London-based employee benefits platform Ben has raised $16 million in a Series A round that will see the company up the headcount as it further pushes the envelope on its SaaS and payments technology offer. Since its inception in late 2019, Ben has now raised a total of $21 million.
You don’t need to stick your head too far out the window to realise that the pandemic had changed employee expectations well beyond any form of recognition prior. Hell, the pandemic has even given birth to a workforce movement, The Great Resignation, one that is still ongoing according to the World Economic Forum, and one that a quarter of American job-leavers are now regretting.
Once the benefit solely (to a certain extent, and for better or for worse) of the elusive freelancer, the pandemic has shown a wide swath of the labour force that “work” and “office” are not mutually exclusive. So broad is the enlightenment that according to MercerMarsh Benefits, only 31 percent of employers are expecting to return to a “full house”.
Beyond the benefits of remote work, these same arbiters have come to expect more from their employer beyond insurance and retirement packages, and are now seeking for their own wellbeing to be taken into account as well.
In so much, the market has responded with mental health services and apps a-plenty, fertility services, parenthood support, and the list goes on and on. Basically, if there’s a need, chances are, there’s an app for that. And don’t HR managers know it.
However, for all it’s worth (pssst … around $1 trillion), the benefits ecosystem is still a smorgasbord of players all vying for the attention of many but getting lost in the shuffle (read: stored in spreadsheets) as many companies report billions of dollars just tossed out the window on unused, one-size-fits-all benefits packages, often pigeonholed at one group, and not necessarily applicable to a diverse and global workforce.
“This is the first time in history that four generations coexist in the workforce at the same time. Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z participate in a complex global economy, and their benefit requirements vary and fluctuate,” commented Ben CEO and co-founder Sebastian Fallert. “Companies, many of whom are spending around 33% of payroll on benefits, are reassessing their traditional benefits packages to fit more culturally and ethnically diverse teams distributed around the world.”
Paging Dr. Ben. Dr. Ben to the HR department
Instead of the this-will-cover-most approach, Ben is looking at employee benefits from another angle, one al la carte, if you will. Eschewing the restrictions perhaps placed upon employees by a package, Ben offers workers to pick and choose what benefits suit them best at the time.
All of this is managed through a per-employee Ben Mastercard that provides a flexible allowance of services that can be capped at/based on budgets set by employers.
Beyond the blatantly obvious upsides for employees, HR managers around the world have reportedly been sleeping better at night and breathing sighs of relief (this statement has no factual basis, but…)
By offering HR pros the ability to open the floodgates of benefits through a central marketplace, they’re instantly freed from the arduous task of sourcing and managing a benefits package that covers most, if not all (impossible).
By no means alone in the field of employee benefits, Ben does cover the standard bases: integrating accounting, HR, and Payroll systems, thereby helping HR managers streamline the onboarding, enrollment, management, and offboarding processes.
In a strong vote of confidence, Ben’s $16 million Series A round was led by Atomico, who’ve picked more than a few winning horses in the HR sector, backing Gympass in both Series A and Series B rounds, Peakon, who went on to be acquired by Workday for $700 million, JobandTalent’s Series B round, and Gaia’s Series A. Cherry Ventures, DN Capital, Seedcamp, and undisclosed “others” participated, with Peakton CEO and CRO Phil Chambers and Neil Ryland (respectively), Remote CEO Job van der Voort,, Personio CPO Ross Seychell, and, again, “others” also showing their support.
“The challenge of managing benefits has become increasingly difficult for companies with a global workforce, especially given the ongoing war for top talent. The status quo is ‘one-size-fits-most’ benefits packages, that are managed in spreadsheets in an archaic and largely manual manner,” commented Atomico’s Sasha Vidiborskiy. "Ben’s unique platform massively reduces the admin burden on HR and seamlessly delivers benefits that employees really care about. This flexibility is crucial in the current macroeconomic environment, where company performance and productivity is (sic) heavily reliant on employee satisfaction and retention.”