After the recent seed round, how does Re:benefit plan to conquer the European market?
The work environment is changing, and gone are the days of one-size-fits-all employment benefits. Re:benefit is a pioneer in the European market with its cutting-edge, flexible solution, revolutionizing the way benefits are managed. The platform offers corporate clients a key to not only helping them retain top talent but also motivating their employees. New Vision 3 recognized that potential and saw fit to join the latest investment round, supporting a team of top-tier founders in a promising market.
As Re:benefit continues to make waves in the benefits management platform field, we caught up with the company to discuss their exciting plans for the future. Established in 2020, Re:benefit has experienced substantial growth, building a client base of over 11K users who are now utilizing and benefiting from the platform. From expanding into new markets to growing its international network, Re:benefit's aspirations are as bold as its solution.
In this interview with Co-Founders Georgi Lilianov and George Gueorguiev, we delve into their vision for the future and the steps they're taking to bring their brand of benefits management to a wider audience.
New Vision 3: What led to the decision to complete one investment round and move forward with another?
Georgi Lilianov: Closing one investment round and taking a new one was a strategic decision made at a time when the Bulgarian business market was flourishing. By closing our first investment round, we aimed to sustain the company's growth in the initial few months, but the high demand for our benefits management platform exceeded our expectations. With an impressive response rate - 80% of customers interested in our solution, it became evident that we had found a promising market niche. This led us to reassess our expansion plans and consider entering foreign markets sooner than we initially anticipated. In early 2022, we began negotiations with potential investors to secure funding for a two-year expansion plan. Our goal was to quickly enter selected European and neighboring markets, taking advantage of the first-mover strategy and driving growth before alternative solutions emerged.
George Gueorguiev: Despite the good market traction, we were aware that international expansion is very risky and you need a much longer horizon. So, we decided to look for VC funding from firms with in-depth know-how and extensive experience in helping startups expand globally. With these considerations in mind, we opened up a new investment round and were fortunate enough to secure the support of New Vision 3, Vitosha Venture Partners, and Impetus Capital, who brought not just financial backing but also valuable expertise and resources. With their support, we are now well-positioned to achieve our goal of expanding into other markets, growing our network, and realizing our vision of becoming a leading player in the benefits management platform space.
What are the main objectives of this investment round?
Georgi Lilianov: The primary objective of this investment round is to advance technology development and enhance the capabilities of our benefits management platform. This will include increasing the technology team and adding features such as customer autonomy and multilingual support. Our final objective is to drive efficiency and automate the benefits management process for HR departments. We aim to achieve economies of scale and handle the complex structure of billing, claims, and vendors.
George Gueorguiev: Half of the funds will be invested in marketing and sales efforts, with a focus on expanding into international markets such as Turkey, Greece, and Serbia. The aim is to position ourselves as a leading technology company in digitizing and automating the benefits management process, starting in neighboring markets and ultimately expanding on a global scale.
Can you share with us how you choose your investors for this round?
Georgi Lilianov: The selection of investors was based on their alignment with our goals, vision for potential growth, and ability to build an international network. We prioritize those with strong international connections, in line with Re:benefit's focus on global exposure and partnership opportunities. We are grateful to have partners like Vitosha Venture Partners and New Vision 3, who bring extensive knowledge to help us reach new markets and knowledge on scaling our operations, and Impetus, who bring their expertise and experience working with the Bulgarian Stock Exchange.
How did the idea for Re:benefit was born, and what makes it unique?
George Gueorguiev: Born from a need for a more flexible benefits management solution, we created Re:benefit to fill the void in the Bulgarian market. With a background in managing companies and departments, I realized the need for an all-in-one platform that allows HR departments to deliver the right benefits for employees. After sharing this issue with Georgi Lilianov, we joined forces with Milen Manev, whose expertise in product development helped steer us in the right direction to build Re:benefit. Our diverse backgrounds and expertise formed the perfect team, allowing us to build the platform and target it effectively at the right customers. Without this synergy, we wouldn't have been able to reach our targets. Thus the platform gradually gained traction and positive feedback, guaranteeing easy implementation, and a well-structured system, without requiring any additional installations or licenses.
What makes Re:benefit stand out from its competitors?
Georgi Lilianov: Companies find our platform to be a valuable HR tool, as employees can choose from different benefits based on budget, and the sales process is streamlined, taking only a few days to fully implement the enterprise solution. Most of our clients are international companies or have branches outside of Bulgaria, and have found the platform to be unmatched in terms of HR value and employee engagement. In just 2 years of operation, Re:benefit has gained a significant market advantage with over 11 000 platform users and over 50 clients. This and the low customer dropout rate speak to the stickiness of its customer base and the user-friendly interface.
What are the future plans? Will there be another round?
Georgi Lilianov: Our plans for Re:benefit are to become self-sustaining and profitable by 2024, and to expand into new markets. These plans will be based on the development of surrounding geographies and advancements in HR technology over the next two years.
George Gueorguiev: At Re:benefit, we have a skilled and dedicated team who is constantly developing and improving our platform, which allows us to provide an agile and personalized approach to employee benefits. With a strong pipeline for the next year, we are optimistic about the future of the company and can't wait to see where the next few years will take us. Our focus remains on providing top-notch benefits management solutions to our clients and maintaining our position as a leader in the market.