9 May 2023
Amsterdam - Today, the Dutch technology company Equip announces the successful raise of €2 million in its pre-seed funding round, led by XO Ventures and with the participation of Antler and twelve angel investors with backgrounds in technology and the financial sector. Equip partners with employers to eliminate the primary source of stress for their employees: financial uncertainty. Equip’s platform offers employees a complete view of their current and expected financial situation, personal advice from experts, and educational content about finances. With the funding, Equip is poised to make the support of employees in their financial well-being the norm across Europe.
An increase in financial complexity, choices, and personal responsibility, combined with high inflation, and an increasingly difficult path towards home ownership, has made achieving financial security much more challenging in the past couple of years. These challenges have made 60% of Dutch households financially vulnerable or even unhealthy, especially those under the age of 34, according to recent research by Deloitte, in collaboration with Dutch research institute Nibud and Leiden University.
Financial worries of employees negatively impact employers
As financial uncertainty is identified as the greatest source of stress amongst employees and therefore has a major impact on individuals, research shows it also leads to significant consequences for businesses. When experiencing this form of stress, employees become two-to-three times more likely to switch jobs, which poses a challenge for employers in today's already tight labor market. In addition, financial stress results in a weekly loss of three hours of productivity per employee, and higher rates of sick leave. For employers, this makes for a total of hidden costs equal to at least €5,000 per employee per year.
To offer both employers and employees a suitable solution, Toon Peek (ex-J.P. Morgan), Jan Klinkhamer (ex-J.P. Morgan), and Jan Cees van Senden (ex-McKinsey) founded Equip: the first all-in-one platform in the Netherlands to improve the financial well-being of employees. Equip is paid for by employers through a subscription model and offered to employees for free. The €2 million funding raised from XO Ventures, with participation from Antler and twelve angels with backgrounds in technology and the financial sector, including at Adyen, ABN AMRO, Secfi, Silverflow, and Van Lanschot Kempen, will be used to further develop the platform. The aim is to become the leading platform for improving the financial well-being of employees in Europe within five years.
82% of employees want financial support from their employer
For an employee, their job forms the primary source of financial stability as it provides salary, additional benefits, and professional development. However, 82% of employees indicate that they want additional support from their employer to obtain more financial security. Although the current high inflation rates have created more understanding among HR professionals and executive leadership for financial uncertainty, the existing solutions are inadequate. There are hardly any companies in the Netherlands that offer their employees support from financial planners and coaches, and existing platforms and applications lack user-friendliness and a holistic approach.
A holistic view of finances, personal advice, and education
Equip’s platform offers employees a comprehensive set of financial planning tools to gain complete insight in their current and future financial situation. Advanced algorithms calculate what financial aspects individuals need to pay attention to and suggest direct actions to improve their current situation and achieve their future financial goals. In all activities on the platform and suggestions, employees are supported by simple-to-use digital tools and explanations of the 'whys' and 'hows'. All communicated in clear and understandable language. In addition, Equip offers employees direct access to certified and independent financial planners and coaches, whom they can contact as often as they wish. Furthermore, the platform contains educational content about finances such as articles and videos, and interactive workshops are hosted regularly. None of the data and interactions of employees are shared with their employer or third parties to ensure anonymity of use.
“Supporting financial well-being is the next big frontier for employers towards more satisfied, productive, and loyal employees. In the current economic climate, this support is no longer a "nice-to-have", but a "need-to-have", says Toon Peek, co-founder of Equip. "Our mission is simple: we want every employee to experience financial peace-of-mind, regardless of their income and wealth. Accomplishing this goal not only results in a positive effect on the bottom line of employers; together we're also creating a positive impact on society."
Since its launch in September 2022, Equip has been very well received in the Dutch market and is currently being used by numerous companies, such as War Child, Ticketswap, and Rituals. Engagement on the platform is much higher than other well-being benefits that are offered by employers and the average user satisfaction scores a 9 out of 10.
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