It is a universal problem to find out what to pay employees. Startups, in particular, struggle with compensation because they often compete with other startups for talent.
In front of Roger Leethe issue came up repeatedly when he co-founded 401(k) provider Human Interest, which unicorn status reached in August 2021 and today employs almost 700 people. (Lee is no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of that company, although he remains on the board.)
“Finding out employee compensation has been one of our biggest sources of frustration,” Lee told australiabusinessblog.com. “We used what appeared to be 1,000 spreadsheets to track and determine salaries, equity, pay increases, pay grades, and offers.”
“It was impossible to get a holistic view of employee pay to ensure we were paying people fairly and competitively.”
So in October 2021, he teamed up with his former Harvard roommate Teddy Sherrill to start Advanced in an effort to address the problem. The company is emerging from stealth today, announcing a $6 million starting round raised earlier this year led by Inspired Capital and including participation from Floodgate, SV Angel as well as founders and C-level executives of Rippling, Wealthfront, Pilot.com, Thumbtack, Public.com and others.
Comprehensive’s target customers are startups, a world Lee knows, he has started two of his own, as well as the launch of Layoffs.FYI – a layoff tracker – at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Early clients include: Mercury, LaunchDarkly, Clearbit, Titan and Clever.
A number of startups have sprung up in this space in recent years. In August, Complete announced a Raising $4 Million. As Anita Ramaswamy of TC wrote at the time: “Series A startup OpenComp has a similar product aimed at high-growth companies looking to improve their recruitment and retention while…YC Supported Link wants to help technical workers understand their own pay.”
Lee hopes to differentiate Comprehensive from its competitors by making its offerings as comprehensive and comprehensive as possible. For example, it aims to help startups with all aspects of pay issues within their organization – going beyond salaries to also advise on pay reviews, employee communication and pay analysis.
“Employee compensation is now more complex and more at stake than ever, given the recent trends of remote work and inflation and the focus on DE&I,” said Lee.
He argues that the problem goes beyond human resources with multiple teams involved in the process and data spread across multiple systems. Lee hopes with Comprehensive that companies will “have the visibility to see the benefit-related information in one place.”
“If comp data is in silo systems, a company can’t really make informed decisions about compensation,” Lee added. “We’re aiming to unify all that data.”
Comprehensive is not just about recruiting employees, he emphasizes. It is also about employee retention. Lee estimates that employee compensation typically represents 70-80% of startups’ total costs, which is “by far the largest expense”.
“Now more than ever, startups want to know that the money they spend is being used to reward and retain their high performers and not being wasted,” says Lee.
Comprehensive uses a SaaS model where it charges companies a subscription based on their size. The 10-member startup plans to use its capital for growth and continue hiring.
Alexa von Tobel, founder and managing partner of Inspired Capital, believes that while the HR tech stack “continues” To move to the cloud, compensation is a thorny and complex technical challenge ripe for innovation.”
“Reward has fundamentally evolved over the past year and Comprehensive was born to respond to this particular moment: more remote companies with disparate pay expectations, salary inflation, increased need for disclosure of rewards and ratings for pay gaps, and more,” von Tobel wrote via e -mail.
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