Every company has to decide what to pay their employees and track that compensation in some way, often in spreadsheets and across disparate payroll, finance and HR systems. Companies also need to ensure that they are paying people with comparable experience a similar amount for the same job.
Assemble, an early-stage startup, wants to bring organization to this process, and today it announced a $5 million seed investment from Susa Ventures, Goldcrest Capital and several industry angels.
Assemble co-founder Enrique Esclusa said that the startup has created a system of engagement for compensation decisions.
“This is a system that assembles all that compensation and workforce data in one central location that usually lives in disparate systems, and then makes it not only accessible but actionable and easy to understand for various stakeholders across the company,” he explained.
Esclusa and his co-founder, Lisa Wallace, worked together at another company where Wallace was in charge of hiring and Esclusa managed finance and business operations. It was there that they learned firsthand just how hard it was to track this type of information.
“What we realized was that virtually everything lived in spreadsheets, which is a really painful and time-consuming way to put all this data and frameworks together, share the right information with people who are making decisions across the company, and make decisions that not only were competitive enough so that you could hire folks and attract them and retain employees, but also were financially responsible and fair and equitable,” he said.
So in 2020, the two founders got together and decided to do something about it, and built a product to address the issues they experienced.
Wallace said that companies typically don’t consider equity in a direct way as they build an organization, then go back and try to fix it, a process that requires consultants to pull the information from various systems. Assemble is designed to build equity into the compensation system from the start.
“It’s not just about running a pay equity analysis in one place, or providing one-off visibility to managers in another place. It’s about truly having a layer of engagement across your organization that works from multiple stakeholders that are touching compensation because there are so many different stakeholders and so many different objectives, and it’s really easy to go off the rails,” she said.
Assemble. currently has 10 employees, and with a diverse founding team and a DE&I mission around pay equity, they are working to build a diverse and inclusive company.
“We’ve made a pretty concerted effort for each rec that we’ve opened to interview and evaluate diverse candidates. … It’s something that I’m really focused on, and Enrique and I spend about a third of our time recruiting,” she said, adding that while they only have the 10 employees so far, their diversity numbers are fairly good on a number of metrics.
“So we’re 40% Hispanic as a company and 60% of us are immigrants or the children of immigrants,” she said. While just two of the current 10 employees are women, Wallace said that’s something she’s working to address in future hires. She said that the company is also working on diversity on the funding side by bringing in a number of historically underrepresented angel investors into the cap table.
Since compensation doesn’t live on its own inside an organization, Assemble works in conjunction with HR and payroll software tools like WorkDay, Gusto, ADP and Bamboo HR.