Careers at GuideSpark
GuideSpark’s mission is to help organizations engage more effectively with their employees.
Keith Kitani was a senior executive at Adobe Systems. At a certain point he felt a desire to launch his own business – it would be his second, after a startup he created a decade earlier called Presedia. In 2008 he left his job and founded GuideSpark, a firm that provided communication tools for companies to discuss financial education and health with employees.
Unfortunately, the timing was not right – the recession hit not long afterwards, which made financial wellness training a low priority for employers. As a result, GuideSpark struggled for a few years. However, in this time Kitani held conversations with customers who told him about their challenges in communicating the value of employee benefits. Kitani paid attention, and saw an opportunity.
In 2012 he changed the focus of GuideSpark to employee benefits and compensation communication. He introduced a number of multimedia tools for companies to use, and also provided customizable content through a software-as-a-service platform. Within a short time, the firm experienced major growth – its revenue rose from $1.5 million in 2012 to $4.1 million in 2013.
Benefits at GuideSpark
Business model of GuideSpark
GuideSpark has a mass market business model, with no significant differentiation between customer segments.
The company targets its offerings at firms of all industries and sizes that desire more effective communication with employees around benefits and compensation.
GuideSpark offers two primary value propositions: performance and brand/status.
The company has demonstrated strong performance through tangible results. Its solutions have led to increases in employee sign-ups for benefit programs and reduced call center time. High-profile examples of positive outcomes for specific customers include the following:
- Baker Hughes used GuideSpark’s offerings to overhaul its open enrollment communication strategy, and witnessed a 77% reduction in administration costs, a 38% decrease in support calls, a 32% increase in health plan enrollment, and a 30% increase in wellness program participation
- Lionsgate used GuideSpark’s offerings to address performance management, and experienced an increase in employee participation in performance conversations from 50% to 70%
- OSI Systems used GuideSpark’s offerings to address health plan communication, resulting in a plan adoption level of 90%, a reduction in annual healthcare costs to 1%, and savings of $450,000
The company has established a strong brand as a result of its performance. It serves 10 million+ employees at over 650 enterprises, including 20% of the Fortune 500. Prominent clients include Adobe, Kaiser Permanente, Visa, ADP, Salesforce, and McDonald’s. It has also won a number of honors, including recognition as a“Top Workplace“ by the Bay Area News Group (2015), as the seventh fastest-growing private company in Silicon Valley (2015), and an award for “Best Use of Technology“ at the Employee Engagement Awards (2015).
GuideSpark’s main channel is its direct sales team. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, and participation in conferences.
GuideSpark’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature. Customers utilize the service through the main platform while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website features a “Resources” section that includes self-help tools such as white papers, case studies, data sheets, infographics, webinars, and videos.
That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of customer success and account management teams that check in with clients on at least a quarterly basis, an annual customer conference, and general phone and e-mail support.
GuideSpark’s business model entails maintaining a robust platform for its clients.
GuideSpark does not maintain an official partnership program; however, it does form strategic alliances from time to time to enhance its offerings.
For example, in 2015 it partnered with Businessolver, a benefits administration technology firm. Through the collaboration, GuideSpark embedded its video content and engagement platform directly inside Benefitsolver, Businessolver’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) benefits administration system .
GuideSpark’s main resource is its proprietary software platform, which serves more than 650 firms.
The company depends on its engineering employees to maintain and update the platform and its customer service staff to provide support.
Lastly, as a relatively new startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $42.2 million from six investors as of February 2015.
GuideSpark has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation. Its biggest cost driver is likely sales/marketing, a fixed expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of customer support/operations and administration, both fixed costs.
GuideSpark has one revenue stream: the subscription fees it charges for access to its software platform. The fees vary in amount by company size and amount of content provided.
info: Keith earned a B.A. in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from Stanford University. He previously served as Senior Director and Entrepreneur in Residence at Adobe, VP of Project Management and Operations at MacroMedia, and Co-Founder and COO of Presedia.
info: Christopher earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics at the University of Colorado. He previously served as CFO of InQuira, Comergent Technologies, and Connectify, as well as the Corporate Controller of NetGravity. He has 25 years of financial experience.
info: Will earned an undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from at the University of Michigan. He previously served as Head of Alliances & Corporate Development at Workday and as a Partner at InQTel.
info: Ammiel earned a dual degree in Computer Science and Business at Carnegie Mellon University. He previously served as SVP of Products at Amobee, EVP of Products & Marketing at Kontera, and SVP of Product Management & Marketing at Emptoris.
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