Most companies offer employee perks, ranging from healthcare, bike or travel loans, and access to support lines. However, the traditional offers are not necessarily the best for every employee, and despite the good intentions, businesses are unable to tailor their offers.
London-based Juno, an online platform for workplace benefits comes to the rescue and is also preparing to raise a £10 million Series A funding round to help continue its rapid growth. Bolstered by growing corporate awareness of the need to offer employees meaningful benefits, Juno hopes to consolidate their position as the largest wellness platform of its kind.
A mould-breaking company
Backed by Mark Pearson’s Fuel Ventures, Juno started when its founder and CEO, Ally Fekaiki, used his then-employer’s assistance programme following a bereavement and was less than impressed. “It cost me £100, there was a long wait, and the whole experience was just terrible,” he told UKTN. “It made me think, what if someone built something that was well-designed, friendly to the customer, tailored, and relevant?”
Juno works by giving employees a monthly allowance that they can use to purchase services from their marketplace. This means that employees get benefits that are meaningful to them, rather than having a limited choice, and can get the help that will be the most beneficial to them. While that might mean the traditional assistance programme, parents might prefer to purchase some childcare, or house-cleaning, while others might prefer to buy an art pass to indulge in cultural therapy. Fekaiki highlights this benefits the company as well as the employee, “it means the company is providing equal care to everyone, and being inclusive at the same time, without having to figure out what everyone needs.”
A rapidly growing platform
Founded in 2019, Juno has seen rapid growth as companies moved away from traditional employee offers during the pandemic. In 2021 alone, Juno has increased revenues by 10x and expanded both its customer base and offer.
Juno works by creating partnerships with providers, such as Barry’s Bootcamp, Patch Plants, Detox Kitchen and Koru Kids. These can then advertise their services on the platform, allowing employees to use their budget to buy from them. The number of providers is growing all the time as Juno identify new providers, there are currently 235 active providers, more than half of which were added this year alone.
And the number of businesses using Juno for their employee benefits has also grown, with 80 being added in 2021. Current clients include Paddle, BornSocial and OysterHR. The growth has pushed them not just into a market-leading position, but also a market-making position. “We are projected to turn over more than £4 million by the end of this year, making us the largest of our kind,” says Fekaiki, “we’re creating a new category: the personalised employee experience.”
What makes Juno unique
Juno currently offers a full range of services other employee service providers can’t compete with and can offer the service globally. Kate Moerel, Juno’s CCO, sees this not just as a competitive advantage for Juno, but a benefit for client companies. “They have a duty of care and a responsibility to a global workforce,” explains Moerel. “They know that people, irrespective of their location, are all able to access the same level of care, the same level of therapy, the same level of support, however, they may want to spend their allowance on their mental health and wellbeing.”
The service is also highly scalable, allowing even small enterprises to be competitive in their employee offer. “Many smaller businesses are embracing this because they may not have an HR department, but they want to provide big company benefits,” says Fekaiki.
Juno is also an appealing prospect for those who want to ensure their spending supports the wider economy. “A lot of our members value Juno because we support ethical, sustainable, independent brands,” says Moerel. This means employees can ensure their funding goes to businesses that align with their ethics, while also helping those smaller independent businesses win business on a major global platform.
Fekaiki is keen to maintain the momentum of Juno’s growth with the Series A funding. Although the London-based platform has global customers, they are keen to expand into the US market, planning offices in New York and Los Angeles. “We’ve seen a lot of traction in the US, and we want to expand our sales and marketing, and product and engineering teams because we’ve been very, very lean,” says Fekaiki.
Above all, Fekaiki and Moerel want to expand Juno’s role in providing an effective and meaningful wellbeing product for employees, offering a win-win for everyone. “One of the great things about Juno,” says Moerel, “is that it’s not just about your mental health and wellbeing, it’s also about your learning and development as an employee within a firm.”
Interview by Akansha Srivastava