Founders typically spend a big chunk of change every month on employee benefit programmes — from mental health to meal cards — but take up is often low.
That’s the problem that Coverflex — a Lisbon-based flexible compensation startup — is looking to solve. Today it’s announcing a €15m equity Series A round to scale its all-in-one compensation platform, which already includes the likes of Revolut, Santander and Bolt as clients.
The investment was led by SCOR Ventures, the corporate venture arm of French reinsurer SCOR, alongside high-profile business angels including Firmin Zocchetto of PayFit, a cloud-based payroll solution, Job van der Voort, CEO of distributed payroll platform Remote, and the founder of spreadsheet software company Rows, Humberto Ayres Pereira.
The new funding brings the startup’s total investment to €20m since launching in 2021. The fresh cash will see Coverflex expand its operations into Italy, where it says competition is slim.
The all-in-one benefits solution catching investors’ attention
Employee engagement sits at less than 20% on average and companies are wasting billions of euros on unused compensation packages, says Coverflex’s CEO Miguel Santo Amaro.
Managing employee perks can also be a big time drain for HR teams. “The challenge for HR teams is having multiple products for different solutions,” says Santo Amaro; many companies have separate SaaS solutions for meal cards, employee perks and health and wellbeing services. Coverflex bundles everything into just one platform.
Clients that sign up to Coverflex can customise their employee compensation packages by choosing from a perk pick n' mix bag — up to 10 benefits all available from an app or a wallet.
Benefits range from paid childcare, gym access and wellbeing services to senior family care expenses, retirement funds and financed education. Meal allowances are an integral part of the company’s offerings too.
Coverflex’s customers are startups, scaleups and established businesses, including Santander, Natixis, OysterHR, Bolt, Emma, Revolut and Smartex. The company saw 400% growth in customer revenue year-on-year in 2022, Santa Amaro says, and now has 70k users signed up from 3,600 companies in Portugal.
Currently, customers can opt in to two plans: Coverflex Meal and Coverflex Wallet. Coverflex Meal costs €1 per employee/month, or €0.50/month on a yearly plan; Coverflex Wallet costs €6 per employee/month, or €5/month yearly. Both carry a one-off fee of €6 per employee for the card issue.
Other big players in the employee benefits and wellbeing space
Coverflex isn’t the only startup trying to disrupt the company benefits market (which is estimated to grow from €200bn in 2022 to €300bn by 2029).
Ben, founded in London in 2019, is a SaaS platform that offers core employment benefits such as life insurance, health and pension, as well as extras such as gym memberships and remote working allowances.
The company raised $16m in a Series A round back in August 2022 and now serves five countries in Europe — the UK, Poland, Spain, Germany and France — as well as the US, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa.
And there’s Cobee, which raised €40m in a Series B round in November 2022, a Madrid-founded platform and app that helps companies in Portugal and Spain organise benefits, including a payment card and integration with payroll. The startup soon hopes to expand into Mexico and other Latin American markets.
Meanwhile, French employee app and card company, Swile, raised almost €200m in 2021 at a €1bn valuation from the likes of SoftBank. Swile offers a one-card solution to multiple company benefits like meal vouchers, gift cards and mobility initiatives.
As its competitors gun for clients in a crowded marketplace, Coverflex set its sights on Italy — following its initial success in Portugal — as an underserved destination with no newcomers in the employee benefits space, explains Santo Amaro.
Swapping the typical northern European investment hotspots (UK, France and Germany) for a southern counterpart initially had some investors scratching their heads. But Santo Amaro says revenue opportunity in what he calls “the incumbent most profitable market in the world” won them over.
Coverflex has raised in a tough fundraising environment. Next it’ll need to make it through what’s likely to be a tough few years for the employee benefits industry. As startups look to extend their runway and make layoffs, expensive “nice-to-haves” are often the first things to be axed.
The pitch deck
Here's the pitch deck that Coverflex used to secure its Series A.