Pebble Launches to Close the Employee Benefits Gap, Giving Small Companies Access to the Types of Coverage Previously Reserved for Larger Corporations
AI-powered technology streamlines the entire benefits process to save companies an average of 20%
Company adds $12M to close out $17M seed round as it scales customer base
SEATTLE, December 07, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pebble, a new company dedicated to providing better, smarter and more comprehensive health benefits plans to startups, publicly launched today after completing a highly successful, invite-only beta program. Its first-of-its-kind financial engineering and technology applications build generous employee benefits plans within the ideal construct for employees and small companies while keeping costs under control. Pebble partners with all major health carriers to create packages tailored to each company’s needs, goals, and budget. In addition to developing plans, health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs), Pebble also steps up when benefits like mental health or fertility coverage can’t be negotiated or worked into a company’s package with a single carrier. It leverages tools available as a Third-Party Administrator to help manage costs, filling in these gaps left by large insurance carriers.
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Pebble cofounders Manoj Pinna and Vinay Reddy (Photo: Business Wire)
In addition to publicly launching its product, Pebble also announced the close of a $12 million second seed round of funding. This brings the company’s total funds raised to date to $17.3 million. The round was led by XYZ Venture Capital, with participation from Founders’ Co-op. XYZ’s Ross Fubini joined the company’s board of directors. Pebble will use the money to scale its go-to-market teams as well as to invest in ongoing product development.
"There’s been a major shift in how employers evaluate health insurance — more than ever companies are looking to offer the most competitive benefits whilst reducing costs in this inflationary environment," says Fubini. "Pebble uses technology to allow startups to take on the risk of self insurance previously only reserved for companies like Apple, Google or Facebook while also saving them money and resources. The company’s founders, Manoj and Vinay, are tremendous operators who understand how to build in highly regulated environments from their time at Nubank."
Pebble debuts at a time when small businesses, startups in particular, are at a distinct disadvantage in terms of the healthcare benefits they can provide employees. While large companies have dedicated broker teams with the ability to develop customized plans structured specifically for their business– and at lower rates– smaller businesses generally have to make do with limited options available through off-the-shelf packages. Such packages often exclude benefits like fertility assistance and mental health coverage, which have become important considerations to employees. Over 60% of large companies aim to offer fertility benefits to their employees, but these benefits are unavailable to smaller companies outside Pebble. Additionally, the onboarding and user experience at startups leaves a lot to be desired, placing a heavy burden on HR teams that are already overextended. Pebble addresses all of these issues and more.
A Better Way to Extend Health Benefits
Powered by AI, Pebble’s technology creates custom benefits packages for small companies that rival those offered by America’s biggest corporations while providing member care experiences that are human-centered and transparent. Its plans are also significantly less expensive than current off-the-shelf solutions, enabling startups to do more for their employees than previously possible. Early customers include startups like Joshu, Dendron and Mystery.
"Healthcare is one of the leading cost centers for startups, yet one that gets little attention. The options are difficult to navigate, and coverage almost never meets expectations," said Manoj Pinna, co-founder and CEO of Pebble. "We can streamline the entire process for startups, saving them an average of 20% on what they would be paying otherwise. And rather than put this savings back in their pockets, companies are reinvesting it in additional healthcare services and more comprehensive benefits to better serve their employees. With Pebble, startups can compete with any company out there on benefits, which makes them more competitive in the battle for talent at very little cost or hassle to themselves."
In addition to offering best-in-class health benefits, Pebble also takes on the forms, enrollment and payroll deductions while working directly with employees to resolve any issues with carriers or providers. Its technology integrates with Gusto, Rippling, Justworks, ADP and more to make healthcare one of the easiest benefits for HR to oversee. In fact, Pebble removes HR from its traditional role as an insurance intermediary, freeing teams to focus on vital functions like talent acquisition, skill development, internal communications and diversity inclusion initiatives.
Pebble Stands Alone
Pebble can offer companies with up to 500+ employees highly differentiated healthcare plans by tackling the technical hurdles that have kept other companies away. With so many issues to solve in a fundamentally broken health/benefits space, others have been distracted by smaller problems that are easier to fix. By contrast, Pebble opted to make a deep investment in technology, including the AI work for plan structuring and partner integrations, to create better options for startups. Pebble is unique in its ability to develop incredible health plans at a significant cost reduction.
Pebble was founded by Pinna, a tech executive, formerly on the founding team at Nubank, who has dedicated his career to driving change in inefficient industries, and Vinay Reddy, a former senior software engineer at Google. The longtime friends and former classmates were frustrated by the state of healthcare in the U.S. from the time they joined their first companies. With an understanding that 20% of medical costs go to overhead, Pinna and Reddy set out to solve the inefficiencies driving these unnecessary costs. In doing so, they built Pebble to serve as an equalizer that enables any company to offer great plans that are easy to implement, navigate and maintain.
"As a busy founder looking to offer competitive benefits to prospective employees, I was frustrated by the expensive quotes from our PEO and the very opaque process with digital and offline benefits brokers that yielded offers that didn't fit what my employees needed," said Roy Mill, CEO of Joshu. "Pebble’s founders understood my pains like no one has before and came up with a wonderful plan that worked for each employee in their local market, affordable prices for us as an employer and for the employees' out-of-pocket expenses, and a smooth seamless experience across multiple banking, payroll and insurance systems."
To learn how you can extend outstanding health benefits to your employees, please visit https://www.pebble.health.
Pebble was created to fundamentally change healthcare benefits. Its technology makes it possible for startups to offer better, more affordable healthcare to millions of Americans through an experience that works for both companies and their employees. Pebble is headquartered in Seattle and offers customized health plans that cover its customers’ employees across all 50 states. Learn more at https://www.pebble.health.
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