Seso disrupts farm workforces with advanced HR solutions

Victoria B.C. Canada-08/03/2020: Immigrant farm workers hoe weeds in a farm field of produce.

AgTech startup Seso is on a mission to address the critical labor shortages faced by U.S. farms through the power of software. Founded five years ago, Seso is poised to revolutionize the agricultural sector’s approach to human resource management by streamlining the complex H-2A visa process for migrant workers, thereby solving a significant part of the agriculture industry’s HR challenges. This initiative comes at a time when the compliance and logistical hurdles of employing migrant labor have burdened farms, making Seso’s solutions a beacon of hope for the sector.

Co-founder Michael Guirguis was inspired to start Seso after consulting with his cousin on the feasibility of expanding her organic farm. Despite the demand, the daunting labor shortage in the agriculture industry posed a significant barrier to growth. Guirguis, whose career has been deeply entwined with job creation and the labor market, saw an opportunity to leverage technology to alleviate these challenges. Seso’s initial focus on automating the H-2A visa process has since evolved, with the startup now aiming to develop a comprehensive HR platform for the agriculture industry.

Seso’s recent achievement in securing $26 million in a Series B funding round, led by Bond’s Mary Meeker and supported by Index Ventures, NFX, SV Angel, among others, marks a pivotal moment for the company. This funding will fuel Seso’s expansion of its platform’s capabilities, addressing a broader range of HR functions beyond workforce recruitment. In 2023, Seso doubled its customer base and now serves 27 of the top 100 agriculture employers in the U.S., a testament to its growing influence in the sector.

The reluctance of the agriculture industry to embrace new technology has been a significant hurdle for many startups. However, Seso’s strategy of not altering the core farming processes has proven effective. Instead, Seso focuses on modernizing back-office tasks with technology, making it an attractive proposition for farms. The startup’s use of AI to convert handwritten timesheets into digital records exemplifies its innovative approach to simplifying complex tasks.

A key factor in Seso’s success has been its hands-on engagement with the farming community. Co-founder Guirguis’s willingness to experience the day-to-day challenges faced by farmers firsthand has earned the startup significant credibility and trust within the industry. This deep understanding of the farmers’ needs has guided Seso’s expansion into automating farm payroll, a complex task due to varying employment laws and compensation models in agriculture.

As Seso continues to grow, its vision extends beyond payroll automation. The startup sees vast opportunities for further simplification and modernization of agricultural HR practices. With its innovative solutions and farmer-centric approach, Seso stands at the forefront of transforming the agriculture industry’s workforce management, promising a more efficient and compliant future for U.S. farms.

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