From Bootstrapped to a $417M valuation, Chile’s Buk Raises $50M for its HR Management Platform.



Buk, a Chilean company that has developed a human resources management platform for Latin American businesses, revealed today that it had raised $50 million in a Series A fundraising round valued at $417 million.

There are a few noteworthy aspects of this financing. For starters, it is one of the largest (if not the largest) Series A rounds ever raised by a Latin American business. Second, it elevates Buk to the third most valuable startup in Chile, trailing only Cornershop and NotCo.

Historically, Brazil and, more recently, Mexico have gotten most of the venture capital funding. However, other Latin American regions like Chile are increasingly drawing global investor attention.

It’s also worth noting that Buk’s SaaS operations were bootstrapped for the first five years. Greenoaks, based in San Francisco, led the Series A financing, and SoftBank is among its first institutional investors. Interestingly, unicorn founders Rappi, Kavak, Konfio, GBM, Ualá, and Brex also contributed to the round.

When was Buk founded?

Buk, founded in 2017 by Chileans Jaime Arrieta, Santiago Lira, Teresita Morán, Felipe Sateler, and Ricardo Sateler, is developing a cloud-based platform that allows businesses to manage their human resources “end to end,” from salary payment to professional development. With the objective of “building a happier workplace,” Buk also contains tools such as corporate climate surveys, performance reviews, recruitment modules, and attendance monitoring.

Buk CEO Jaime Arrieta stated that the company has grown organically and has typically funded its expansion with sales income. While Arrieta declined to provide specific income data, he did say that Buk’s annual recurring revenue (ARR) increased by 151% in September compared to September 2020.

However, our remarkable performance, differentiated offering, and completeness of our products, which distinguishes us from competitors, lured funds like SoftBank and Greenoaks, who wanted to invest in Buk to expedite our expansion.” 

How many clients are employed in Buk?

Buk now has over 4,000 clients in Latin America from various businesses, including educational institutions, investment banks, fast food restaurants, law firms, and others. Every month, it processes payroll for approximately 400,000 Buk customers.

Because Buk’s infrastructure is located on AWS servers, it has access to a wide range of tools across its technological ecosystem.

The firm performs daily backups of its clients’ information, allowing it to keep the service running even if third-party data fails. According to Buk, it also provides a “pleasant” programming language with several possibilities for “easily developing functionality.”

Buk also has a charitable component. Last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company introduced Buk Starter, a free digital remuneration tool for businesses with up to 20 employees. 4,000 SMEs currently use the tool.

What cities has Buk acquired?

The firm intends to use its additional funds to accelerate its growth in Mexico, consolidate the market in Colombia and Peru (where it grew in 2019 and 2020), double down on technology and product development, and acquire new regional enterprises. Buk just bought CTRL, a Chilean support company.

The company also intends to enhance its market share in the nations where it operates over the next several years. Buk claims that it grew 7% in Chile, 20% in Colombia, and 23% in Peru in September alone.

Buk employs around 300 people, with women accounting for 50% of the workforce.

Greenoaks has previously invested in Kavak, Discord, Robinhood, Stripe, Rippling, and Toast. SoftBank has invested in startups such as Slack, Uber, Rappi, Alibaba, Didi, Flipkart, and ByteDance.

In a written statement, Neil Mehta, founder and partner of Greenoaks, said, “HR software is the primary source of truth for a company’s personnel data, backing crucial activities like payroll, benefits, and people management.” “However, until today, businesses in Latin America have mostly depended on in-house solutions that do not scale or imported software that is poorly matched to local needs.” Buk is developing a Latin American-made HRIS package that will enable more effective procedures throughout the whole employee lifecycle, from recruiting through offboarding. We believe the company is on track to become the region’s leading HR technology platform.”

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