For early-stage startups looking to hire new talent, it’s not enough to make one-off decisions about compensation for each new hire. Building a cohesive philosophy around compensation is crucial for a company to stay consistent over the long term and provide transparency to employees – essentially, finding the “why” and “how” behind pay decisions.
In today’s job market, where layoffs and hiring freezes abound, having a good compensation strategy is even more important, CEO Rani Mavram of tech startup RH Complete told TechCrunch in an interview.
“Even though companies are hiring fewer positions, the importance of recruiting well is becoming increasingly important,” Mavram said.
Complete aims to help companies, especially early stage startups, conceptualize and implement a company-wide compensation strategy, reflecting cash, equity, bonuses and benefits.
“We are working with them on [questions like], are you going to make negotiable offers or non-negotiable offers? Are you going to offer multiple options to your candidates with raises and bonuses in mind? Is it something performance related, or are you going to make it the default for everyone? So within those broader segments of compensation, we distill them and then help connect them to what’s right for their business,” Mavram explained.
Complete provides an interactive offer letter product for candidates applying for positions at its client companies and recently began offering a similar product to help employees understand what comprises their total compensation, Mavram said.
Mavram co-founded Complete with CTO Zack Field last year and brought the company through Y Combinator’s 2022 winter cohort. Mavram previously worked on Google’s product team, while Field has an engineering background at various late-stage startups, including Uber and Opendoor, the duo told TechCrunch.
Mavram has seen her team at Google grow rapidly and rise to the challenges of getting the right “compensation story,” she said.
“Even after I left Google, I was trying to ask myself if the Googles of the world felt this pain, what does it look like for an early-stage startup just starting to have this conversation for the first time?” Mavram thinks.
Field, meanwhile, watched his employers go from private to public and eventually became the go-to source among his colleagues for information on how to understand their stock compensation, because he had done so much research on the subject. , did he declare.
“For some of our early-stage customers, they don’t even have tiers set up, like they don’t even have software engineer one versus software engineer two. And so it’s a level of education that when they’ve developed that philosophy, they can share it with employees. I would say the loyalty of the information that we focus on the most is actually how your compensation is built, or what we call total rewards,” Mavram said.
The company just announced that it has raised $4 million in seed funding led by Accel. Other participants in the raise include Y Combinator as well as angel investors from Calm, Opendoor and Stripe, according to Complete.
It’s far from the only startup working to demystify compensation decisions. Series A startup OpenComp offers a similar product aimed at high-growth companies looking to improve their recruitment and retention, while YC-backed Compound seeks to help tech employees understand their own compensation.
“Compensation is one of the ways individuals build trust with their employer,” Mavram said. Companies that are proactive about compensation decisions and prioritize transparency can turn their compensation strategy into a competitive advantage, she added.
Complete hopes to further expand its support for administrative tasks related to hiring a new hire, Mavram said.
Often with young startups, it’s the founders themselves who think through decisions about how much equity to offer a new hire. Complete’s product therefore aims to help them understand how different pathways would impact their business and capitalization. Complete is currently focused on helping companies justify their compensation decisions, although companies can always choose which parts of this information they want to share with their employees.
Mavram hopes to expand Complete’s five-person team by hiring more engineers and designers to help the company meet new customer demand, she said. Complete works with large clients, including Vercel and DataStax, as well as early-stage companies such as Convex and TrueNorth. Although Mavram declined to share the total number of clients Complete works with, a company spokesperson said it provided analysis for several thousand salaries.