Case study: Compt"s employee benefits tool

Case study: Compt

Rather than make grand promises to transform the world, Compt targets a precise problem to solve. By doing so, it is gaining attention from multiple industries - including insurance.

The Boston-based technology start-up operates ostensibly in the employee benefits/human resources sector, focused on an employee stipends platform designed to give staff the freedom to choose specific perks they want. Compt developed its stipend and rewards software as a platform tool that is customizable to companies’ needs, IRS compliant and can support global employers.

“Compt helps companies create and design employee perks stipends … in a very personalized way, while managing all the compliance and tax and the [things] that HR needs to focus on,” explained Compt founder and CEO Amy Spurling (pictured), who launched the company in 2018.

Compt recently announced a $13 million Series A venture capital investment led by Battery Ventures, which followed a previous seed financing from collaboration software company Slack Fund and Harlem Capital Partners. Total raised overall: approximately $16.5 million.

Twelve people and counting work for the start-up, and plans call for using the money to scale and expand access to more global companies.

Growth and insurance

Growth has already come rapidly to Compt, even before the new financing. Customers span as many as 16 different industries, Spurling said, with companies of all sizes (clients must at least have a US presence for contracting, but employees can be based globally). Between 10% and 15% of partners come from the insurance industry, including brokers such as Marsh McLennan, USI, WTW, Lockton, Hub international, NFG and Woodruff Sawyer. Kerry Hands, SVP at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., has also recently joined Compt’s board.

Broker clients use Compt’s SaaS platform to help manage the perk stipend program portion of a company’s benefit offerings, supporting their clients or Compt’s customers directly.

Partnering with insurance companies and providers represents a growth area for Compt, Spurling said, with a goal of helping partner providers’/brokers’ increasing usage of employer benefits offerings.

“There’s a low utilization on some of their products,” Spurling said. “Obviously health insurance gets very high utilization across employees, but … a lot of them have prepaid insurance, or renters’ insurance or some [other] voluntary benefits, and these typically have very low utilization.”

Fully baked

Spurling describes the technology as a “fully baked” software platform that can be used on its own or integrated with payroll software.

“It’s basically allowing companies to create budgets per employee and a specific group, and then employees are able to spend that on employee perk categories,” Spurling said. Some items on which employees can spend are taxable, and others aren’t, and Compt manages both dynamics.

Employees would typically log into the Compt tool and see stipends that a company has created for them and things they are eligible to buy. Different groups of people within a company could have different offerings.

For example, there could be a remote work stipend of $100 per quarter or month, which could cover cell phone or internet, health and wellness or other family benefits.

“It’s giving an amount of money that an employee can spend in a particular type of way,” Spurling said.

According to Spurling, many employees don’t use perks provided to them, which can include snacks in the office, childcare, fertility benefits, student loan repayment or other benefits. As a three-time veteran CFO, she said she’s seen usage of these perks hit levels much lower than hoped for.

Stipend perks are designed to boost overall perk usage, which she said are a very important part of employee compensation.

“With all of these perks, and there are literally thousands of them, if you’re lucky, 3% to 5% of the team will actually use them,” Spurling said.

Moving to a stipend perk concept has boosted employee engagement on the platform up to 91%, she said.

Function and integration

Compt’s basic DNA relies on Python programming, sitting in the Heroku cloud platform. As Spurling described, it feeds through payroll software, with a mobile optimized application on the front end, and then a web application and APIs to help connect to payroll programs.

Companies who want to partner with Compt sign a contract, and then the company does an implementation call to discuss what they want in their employee perk stipends.

After two 30-minute calls, Spurling said, clients are up and running.

“It’s not a heavy lift,” Spurling said. “The software is fully baked and ready to go out of the box, and so the customization for each individual company is around things like naming their stipends and getting their team roster connected, which we just need access to and [then] we do all the work on our side.”

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