Bonusly is not just a peer-to-peer bonus platform for the workplace. It’s a long overdue alternative to spending time and money on costly and ineffective employee recognition programs, such as years-of-service and employee of the month awards, and manager spot bonuses. And since its peer-to-peer, it’s employees and coworkers who decide who the top performers are, rather than it being the top-down model that has prevailed for so long. A bootstrapped Brooklyn-based startup that launched its public alpha just about a year ago, bonus.ly now has over 65 companies actively using the service. Founder (and Silicon Valley transplant) Raphael Crawford-Marks discusses the upside of his business model.
Tell us about the product or service.
Bonusly is a SaaS platform for peer-to-peer recognition and rewards. Through Bonusly, employees are empowered to create a recognition-rich culture through the exchange of instant micro-bonuses.
How is it different?
Traditional employee recognition is a service pin for your 10-year anniversary. It’s an employee-of-the-month award that everyone knows is rigged. Or it’s a spot bonus from a manager who misses most employee accomplishments and contributions.
Bonusly changes that. Instead of ineffective top-down recognition that does nothing to improve employee morale, engagement or retention, Bonusly empowers employees to recognize each other with frequent, timely micro-bonuses.
Inspired by the latest psychology and behavioral economics research, Bonusly incentivizes positive communication, engagement and recognition. Our platform also provides a rich set of analytics tools that surface valuable insights about employee strengths and accomplishments.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
The domestic corporate incentive market is estimated to be $76.9 billion dollars per year. Within that, employee incentives and recognition account for $30 to $40 billion dollars per year. This is just domestic spending. We believe the global incentive market exceeds $100 billion per year.
What is the business model?
Bonusly charges $1/user/month. The service is free for up to 50 users, so it’s easy for a team lead to adopt without needing approval from executive leadership. Bonusly can then spread within the company after being validated by an early adopter, like Dropbox.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve within 6 months?
In the next 6 months, we plan to double the number of companies using Bonusly (currently at 60+). We also plan to integrate with a many more HR and Collaboration tools (Bonusly already integrates with Workday, Okta, OneLogin, and HipChat).
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community, who would it be and why?
David Teten of ffVC. I really admire his philosophy for investing in early stage companies. He is humble and data driven, which we are as well. And we agree with him that the world doesn’t need any more “Seinfeld” companies.
Why are you launching in New York?
It’s the center of the world. And we live here. We (the cofounders) have lived in NYC for almost four years. It’s been amazing to see the growth in the tech scene in that short span of time. We’re both transplants from San Francisco, and can honestly say that it’s more exciting to be a startup in New York than Silicon Valley right now.
What are some cool summertime activities in Brooklyn?
I love running along the waterfront, from Red Hook up through Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens are a great way to spend an afternoon, too. Frozen yogurt at Culture in Park Slope.
Where’s your favorite summer getaway, outside of New York?
I love the outdoors, so I always look for opportunities to go hiking, biking, camping, sailing…anything to get away from it all and spend some time in nature. If I had to pick one favorite getaway, it’d be Portland, Maine. It’s a fantastic town, and a great home base for outdoor excursions.