Many companies offer discounts and special offers as a way to keep their employees happy. But keeping track of what those offers are and how to redeem them can sometimes be tricky.
PerkSpot, a Chicago startup, has built an online portal to make it easier for employees to discover and take advantage of these perks.
Founded by serial entrepreneur Chris Hill, the company was born out of an experience he had early on in his career. The company Hill worked for offered a discount at Brooks Brothers, which he didn’t find out about until after he had already shopped there for a while.
Figuring he couldn’t be the only person to run into this sort of problem, he started PerkSpot in 2006.
“We started kind of small with that, with a few discounts with Dell, Brooks Brothers and a few other merchants, and we’ve just grown over time to nearly 1,000 merchants now,” said CEO Jace Mouse. “We’ll help an employee save money on anything from a movie ticket for the weekend to shoes for work, apparel, travel or even new cars.”
In addition to negotiating with vendors on behalf of employers, PerkSpot takes care of all perk-related customer service requests. The company also works closely with merchants to make cashing perks in as seamless as possible. As a result, the company’s developers have built up expertise on everything from electronic coupons to payment processing and inventory tracking.
Mouse took over as CEO of the company three years ago when Hill started focusing more on his other venture, Spotlite. Upon taking the helm, Mouse started a revamp of the company’s technology base, putting particular emphasis on mobile experience.
“At that time there were about eight of us, with 125 clients,” said Mouse. “Now we’re at 25 employees with 500 clients.”
Seven of those employees were brought on within the last six months, and PerkSpot is still looking for some additional people to round out its team.
Bootstrapped outside of a few small investments from friends and family during the company’s infancy, Mouse is particularly proud of how far the team has been able to stretch its limited resources.
“It’s been a fun growth story for us, because we’ve done it in a very responsible way,” Mouse said. “It’s this kind of Midwest thing … we’re a good, viable, stable business, and we’re proud to have done that.”
As the company comes up on its tenth anniversary, its growing list of clients include companies like Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, Walgreens and Lyft. To Mouse, the opportunity to create a tool for some of the country's largest workforces is the most rewarding part of the job.
“I love that we’re here in Chicago, but we have this huge nation-wide impact,” said Mouse. “There’s a kid somewhere who starts school this week and they’re wearing new shoes, and they have the huge confidence boost that comes from that. And to think that PerkSpot and their employer made that happen makes a huge difference for us.”
Image via PerkSpot.