LAS VEGAS — Compt, a perk stipend software company based in Boston, won the inaugural SHRMLabs Better Workplaces Challenge Cup (BWCC).
The announcement was made Sept. 12 at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2021.
SHRMLabs is the workplace innovation hub and venture capital arm of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The competition aims to bridge the gap between companies that are creating workplace technologies and the end users of their products: HR professionals and their workforces.
Compt co-founder and CEO Amy Spurling and four other BWCC finalists presented their final pitches at the conference in front of Daymond John, award-winning entrepreneur and star of ABC's "Shark Tank," and a panel of judges including Nasir Qadree, founder and managing partner at Zeal Capital; Allison Baum Gates, general partner of SemperVirens Venture Capital; Amber Clayton, SHRM-SCP, director of the SHRM's HR Knowledge Center; and Ian Fisk, executive director of the Mentor Capital Network. Along with Compt, the judges recognized Symba, which offers remote internship management technology, as one of the two top finalists after the final pitch round.
"Innovation is critical if we intend to reset, rethink and reimagine HR and the workplace," said SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP. "We need technology and folks committed to technology to help us pave the way," he said, adding that "this first contest was a year of heated competition."
Guillermo Corea, managing director of SHRM's Workplace Innovation Lab, said, "Our goal was to find innovators to solve workplace challenges. And given the state of our workplaces [due to COVID-19-related challenges], this year's competition is very timely."
Spurling recently spoke with SHRM Online about the product and how it improves work and the practice of human resources.
"Compt designs and manages perk stipends that give companies a more productive and engaged workforce," she said. "The Compt perk management platform allows companies to offer 100 percent personalized employee perks to everyone on their team, regardless of whether they are working remotely, in an office or in a hybrid capacity, or are located internationally."
She added that for too long, HR has been tasked with finding perks to "make everyone happy." That's impossible. That's why traditional employee perks have historically low utilization, she said.
"With Compt, companies finally have a tool that enables them to support all of their employees in a way that is personalized for a team of any size. This enables smaller companies to compete for talent with larger companies on a budget they can afford and larger companies to simplify their team perks and massively increase engagement."
Compt was awarded a cash prize of $50,000 to be used as startup funds for the business.
Taylor announced that the application process for the 2022 Better Workplaces Challenge Cup contest will open this fall.
Narrowing the Field
The BWCC began earlier this year with local contests in 17 cities across the U.S., often co-hosted with SHRM chapters.
Participants were required to submit a video presentation and take part in a Q&A session with a panel of judges made up of local SHRM chapter leaders and SHRM staff.
The top three startups from each local round advanced to the regional rounds in June. The companies then presented a more in-depth pitch and participated in another Q&A with a panel of senior SHRM executives and other business leaders.
From over 150 initial submissions to compete in the challenge, through 51 regional finalists representing innovations across workplace tech, the five winners of the regional competitions advanced to the finals in Las Vegas. In addition to Compt, the other finalists included:
- TiLT, a leave management platform in Fort Collins, Colo.
- unboXt, a leadership development platform based in Atlanta.
- WorkWhile, a San Francisco-based company providing technology that connects hourly workers to shifts.