To be a Cobee user, you have to work for a company. This startup allows you to save when you pay for coffee, the subway or English classes. The final savings is reflected in the payroll.
Specifically, they offer transportation, childcare, food, training and medical insurance services. The employees have a VISA card to pay for all the services they receive and decide at all times how and when to use it. And through the mobile app they control their monthly expenses and visualize the savings achieved.
“Using our Visa card, the employee enjoys the benefits available and achieves savings in each transaction he makes, which he can also view live after each purchase” highlights Borja Aranguren, CEO of Cobee in an interview with MERCA2.
Improve the formula
Its cofounders, Borja Aranguren and Daniel Olea launched the startup in November 2018 with the aim of providing companies with a technological tool with which to manage flexible compensation plans and social benefits for employees. Currently they have more than 3,000 users.
The formulas that were already in the market for food vouchers, nursery checks, transport cards, etc. “They sounded to us in the last century and we discovered that they presented multiple inefficiencies and that most of them had to be managed manually,” explains Aranguren.
However, “we all like to save” and, in his view, there should be no reason not to use these types of tax benefits. Cobee was born to close that “gap” and make the company’s processes more efficient, getting the benefits to be used by a minimum of 80% of the workforce.
Social and enviromental impact
The founders of Cobee want to be a socially responsible company and generate a positive economic, environmental and social impact. Among his achievements is the reduction of paper use, eliminating printed tickets, data protection and employee welfare.
They also allow each employee to dedicate a timely or monthly amount to UNHCR humanitarian projects and pay taking advantage of the savings generated and without this costing the employee more. As for the process, “it is very simple.” It is done entirely through the Cobee app where you only have to indicate the amount to donate and the desired periodicity.
How does it work?
The company has a platform to charge its employees and configure benefits, and may include specific restrictions if they need it. In addition, they have a tracking panel where they can view updated consumption in real time and can automatically close the month so that the information is loaded on the payroll of employees or sent directly to the agency.
Once the employees are incorporated, they download the application for free, request their card and can now use Cobee.
In the app, the employee can see and decide how much money from their payroll goes to the different benefits and can see what the savings that each of these consumptions will be going to be. In this way, the employee sees the day-to-day savings and has absolute control over his salary. “When he wants to spend and when not, no.”
Their business model is based on an SAAS model in which they only charge a fixed fee to companies for each active employee that uses the service. That is, they seek a “win-to-win with the company” and be half-responsible for the success or failure of benefit plans.
For Cobee there are two types of competitors, suppliers of products for food, transportation, medical insurance and childcare. That is, the traditional players of the well-known restaurant ticket, checks and vouchers. “The market is operated entirely by three very large companies for more than 50 years”.
And the consultants for the implementation of Flexible Compensation Plans (PCF). Suppliers of platforms for the management of flexible compensation and benefits for employees, where they usually include products that subcontract with different suppliers (including the three suppliers of the previous point).
“Cobee creates a third way, since we are supplier and product at the same time”.
Present and future
The startup wants to continue growing in number of companies and in the short term they want to include life and retirement insurance among their services. In the long term, they look to the foreign market and think about expanding, but first growing in the national market and becoming a benchmark.
So far they have been financed with an initial Business Angels Investment and subsequently received 375,000 euros in a round of financing with Venture Capitals (Encomenda, Sabadell, ABAC Capital and Lanai Partners).
Recently, they have just won the BBVA Open Talent Spain 2019 award and will receive 100,000 euros of investment through the creation of BBVA startups, which will provide them with a strategic advice plan, access to experts and other resources to continue growing the business.
“Having been recognized globally by a bank like BBVA will also help us be considered a solid player in the market”, he concludes.
Also published on Medium.