Pick-and-choose employee benefits platform Beanstalk Benefits launches with $7.5M

A new benefits platform has launched to give employees the access and control to build their own benefits. 

The startup, Beanstalk Benefits, is launching with $7.5 million in seed funding through Redesign Health. It aims to empower employees to pick their own benefits and help employers meet the dynamic needs of a diverse workforce under a single contract.

“When you look at a beanstalk … they’re very unique,” CEO and founder Matthew Sydney told Fierce Healthcare about the namesake. “Everything is all dependent upon the ecosystem within which they live.”  

Matthew Sydney
Matthew Sydney, CEO and founder of Beanstalk Benefits (Beanstalk Benefits)

Beanstalk offers a suite of benefits covering mind, body, lifestyle, family and money needs. Among the several dozen initial members of the Beanstalk suite are BeME for teen well-being, Upswing Health’s on-demand joint and muscle pain services, parenting resource Vitalxchange and sobriety app and community Sober Sidekick. 

Employers spend a lot of time selecting benefits while being “bombarded by a massive proliferation of point solutions,” Sydney said. “Their budgets are getting smaller, their teams are getting smaller, yet the demand and options for them to choose from just keeps growing.”

Beanstalk saves employers not only time, but also money, per Sydney. Employers sign one contract and pay one annual fee to offer employees solutions on Beanstalk. Beanstalk lets employees pay for their benefits as they go, using personal or employer-sponsored accounts. That takes away the need for employers to cover an offering for all employees when some might not need it. “Paying for all of your employees can be a challenge; it can be a budget drain,” Sydney said. 

“I’ve never seen a more intuitive way for employees to find and pay for everyday benefits,” Steven Schutzer, M.D., co-founder and chief medical officer for Upswing Health, said in a press release. “Beanstalk has essentially given us access to a retail market through a single contract that could potentially reach millions of employees.” 

To be on the Beanstalk platform, vendors must go through a vetting process and establish a contract with the startup. The vetting criteria include security and privacy, clinical robustness, attention to the customer experience and the ability to operate in a per-use payment model, Sydney said. 

Beanstalk lets its vendors set their own prices. Many began in the direct-to-consumer space and so are familiar with how to operate in this model. They might now be attempting to break into the employer market but are struggling for attention because of competition, Sydney explained. 

The startup recognizes that employers might have other existing contracts in place and doesn’t require that they exclusively work with Beanstalk, Sydney said. The platform will still integrate other existing benefits, so employees can see the full range of offerings when searching for options.

“There’s just an immense amount of diversity,” Sydney said of the U.S. workforce. “Yet the environment itself hasn’t shifted and it leaves gaps in care, it leaves gaps in access.”