With more than 20 years of experience working in venture-backed companies, Amy Spurling has wisdom to share. Now, she is the founder and CEO of her own company, Compt. In this interview, she tells us more about what Compt does, her approach to building a diverse team and how she just successfully secured a $13 million series A investment.
A new approach to employee perks
Compt creates software designed to help companies develop, manage and scale employee perk programs. Compt puts funds directly in employees’ hands instead of in one-size-fits-all programs so employees can all get what they want. “Everybody wants something different,” says Spurling. “Stipends are a great way to reach everyone instead of the small sliver of the team that might want childcare or that might want student loan repayment or might want bungee jumping.”
She says she saw the need for personalization during her time as a CFO and COO. This personalization of perks is especially important when it comes to competing for talent and retaining valuable employees. When you can’t just keep raising salaries, you have to do something else. “With a stipend, you can say, all right, we support wellness. Everybody has X dollars to spend on it. Oh, shoot, recession. Now, X dollars went to Y dollars, but you still have whatever you want,” she explains. “It’s a much more holistic approach that can still reach everyone, regardless of where a company is.”
Attracting funding virtually
Spurling did all of Compt’s fundraising virtually. This pandemic-driven strategy was in stark contrast with her past experience flying around the country, securing VC dollars for other companies. “I found it just to be kind of a breath of fresh air, honestly, so much more efficient,” she said. “But it’s definitely a different approach.”
Female-founded companies notoriously get only a small portion of venture capital funding. The pandemic limiting in-person interaction made it even more challenging to get investors. Bloomberg recently estimated that female founders secured just two percent of VC in the U.S. in 2021. Compt beat the odds and recently announced a $13 million series A investment. Spurling attributes Compt’s success to a lot of hard work, saying, “My story isn’t super unique–do twice as much to get where you need to go.” She says her team stayed true to their vision and focused on building a great company that supports diverse needs and situations.
Building a diverse company
Diversity was a priority for Spurling from day one. “You need to reflect humanity on your own team,” she says. As Spurling explains, having team members from different genders, orientations, generations, races and perspectives is vital. Since Compt is a platform meant to reach everyone, multiple perspectives are what make it such an effective product.
Spurling emphasizes how she began building diversity into her team early on. “We made sure we were sourcing from diverse places,” she says. “We weren’t just thinking, ‘who do we know from our last company’?” Compt is currently 63 percent female and 57 percent people of color.
Creating workplace culture
In the hyper-growth phase, crazy hours can become the norm for employees of young companies. Spurling, however, is committed to not asking team members for more than 40 hours per week. She says that this can be an adjustment for people coming from jobs where they were expected to put their families or health aside for a company. “We’re just built differently here,” she says. Spurling herself says she’s good at sticking to 40-45 hours.
She also takes measures to avoid burnout on her team, including an onboarding survey to find out how individuals work best and what they need to support them. She says spotting burnout can be hard working virtually, but she checks in regularly and pays attention to her employees’ hours. Spurling asks questions like, “Do you need more resources? Do you need a different process?” and keeps the dialogue open with her team.
What’s next? Possibly a recession.
With her background as a CFO, Spurling has a good idea of what’s ahead as the economy heads into a recession. “Companies need a resource to really help them that’s cost-effective,” she explains. “So we’re going to have to make sure that we can support those companies.” The Compt team will be busy continuing to improve and grow their platform over the next few years. You can find out more about Compt here.
Read our recent interview with Amy Spurling on Supporting Employees After Roe v. Wade on Lioness.
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