New Age Benefits Management: Our Investment in Cobee

Anthony Danon
Feb 26 · 4 min read
Cobee team

Employee well-being and retention are a key priority for companies. Offering benefits is both necessary to be competitive in the marketplace, but also important to create real value in the form of increased productivity and reduced employee turnover. Provide the employee benefits and these results will come — or at least that’s what we are told!

Although people tend to use ‘benefits’ as a catch-all term, the way the market is currently structured couldn’t be far from it. Businesses have to search, find and negotiate agreements with a number of suppliers (e.g. insurance, pension, transport cards, etc.), which results in high costs, lost time and arduous admin. Edenred is just one example of supplier and they provide inflexible, paper-based and expensive offerings. Once signed up, ongoing management of these products becomes a pain point too.

The end outcome is a compromise for employers and a fragmented, limited experience for the end employees. In fact, employee confusion can result in frustration and low uptake which goes against companies’ main objective in the first place. In certain European countries this is exacerbated since benefits can be a combination of vouchers, cards, paper contracts, all at the same time.

Despite the current equilibrium, the benefits market is over €1.5tn worldwide. Benefits management platforms are capturing €37bn of that albeit being mainly aggregators or service-oriented businesses.

We believe the market is at an inflection point —

  • HR-centric platforms that digitise the management of the HR function have become widespread;
  • digital vertical offerings for employees proliferating (e.g. salary advance, pension, coaching) creating an expanding ecosystem of offerings focused on satisfying employees’ needs; and
  • employees are demanding more ownership and flexibility on how they spend their compensation than ever before.

Enter Cobee, a human resources Fintech solution that is bringing full flexibility on employee benefits disbursement and in-kind spending. An employee card and app that enables seamless benefit consumption and an employer dashboard for ease of benefits management and automated payroll adjustments.

  • For companies: a fully-digital, centralized benefits management platform; aggregates, removes admin and vendor management, offers flexible disbursement options, analytics on usage and automated payroll reporting.
  • For employees: a benefits card and app showing how much they save as they spend (tax deductible). A decentralized channel that empowers them to consume their compensation and benefits on-demand.
Cobee employee app

With their approach, Cobee is able to provide tangible benefits to companies from the get-go, while creating full flexibility and a sticky, engaged product for end employees. More importantly, the product breaks the network effect silos traditionally found on employers’ offerings by creating a decentralised employee channel. They can then focus on building a dynamic marketplace of employee ‘apps’ to serve their evolving needs while transferring the resulting savings to them. A model that combines the flexibility of SaaS with the lock-in of a marketplace and the attractiveness of Fintech products.

Behind all this sits an energetic and driven team led by repeat operators Borja Aranguren (CEO) and Daniel Olea (CTO), who share a passion for building product-minded companies. Their unique ability to attract exceptional talent has captured us, with Ignacio Travesi — who used to lead Sales for GymPass in Iberia and France — as a key example. Beyond that, they are building a diverse, internationally-minded team to pursue their bold ambitions.

Since launch, the Cobee product is already showing signs of strong customer love, delighting employees while removing the hustle for employers. The team is signing big company names who are happy to switch their benefits ‘stack’ to Cobee. Their offering is fundamentally fixing the current problems of the market, showing an increase in the industry average employee uptake by >4x. The product-driven mindset of the team is translating into a slick UX and an increasing array of services available for employees; health insurance, childcare, meal vouchers, transportation cards, gyms and more to come soon.

Only a number of months since launch but a significant step closer to building a new-age employee-driven benefits management platform with aspirations of becoming an international brand.

With all that in mind, we at Speedinvest are very excited to partner with Borja, Daniel and the entire Cobee team alongside our friends at Target Global & Encomenda and can’t wait for the journey ahead — onward!

Anthony Danon

Written by

seed VC @speedinvest, previously early-stage fintech VC @anthemis | #europe #tech #seed #fintech


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