This startup just got $11.5 million to make employees everywhere as happy as they are at Google

Anyperk founders taro fukuyama
AnyPerk CEO Taro Fukuyama (left) and cofounder Sunny Tsang (right) AnyPerk

AnyPerk, a startup that helps companies like Salesforce and Virgin America offer their employees discounts on things like movie tickets or fitness classes, has received $11.5 million of new investment capital.

That cash is going to help AnyPerk finance a new, bolder mission beyond just serving as a broker of perks, says CEO Taro Fukuyama: AnyPerk is now going to go a step further and offer consulting services to help every company be as happy, ideally, as Google — recently named the best place in America to work.

With this deal, AnyPerk has raised just over $25 million in total, from investors including DCM Ventures, Nissay Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and famed entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.

The shift in strategy speaks to a larger trend in how companies, particularly in Silicon Valley, are thinking about hiring and retaining their best employees, Fukuyama says.

When AnyPerk started out in 2012, Fukuyama says, Silicon Valley startups were turning to Google-style perks like catered lunches, personal shopping, and team getaways as an attempt to woo job top candidates away from their competitors.

With a tech boom underway, the timing was good. AnyPerk, which came out of the Y Combinator startup accelerator after its founders moved from Japan, found a nice niche helping companies stay competitive in the job market via perks. To date, it has 1,000 paying customers.

But AnyPerk and its customers noticed a distressing trend: No matter how great the perks, Silicon Valley programmers were still moving on to their next opportunity within about two years of joining up. Deep discounts on Instacart grocery deliveries weren’t encouraging employees to stick around, because competitors offered similar perks of their own.

Anyperk team
The AnyPerk team. AnyPerk

Meanwhile, as investment capital became harder to find for AnyPerk’s startup customers over the last year or so, they wanted to look at using their cash more “wisely,” Fukuyama says. That meant spending less on perks to attract employees, and more on keeping the ones they have.

Consultants with benefits

AnyPerk decided that something had to be done. Earlier this year, AnyPerk introduced Rewards, which allows managers to recognise their employees with points towards things like Amazon or Starbucks gift cards. The idea is to make it easier to show appreciation for their employees, and Fukuyama says they’re seeing strong early results.

The next step, Fukuyama says, is for AnyPerk to grow beyond software and into a consulting business — going in to companies and helping them think about their culture, past perks and free food and into how they make employees actually happy. You know, like Google.

Ultimately, he says, perks may work great for some startups, but they’re not right for every company. The end goal isn’t to baby your employees, it’s to have a happier and more productive workplace, whatever form that takes. Previously, AnyPerk was relying on its software. With this funding, it can take a more hands-on approach.

“Some companies, giving a raise is just the best solution,” Fukuyama says.

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