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Human Interest (formerly Captain401), announced today that it has raised $11 million to help more small businesses set up 401k accounts for their employees. Wing Venture Capital led the round, joining existing investors Y Combinator, Uncork Capital, SV Angel, CrunchFund, Slow Ventures, Susa Ventures, FundersClub, and several individual investors.
“Even though 401ks are standard for larger companies, there are shockingly few smaller businesses that are able to offer them to their employees,” said Human Interest cofounder and CEO Roger Lee, in an interview with VentureBeat.
Between administrative overheads and high costs, only 14 percent of small businesses in the U.S. are able to offer 401ks to their employees. Small businesses often can’t afford to hire full-time HR staff to set up and manage the 401k, nor do they have much bargaining power to get competitive rates from financial institutions, given their lack of assets compared to larger companies.
Everyone loses here, whether it’s the employers who have a harder time recruiting and retaining employees or individuals who don’t want to go through the hassle of having to set up an investment or savings account.
One of the added bonuses with a 401k is that all contributions are tax-deferred, meaning that you don’t pay taxes on the money you contribute, or the earnings on those contributions, until you withdraw the funds in retirement.
Human Interest provides software to help small businesses automate the 401k process. The startup converts all paperwork to digital documents, automates compliance work, helps with government filings, and is able to synch with existing HR and payroll softwares.
It also provides investment advice to help employees choose which mutual fund to invest in to generate interest from their savings. The advice is based on the individual’s current age, income, other assets, expected retirement age, and more.
The San Francisco-based startup charges a monthly fee for its software-as-as-service (SaaS), which varies depending on the size of the business. For example, a 30-person company will pay about $240 per month. Lee declined to comment on the number of companies it works with, but it did say about 10,000 employees currently use Human Interest’s service.
Lee cofounded the startup in April 2015 and participated in the Y Combinator accelerator program that summer. The startup has raised a total of just under $15 million to date and plans to use the fresh injection of capital to further develop its product, increase sales and marketing efforts, and grow its team of 33.
Competitors include Fidelity, MassMutual, John Hancock, ADP, and other finance and insurance companies.
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