Spain’s Cobee raises $41 million for employee benefits ‘super app’ – TechCrunch


Benefits are one of the great oxymorons of full-time employment: the name implies help and perks, but in many cases it’s unclear what perks and rewards you might have available to you, and even less to use them on a regular basis. .

Now a startup called Cobee who built a platform and an application to facilitate organization and access to them by means of an application, a payment card (physical or virtual) and integration with payroll, today announces funding after seeing strong interest in its services, with revenue increasing 3x this year.

The company has raised €40 million ($41 million) in a Series B funding round co-led by Octopus Ventures and Notion Capital, with participation from previous backers Balderton Capital, Speedinvest and Dila Capital. Cobee is based in Madrid and is currently focused on Spain and Portugal, where it has carved out a space for itself providing benefits to businesses of all sizes, from small businesses to enterprises, with approximately 800 customers in these countries, including Ogilvy , Booking, Workday, N26, JTI, Job & Talent, Avis, Línea Directa, Michelin, Petronas and Glovo.

It will use the funds to expand to other Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking markets in Latin America, starting with Mexico, as well as other countries in Southern Europe.

The round brings the total raised by Cobee to around €60m (including a seed round we covered just before Covid-19 hit the world). Borja Aranguren – the CEO who co-founded the company in 2019 with Nacho Travesí – said in an interview that she was not disclosing her valuation.

But indicatively, a number of other startups have sought to rethink how to package and offer benefits. Swile outside France raised funds from SoftBank last year at a valuation of $1 billion; Form in the United States raised $40 million earlier this year; Chicago HealthJoy raised $60 million last month; Perkbox makes waves in the UK, Sodexo benefits from a position as a giant in the hotel industry; and Brazil has two advantages for startups, Caju and Flash, which compete, the latter having investors like world tiger among his supporters.

This selection of companies speaks to Cobee’s broader competitive field, but also to the opportunity and gap in the market.

Perks and perks are part of what is supposed to attract and retain employees in an organization, but often they also include things that are less optional and are just part of what everyone expects or might be expected to have. his employer.

For example, in some countries, offices are required by law to provide lunch or lunch vouchers to employees; in some markets, employers offer optional health insurance, while in others it may be the primary way in which insurance is funded. Some may offer discounts for various services like gym memberships or purchases at certain retailers. Some offer discounts on vocational training courses while others pay for them, but others offer nothing at all.

In most cases, this has all been lumped together behind the core concept of “benefits”, but in a way that is not so easy to understand, let alone access, not least because the teams who administers typically deal with multiple vendors and systems to provision them.

Part of Cobee’s service stands out because it makes managing it all easier, for both employers and employees, investors say.

“What is unique about Cobee, compared to other players in this space, is its flexible platform, able to adapt to different types of businesses and different countries with little friction,” Itxaso said. del Palacio, partner at Notion, in a statement.

Upstream, Cobee is based on an app that employees use to browse and select the benefits they want to use to activate them. In cases where this involves physical trading or paying for specific items on the spot, then they are given a card which can be used to trade them.

In the background, these benefits as well as any benefits activated without the card (for example, health insurance plans or training) are calculated and automatically rolled into payroll to appear as monthly deductions from that person’s salary. employee. Users can still see a more detailed list of benefits and what they spend in the app. Cobee currently covers benefit programs for meals, transportation, childcare, training, gift cards, rent, life and health insurance, and soon a broader set of wellness options that are increasingly part of the offer (and expectations) of employers.

The system is efficient, in the sense that it is used regularly, for both mandatory daily benefits and optional benefits, Aranguren said. “Almost all of our users use Cobee every month,” he said. On average, employees use their payment card 10 times per month, a number increased by the fact that meals and transportation are reimbursed with the card. “That’s a lot for a monthly user,” he said.

While some industries, like tech, have been hit hard by layoffs, the bigger picture still seems to be that organizations are still hiring and trying to attract top talent, and also generally trying to keep those working productive and not frustrated by little things (and bigger things). As long as this continues, the focus will be on creating benefits that also work – openness for companies like Cobee.

Nick Sando, director of Octopus, estimates the size of the benefits market to be around $53 billion in business spend.

“Increased competition and mobility in the labor market have transformed employee benefits from a ‘nice to have’ tool into a ‘necessary’ tool for attracting and retaining talent,” he said in a statement. communicated. “Cobee is set to play a fundamental role in the benefits markets by providing both the best service providers and a foundational platform for HR teams to best manage and deliver these services.”

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Richard V. Johnson