Why we invested in HappyPal

Marie Geneste
Educapital
Published in
5 min readNov 21, 2023

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The 10x reach app for employee benefits. HappyPal is a mobile-first and flexible employee benefit solution which best addresses the needs of today’s workers: seamless, digital and personalised access to benefits for the entire workforce. The company’s mission is to give greater access to culture & entertainment to all , and to improve the financial well-being of all workers for a better engagement in their job and careers.

Access to employee benefits is highly uneven

HappyPal was launched in 2019 to enable all companies and ERCs (Employee Representatives Committees, aka “CSE”) improve the well-being of employees through personalized and easily accessible benefits. In France, ERCs are meant to democratize access to social and cultural activities and boost employees’ purchasing power during crucial events such as Holidays.

Despite a colossal social and cultural activities budget of nearly €5 billion p.a. in France, many ERCs still suffer from obsolete interfaces and complicated procedures, which mean that employees do not make full use of their benefits.

Deskless workers, who represent 80% of the global workforce, are frequently excluded from employee benefit programs or under-use their grants, because traditional programs typically mandate geographical proximity to the headquarters or access to a computer.

The mobile-first approach of HappyPal means wider access to benefits, from frontline workers who are on the ground without a corporate email address, to younger or tech-savvy workforce who spend on the go.

HappyPal, the most liked employee benefits app

HappyPal stands as the favourite and most intuitive app for employee benefits, offering a fully digital, mobile-first, and flexible experience for ERC benefits in France.

In 3 years, HappyPal has convinced over 200,000 employees working across 1,000 SMBs and enterprise companies such as RATP (Paris Transportation), Toyota, Doctolib or Meta. In all these companies, since they implemented HappyPal, the usage is very impressive — for instance, the third largest ERC in France saw usage skyrocket from 27% to 87% since they have switched to HappypPal.

This dazzling traction and outstanding usage are due to a 100% user-centric culture (both ERC and employees): superior user experience, listening to and co-constructing the product with ERC customers and employee users, strong customer support — which are unprecedented in this sector.

HappyPal’s solution integrates both the ERC grants and some exclusive discounts: employees are now able to use their perks and benefits in an all-in-one, intuitive and digital platform. HappyPal also allows employees to use their grants with maximum flexibility: for example, an employee can use its perk allowance to purchase a book either on an large online retailer or at its local bookshop. HappyPal is the only solution that makes personalized benefit programs possible thanks to a unique fintech back-end: a wallet system and mixed spending methods (including automated reimbursements or virtual bank cards issuing).

For ERC managers, HappyPal’s software is best-in-class for managing employee’s allowances, closely target benefits according to demographics and seasonality, and enjoying perfect transparency on the overall budget, usage and employee feedback. HappyPal removes the administration burden while ensuring compliance with all tax and regulation requirements. We also heard great feedback for ERC customers regarding the quality and engagement of the customer support, which is unrivaled by any player in the market.

Born from a visionary, purpose-driven and ambitious mind

The founder of HappyPal, Alyssa Emmungil, launched the company after she experienced first-hand the pains and weaknesses of the existing employee benefit programs. Being an entrepreneur by nature, she quickly and cleverly identified the market opportunity for a fintech-driven solution that would shape the future of employee benefits that would suit best to address the real needs of the market.

In Alyssa’s words, “The primary mission of HappyPal was to disrupt the employee benefits sector and provide daily support to ERCs managers who often feel isolated in their tasks. To achieve this, we have developed highly efficient technology that incorporates financial tools. This technology enables a highly customized approach to employee offerings, easy access to entertainment and services, and significant time savings for CSE representatives, streamlining their daily work.”

Alyssa Emmungil, Founder and CEO of Happypal

Alyssa is also on a mission to provide every employee with the right to access cultural and social activities, even in a time of purchasing power constraints. Indeed, according to a recent CSA survey, published in September 2023 (source), the French say they are missing €170/month to spend on culture and entertainment: Happypal is helping bridging this €2,050 purchasing power gap per employee per year.

This did resonate a lot with Educapital as our Future Of Work investment thesis focuses on skills & jobs (upskilling & reskilling, recruitment, & engagement), as we strongly believe that every talent should be empowered to pursue a purposeful life through better education, tools and support.
The social and cultural benefits improve the living, working and employment conditions of workers: they are a great help in day-to-day life for those on lower incomes or who are struggling. According to a MetLife study, employee who feel financial safe show higher levels of work engagement of 78% (vs. average 53%). This correlation is not arbitrary; it highlights the idea that employees undergoing financial stress are less able to focus on both their professional and personal responsibilities.

That is why we are proud to have led this €7m Series A round alongside existing investor Anthemis, in order to support HappyPal in this ambitious journey to build the next-gen European leader in employee benefits.

Credits to Geraldine Fillet for your contribution to this post and this deal ;)

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Marie Geneste
Educapital

VC @Educapital, investing in Edtech and Future of Work