SA HR startup SmartWage rebrands to Jem with new focus on frontline workforces

SmartWage Caroline van der Merwe and Simon Ellis

South Africa’s SmartWage, an HR and communications technology startup, has rebranded to Jem as it zeroes in its focus on frontline workforces.

Founded in 2019, SmartWage – now Jem – started off by allowing companies to provide their employees with instant access to a percentage of their salaries and wages for work they have already done. 

It has since expanded beyond that, giving enterprises a simple yet effective way to digitise their most time-consuming HR processes, helping them save time and money in order to focus on people. The product gives employees without email the ability to receive company-wide communication, access their payslips, request leave and get access to financial wellness products, all via WhatsApp.

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The company raised US$2 million in an oversubscribed seed funding round back in April, and has now announced that it has rebranded to Jem. This comes off the back of accelerated company growth, and an evolving product line.

“We gave ourselves the literal name “SmartWage” when our core focus was on our on-demand pay product, but after listening closely to our customers for the past two years, we realised that there was a need for so many other HR and payroll products that satisfied the unique needs of companies with frontline employees,” said Simon Ellis, co-founder and CEO of Jem. 

“So we built those products – like our Payslips system which lets you send payslips to employees over WhatsApp. Our product range and ambitions outgrew the SmartWage brand. We needed a name that could reflect both who we are today and our long term vision.”