Ironically, if you ask people at PerkSpot what the best part of their job is, it’s not the perks — although they are pretty good.
Instead, many will say that it’s a mixture of their teammates and the ability to grow professionally in a supportive environment. Until last year, when the company took in a $50 million funding round, PerkSpot had been bootstrapped. Since then, the company has entered a phase of super-charged growth. We caught up with three PerkSpot team members who have been around for a while to see what life on the team is like these days.
WHAT THEY DO: With 800 clients like Walgreens and McDonald's, PerkSpot helps over 10 million employees save money by offering exclusive discounts on top brands such as Samsung, Target and AMC Theaters.
WHERE THEY DO IT: River North
PERKS: Lots and lots of perks — after all, the company’s name is PerkSpot. They also have a private gym in their brand new offices.
Jace Mouse, CEO
Jace is responsible for the overall strategic direction and growth of PerkSpot. He also makes coffee and empties the recycling bins.
LESSONS FROM THE RANCH: Jace grew up on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma and brings many of the lessons he learned there to his work at PerkSpot. While he usually reserves his Oklahoma-isms for after-work beers with the team, he's been known to say a few around the office.
PerkSpot had been successfully bootstrapped until a recent $50 million round — how has the influx of cash changed things?
We’re doing more and we’re moving faster. The investment has allowed us to move quickly, take more risks and focus on longer-term initiatives. It was important for us to have this investment mean something really positive for our team members — who are all owners — and especially for our users. This means that we’ve been upgrading in areas that were needed, like a new office, but we’re staying true to our roots and keeping the culture that we built with the team from the beginning. We know this gets harder as we grow, so we constantly reassess where we are at with the perks we offer, professional development opportunities and the overall happiness of our team.
We’ve hired great people, then gave them the opportunity to make an outsized impact with their career.”
Even as a bootstrapped, relatively small company, your team has acquired an impressive client list — is there a secret behind the success?
We’ve hired great people, then gave them the opportunity to make an outsized impact with their career. Think about it this way: We’re 50 people using technology to reach 10 million people for many of the world’s top brands.
We’re a true partner to our clients, helping them deliver a program that meets the diverse interests of their teams, and most of our clients tell us the program is more popular than their healthcare plan. Many of our clients were already offering a discount program themselves — 10 or 20 vendors, listed somewhere on an intranet. But we made it easy for them to offer a bigger and better program with thousands of discounts. That’s the opportunity to truly align with a person’s dreams and passions, which is what makes PerkSpot so popular.
Justin Cardillo, VP of Sales
Justin leads the sales team, and it’s his job to make sure his team has all the resources they need to find new clients. Once PerkSpot’s clients are onboarded, Justin provides them with top-notch service.
BEYOND WORK: These days, Justin’s main hobby is being a dad. He currently has two kids in diapers and, when he’s not busy learning from the humbling experience of diaper-duty, he likes to stay as active as possible.
You’ve been with the company for a while. Has the sales process changed at all over that time?
We are always looking for ways to improve our process. We work hard to bring in smart people who are quick to challenge the status quo and offer up new ideas. It’s a really great feeling to look back at the changes we’ve made over the years and the things we’ve accomplished because of those changes. It is hard to say the job has gotten easier, but we are definitely fortunate to now have brand recognition.
However, we continue to be faced with new challenges. As the industry becomes more popular, we see imitators and competitors that make big promises they might not be able to deliver on. We care a lot about making sure that what we sell is what the client will actually experience, and that plays a big factor in our 99 percent client retention rate.
We work hard to bring in smart people who are quick to challenge the status quo and offer up new ideas.”
Your team is growing quickly. Are you looking for new people to help with existing clients or with acquiring new clients?
We are looking for both. We have several open sales roles that focus on bringing in new business. As more business is brought in, we will need to support these clients and new roles will be created on our client success team. Both teams have amazing leaders that help employees take their career to the next level, and I’m really excited about where our current team is at, as well as our growth plans.
What kinds of clients are your team working with on a daily basis?
We are fortunate to have around 800 of the best clients in the world, including Walgreens, Southwest Airlines and McDonald’s. Our team is focused on bringing on more of those enterprise accounts, which is an amazing opportunity and a great resume builder for them. As we grow the team and add new channels and products to sell, we are still focused around the same objective we have always had: solving business problems for HR leaders.
Jorge Diaz, Director of Engineering
Jorge directs the efforts of the software development cycle for PerkSpot’s tech team, from understanding the requests from the product management team through architecture and design, implementation, quality assurance, release, and maintenance.
WHAT HE’S WORKING ON: “We are now integrating with cloud services. Now, we can engage in descriptive and diagnostic analytics much easier and pave a path to predictive modeling.”
You’ve been with the team for roughly four months. What’s unique about PerkSpot’s engineering culture compared to previous places you’ve worked?
I inherited a self-motivated team. I have worked for large and small organizations in my career, and I was more used to teams that marched to the beat of an established process — nothing is more stifling to creativity and more energy-draining than a bureaucratic process.
While adhering to the Agile process, our engineering team is empowered to collaborate with the product management, designers, and marketing teams. This type of engagement fosters an environment where each individual can feel like a contributor to PerkSpot’s success. I can think of nothing more satisfying than having a fulfilling career in a place that recognizes each and every person’s contribution.
We plan, we work, we release, we assess the feedback, and like kaizen, start all over.”
The technology your team builds reaches more than 11 million people a year. How do you maintain tech like that? What’s the process for iterating existing parts of the platform?
The tech we use and maintain is secondary to our established tech team goal: be champions for customer satisfaction without sacrificing scientific excellence. Understanding the experience of those 11 million users (and counting), what works well and what can be improved, is key to our decision-making process. We adhere to the concept of kaizen [a Japanese word meaning “change for better”], continuous improvements, and we are very diligent in researching the next set of tools that can help us improve.
Sprint by sprint, feature by feature, we aim to deliver the changes that improve customer satisfaction and deliver a user experience that brings joy. We plan, we work, we release, we assess the feedback, and like kaizen, start all over.
What’s on the roadmap for the rest of the year and 2020 for your team? How will it better the PerkSpot platform?
Growth! We are expanding the team to support feature-rich releases planned for the remainder of 2019 and throughout 2020. Literally, every area of the platform is being revamped and enhanced with new functionality, all with the goal of improving customer satisfaction and engagement — kaizen! It is an exciting time at PerkSpot.