Stephen Jagger and Michael Stephenson have been business partners since 2000. Veteran entrepreneurs, together they have built four companies together, both sharing a true passion for entrerpeneurship; PayrollHero, representing their latest creation. Having a knack for interesting concepts their three other companies include CombustionHosting, a web hosting company,, a real estate website platform and, a leased labour business based in the Philippines.

As part of the Feature of the Week, The Asian Entrepreneur has a short talk with Stephen about their unique industry in Asia and the story behind developing PayrollHero.

What exactly is PayrollHero?

PayrollHero is all about optimizing work productivity with happiness. In a nutshell, we’re talking about consumer-friendly time, attendance, scheduling and payroll services in the cloud for web and mobile. We use your employees face as our primary biometric to avoid buddy punching and ghost employees. These clock-in pics are further given a mood rating to establish an array of business intelligence to your companies corollaries between productivity and mood.

Why did you decide to set up PayrollHero in Asia?

We had come to the Philippines to setup an outsourcing company, and it was in that company that we learned the pains of time, attendance, scheduling and payroll in Southeast Asia. We saw a hole in the market and decided that we could fill it. We are working to be the market leader for time, attendance, scheduling and payroll in Southeast Asia and have clients all over the region.

Do you guys follow a specific method of business development?

We follow the scrum methodology and work with our clients to shape a platform that is best of breed for their needs. Our engineer team is made up of “Adventure Engineers” who are focused on building tools that will help our clients streamline their operations.

What kind of difficulties have you guys met working on PayrollHero?

A startup is almost completely based on overcoming difficulties. We are building a platform for multiple cultures, languages and countries in a place that is just getting used to cloud technologies, credit cards and smart phones. We believe we are in the right place at the right time and are focused on achieving our goals. For specific difficulties; payroll is one of the more complex platforms to build, raising money in Southeast Asia offers its own challenges and understanding the way different countries do business has been a learning experience.

Tell us about the HR industry.

HR and payroll industry is full of passionate people eager to help their colleagues. It is a great opportunity to work with them as we implement our platform that increases transparency within a company as well as systemizes many of the manual process HR and payroll people have to complete on a day to day basis.


How have you managed to stay relevant in this industry?

By constantly pushing forward, working with our clients to continue to shape the platform to suit their needs.

What do you think about startups in Asia?

I think it’s a really exciting time to be doing a startup right now but remember that Asia is not Silicon Valley.

Why did you become an entrepreneur?

Myself and my business partner started as entrepreneurs in high school and never really looked back. It is exciting to build something that people need with a team of passionate people.


Connect with Stephen Jagger and PayrollHero today:


Recently Published

Key Takeaway: Slavoj Žižek, a philosopher and cultural theorist, has written numerous books on various topics, including philosophy, psychoanalysis, pop culture, and commentary on recent events. He is known for his controversial debate with Jordan Peterson in 2019 about the connection between Marxism, capitalism, and happiness. Žižek’s work often critiques political ideologies, which can explain […]
Key Takeaway: The discovery that physics is fine-tuned for life has been a topic of debate among physicists. The strength of dark energy, the force that powers the accelerating expansion of the universe, is considered the most plausible explanation for the fine-tuning of physics. However, experts in probability argue that multiverse theorists commit the inverse […]

Top Picks

Key Takeaway: Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, has a diverse career in space exploration, electric cars, AI, and social media. His biography, written by Walter Isaacson, covers events up to Space X’s unsuccessful Starship rocket launch in April 2023. Isaacson interviews Musk and uncovered newsworthy information, such as his Starlink satellite network’s crucial role […]
In June, an IBM computing executive claimed quantum computers were entering the “utility” phase, in which high-tech experimental devices become useful. In September, Australia’s Chief Scientist Cathy Foley went so far as to declare “the dawn of the quantum era”.  This week, Australian physicist Michelle Simmons won the nation’s top science award for her work on developing silicon-based […]


I highly recommend reading the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Reskilling China: Transforming The World’s Largest Workforce Into Lifelong Learners”, which focuses on the country’s biggest employment challenge, re-training its workforce and the adoption of practices such as lifelong learning to address the growing digital transformation of its productive fabric. How to transform the country […]

Join our Newsletter

Get our monthly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.


Welcome to Empirics

We are glad you have decided to join our mission of gathering the collective knowledge of Asia!
Join Empirics