It’s a tenet of small business that oftentimes the process of running your business can distract from the needs of your business. One of those needs that often gets overlooked is HR, which for most small businesses is generally relegated to the very bottom of the to-do list.
“The person that does it in the business shouldn’t be doing it,” said Elijah Moore, CEO and co-founder of Collage. “They don’t have an HR person. It’s a problem.”
Collage, which launches today, is trying to solve that problem with its new HR and benefits platform. Collage’s main value proposition is to automate the burdensome administration work involved with HR, from onboarding new employees, completing tax forms, or signing and storing documents.
“Most technology that exists to support HR people is pretty bad.”
“Part of the problem is that the HR space is broad, and includes a lot of things to consider,” Moore said. “It something that most businesses do really poorly. Most technology that exists to support HR people is pretty bad, specifically in the small business category, where we’re focused.”
Moore said that Collage’s approach is to give small business an HR structure that’s simple to manage, so teams can focus on more important things knowing their employees are taken care of. “The old model of HR was ‘how do we extract value from our people?’ We think the new model of HR is ‘how do we take care of our people?’”
One other key problem Collage wants to tackle is employee benefits. The company is a registered insurance broker in Ontario (licensing applications are out for the rest of Canada), allowing it to auto-enroll employees into their company’s benefits plan. It also keeps the platform free to use, as Collage gets paid via commission from the insurance companies when their customers use Collage to manage their benefits. There’s no hidden tack-on cost to Collage users, as these commissions are already built into employee group benefit plans (it should be noted that Collage’s co-founder Peter Demangos was also previously the founder of an independent brokerage focusing in employee group benefits).
Being the hub for a small business’ HR needs will allow Collage to take its platform in a lot of different ways. Moore said his team is already thinking about features for performance reviews, new employee application tracking, or just plain old integrations with tools like QuickBooks.
“There’s almost unlimited ways we can take this platform,” Moore said. “As a startup, we have limited resources, so we have to decide what’s going to add the most value for our target segment with the least cost to build.”
Speaking of integrations and resources, now is a good time to mention that Collage is backed by Diagram, a new incubator/venture play focused on insurance, healthcare, and FinTech startups. BetaKit will be covering Diagram more in the future, but the important thing to note here is that Diagram is itself backed by Power Corporation and a group of over 30 angel investors, allowing me to talk about my favorite subject: the startup superteam Power is currently building in Canada.
I asked Collage about whether or not they’d be joining that superteam, possibly by looking to integrate with Power-backed, insurance-focused rocket ship League.
“Where League is trying to redefine insurance products, we’re saying we’re totally non-biased and can work with any insurance company you want,” Demangos said, noting however that as Collage gathers more user data, it could get really good at recommending the best benefits option for a company.
“Right now we’re an HR platform that makes it really easy to integrate your benefits into,” Demangos said. “Eventually, we’re going to try and make it much easier to buy benefits online.”
For now, Collage is focused on growing out province by province in Canada, grabbing customers and simplifying their HR headaches so they can focus on taking care of their business (and their employees).