“Build something you want.” That’s the biggest lesson AnyPerk cofounder Taro Fukuyama says he learned from his time at the Y Combinator program in Silicon Valley. And although his company offers employees benefits and perks at companies nationwide, it comes from humble beginnings, getting its start in a Taco Bell parking lot nearly two years ago.
The startup launched in March 2012, and has since raised over $1.5 million in its seed round of funding. Backed by venture capitalist Andreesen Horowitz, the company says revenue is growing 30% month over month. Other big names to come out of the Y Combinator program are Reddit, AirBnB and Dropbox.
“There is a huge demand from both employees and H.R. departments to offer robust employee perks, but there aren’t a lot of companies doing it well,” Fukuyama says. “The average employee perks program has anywhere from 10-to-12% engagement companywide. We average 78%.”
Today AnyPerk is working with big-name companies nationwide, including Pandora, Pinterest, Square and Hulu. Other recognizable names from its 2,500 clients include Zappos and Cushman Wakefield. Fukuyama says the startup is collaborating with any brand looking to focus on employee engagement, wellness and retention.
Some of the popular offers include discounts on monthly cell phone bills from Verizon, T-mobile and AT&T, as well as discounted movie tickets at AMC theaters, Regal or Cinemark, he says. The popularity of these perks depend on the company’s region.
“On the West Coast, we see a lot of redemptions for transportation perks like ZipCar, Lyft, Flywheel ,” he says. “In other parts of the country, it’s our gym memberships with New York Sports Club, Equinox or Bally Total Fitness. But overall, the two biggest perk categories are one, our cell phone plan discounts and two, especially with Christmas and cold weather around the corner, it’s our $8.50 movie tickets.”
And at a time when companies may be unable to give their workers monetary compensation, these offerings have become key for employee retention, Fukuyama says. Nearly 95% of candidates consider a company’s benefits package before agreeing to come on board, he says.
“Today, the talent war is getting crazy in New York, San Francisco and the Valley—really all of the country,” he says. “Recruiting and retaining top talent has become the number one focus for almost every successful company. And with major employers like Google, Boeing, IBM, and Facebook offering their employees everything from free food to unlimited vacation time etc., it's become critical for every company, large or small, to offer a robust perks and benefits program that speaks to a culture of rewarding and engaging their employees.”
In 2014, AnyPerk plans to continue adding to its current team of 25 employees, and also shift its focus to mobile. He calls this “seamless integration of perks into your daily life."
“Most perks programs work by making you log into their website, search for products you want to buy and then print out a voucher to redeem the discount,” Fukuyama says “That’s a hassle we are fixing. From web integration to mobile apps, we are going to bring the discount to you. Our goal is to make it so that if you walk into a Starbucks, your phone will recognize where you are and send you an alert that says, ‘Make sure you save $1 on your latte.’”