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The Price To Help Companies Keep Workers Happy: $4.5 Million

Startup AnyPerk this week announced $3 million in additional funding, bringing its total funding to $4.5 million. Investors are seeing a growing business need for companies to keep their employees happy, and see the “perks” AnyPerk offers such as movie discounts and babysitting services as helping in the cause.

Keeping employees happy is so important, some venture capitalists are investing millions in a startup whose “perks” are designed to help companies do just that.

AnyPerk, which views employee happiness as a business problem, announced on June 23 it has received an additional $3 million in funding, bringing total seed financing to $4.5 million. Founded in 2012, the company has created a perks platform to help its customers recognize and reward employees with the types of perks formerly available only to large organizations. The company, which has 2,500 clients nationwide, is based in San Francisco and has offices in Tokyo.

AnyPerk CEO and co-founder Taro Fukuyama tells PYMNTS.com that research has shown that only 13 percent of employees typically leave work happy each day. In Japan, two companies offer programs designed to provide incentives to employees through perks, but no major company existed in the U.S. that did so before AnyPerk launched, he said.

“If you’re as happy as you are on Christmas Day every day, you’ll just work that much harder,” he said, noting businesses receive back $11 in savings through employee retention for every dollar they spend providing perks.

AnyPerk plans to launch a mobile app later this year that will remind employees of the perks their company provides and that are available to them, such as up to 40 percent off movie tickets or 20 percent discounts on gym memberships, Fukuyama said.

Among the investors in the latest round for the Y Combinator graduate include Internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist Tony Hsieh; Tien Tzuo, CEO of Zuora; and Stephen Ross, co-founder and chairman of Vaynor RSE Ventures and owner of Equinox Gyms. They join original investors Andreessen-Horowitz, SV Angel and Y Combinator, as well as such institutional investors as Digital Garage, Funders Club, and CyberAgent.

AnyPerk said in a statement it has negotiated more than 400 perks for its customers – ranging from discounted pet sitting to gym memberships to vacation discounts – often by company request to fit their employees’ lifestyles.

Zach Ware, who along with Tony Hsieh invested in AnyPerk through the Vegas Tech Fund, said they invested because employee happiness has been fundamental to their success at Zappos, which was an AnyPerk customer before becoming an investor. “We think many companies intuitively understand how happiness can improve workplace culture and productivity but have lacked a simple way to deliver it,” he said in a statement. “AnyPerk has designed a way to make perks and recognition easy for benefits managers but still personal and customized to employees.”

AnyPerk says it will use the funding round to scale its business and continue to build clientele and to support the mobile app.

In AnyPerk’s announcement of the funding round, Kim Otis, people operations business partner at Zendesk, noted that a year ago Zendesk was growing rapidly and wanted to offer strong employee perks to continue the momentum, but it was taking too much time to negotiate perks directly.

“So we skipped the hassle and tried out AnyPerk,” Otis said. “One year later, we’ve grown to over 500 employees in the U.S. and continue to see the vast majority of our workforce regularly redeeming perks through AnyPerk.  It’s something our employees really love.”

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