Madrid-based Cobee is tasked with a mission to revolutionize the employee benefits sector. The startup has just secured €40 million in new capital to further develop the product in existing and new markets, making employee benefits and wellbeing a standard for modern businesses.
Employees really are the bedrock of any successful business – and it’s a fact more companies are starting to realize. With new approaches to work and wellbeing, new approaches to attracting and retaining top talent are also being seen in the business world. Placed in the wider context of a talent shortage, businesses are now placing even more attention on how they can remain competitive and attractive to talent and it’s brought a wave of interesting HR SaaS solutions.
Madrid-based Cobee, which we’ve been watching for some time as a Spanish startup to watch as well as a startup pioneering the employee engagement space, has just secured €40 million in Series B – showing that there’s still growth in Europe’s tech and startup ecosystem.
- €40 million Series B led by Octopus Ventures and Notion Capital
- Balderton Capital, Speedinvest and Dila Capital, which have participated in previous rounds, strengthen their investments
- The investment comes after a year of sustainable growth which has seen the company multiply its business 3-fold in one year
- This adds to a €14 million raise last year
Borja Aranguren, co-founder and CEO of Cobee: “For us, it’s very important that investors understand our market and share the vision of what we want to build. Both Octopus and Notion had previously considered other employee benefits startups in Europe, but could not get convinced. However, our vision matched perfectly with their thesis, so it’s been a perfect match. We have an outstanding combination of investment funds in Europe and Latam, which will unlock the potential in our target markets.”
Revolutionizing employee benefits
Founded in 2019 by Borja Aranguren and Nacho Travesí, Cobee offers a 100% digital platform aimed at staff wellbeing and taking employee benefits management and salary sacrifice to another level.
Cobee provides a flexible employee benefits management platform that brings benefits to staff – from gyms to insurance products and vouchers. On the dashboard, both companies and people can access all services on the website and their mobile phone app, without intermediaries or complications. The benefits are all pulled into one place which staff can then redeem via the Cobee card.
It gives HR teams a compensation tool to reduce administration and paperwork and improves the company’s employer branding. In turn, staff can access and enjoy all benefits when and as they choose in a single place and with a single card, and can consult their transactions and savings in real-time.
It’s been a busy year for the Madrid-based team which has undergone significant internal changes in the last couple of months, all part of a strategy to continue to innovate and shape the world of employee compensation. The company has fully renewed its employee benefits platform in order to improve its usability and therefore promote its scalability.
This is in addition to updates and improvements to the app so that everyone can conveniently access their benefits and check their savings quickly and easily. It also launched the virtual card to be able to carry out transactions from the very first minute without the physical version, thus reducing the use of plastic, among other important changes.
Increasingly, companies are transforming their approach to employee wellbeing, recognising that giving some benefits and perks goes a long way. Cobee has been well-positioned to take advantage of this cultural change and has seen rapid growth across Spain and Portugal. The likes of Glovo, Petronas, Avis and Tripadvisor are all now using Cobee to manage employee benefits and improve wellbeing.
In 2021, Cobee opened its first office in Portugal. This new capital will allow Cobee to further develop its current business in Spain and Portugal as well as expand into new markets. The company starts its internationalization to Latin America in one of the biggest markets in the region: Mexico.
Aside from committing to international investors in recent months, the company has added different professionals to its management team who have worked in established start-ups in different markets, such as Cabify, Gympass and Binance. In addition to welcoming all this new talent, the company expects to increase its staff to over 200 people in the next 18 months in order to strengthen its main business areas in different hubs: Madrid, Lisbon, and soon in Mexico and other Southern Europe markets.
Itxaso del Palacio, partner at Notion: “We are thrilled to be joining Cobee in this journey to help employees get the most out of their benefits. What’s unique about Cobee, compared to other players in this space, is their flexible platform, capable of being adapted to different company types and different countries with little friction. At the moment, Cobee is operating in Spain and Portugal and is aiming to launch several additional countries in the next 12 months.”
On the product side, Cobee has unveiled plans to completely personalize compensation plans through the creation of new services as part of its catalog. These include products linked to physical and emotional wellbeing and personal development plans: increasingly growing trends that will improve the perception of the company and improve employees’ quality of life.
The HR innovators have also integrated with similarly growing companies in recent months, such as Factorial and Personio.
Promoting employee wellbeing is a trend that isn’t going anywhere, and Cobee continues to prove its value.
Nick Sando, Principle at Octopus Ventures: “Increased competition and mobility in the job market has transformed employee benefits from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘need to have’ talent attraction and retention tool. Cobee stands to play a fundamental role in the employee benefits markets by providing both best-in-class service providers and a core platform for HR teams to best manage and distribute these services. Representing over $53bn of business spend, the market opportunity for employee benefits is massive and we couldn’t be more excited to support this business on its next phase of growth.”