject nonetheless utilizing pen and paper. They’ll nonetheless preserve doing their course of we now have constructed merchandise to adapt. You’ll be able to take an image of a [hand-written] time sheet after which use AI to ensure that is correct.”

Guirguis’s deal with getting suggestions from farmers instantly is what pushed Nina Achadjian, a associate at Index Ventures, to speculate. Achadjian initially handed on Seso when it first tried to boost from Index, however how the corporate sells and interacts with farmers modified her thoughts.

“I bear in mind this one buyer name, I bought chills,” Achadjian instructed TechCrunch. “[He said], ‘I get pitched by these Silicon Valley entrepreneurs on a regular basis they usually present up at your farm and they’re like, ‘Right here is how you need to run their enterprise.’ I all the time ask every of them to return and spend a day and work alongside me to allow them to perceive what’s a day within the lifetime of the tip buyer they usually by no means present up. Michael was the one one who confirmed up at 4 a.m. within the freezing chilly, in the dead of night, to choose artichokes.’”

That suggestions from farmers is why the corporate is increasing into automating payroll subsequent. Guirguis mentioned as a result of varied agriculture employment legal guidelines, farm payroll is extremely difficult. Employees are paid for a way a lot crop they decide, Guirguis mentioned and the speed for every crop picked is completely different for a migrant employee versus a home employee and completely different once more if migrant staff and home staff are choosing from the identical subject. Guirguis sees quite a few methods to broaden after that.

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