80% of the world's workforce does not sit at a desk. They’re referred to as deskless or frontline workers, and they’re 2.7 billion strong across industries like manufacturing, agriculture, retail, hospitality, logistics and more. Despite being the majority, they have been overlooked by technology providers, with only 1% of enterprise tech being built for the deskless worker.
These frontline workers demand new technology that recognizes their unique needs and, at the very least, equals the experience of their office counterparts.
Their employers desperately need a better way to connect and engage with their deskless workforce. We founded Jem to meet those very specific needs, and built an HR system for the world’s deskless workers.
We've come a long way since 2020, and our story is just beginning.
In May 2020 we set out to break the payday debt cycle and change the way employees accessed their earnings
In Dec 2020, we won the top start-up in Africa in the Future Of Work category
In Sep 2021, we realised that there was an opportunity to build products far beyond earned wage access
In Dec 2021, we took the leap and began building HR and Communications products. It was no longer just about earned wage access
In March 2022, we closed our $2m seed funding round
In June 2022, we formally launched our new Payslips system
When we started our journey, we had major ambitions. Our business started by focusing on on-demand pay products, which is why we gave ourselves the literal name 'SmartWage'. But our range of products - and ambitions - have grown far beyond wages, and we needed a new name that would reflect that.
We also thought about the brand's greater purpose and our renewed focus on frontline workers. Connecting the office with these faraway deskless employees is really at the heart of what we do, and it's essentially a form of long-distance communication. When you look at recorded human history, one of the oldest forms of long-distance communication is through drums. The most well-known 'talking drum' of them all is the Djembe.
Our name, Jem, was taken from the middle of that word. It helps us encapsulate our new direction and commitment to helping employers connect with their faraway teams.
Cape Town: 17 Queens Park Avenue, Salt River
Johannesburg: 25 Minerva Ave, Glenadrienne, Sandton
London: 2 Mexfield Road, London, United Kingdom