Irish insurtech Kota, formerly known as Yonder, an all-in-one platform to automate insurance and retirement benefits for modern teams, secures $5.2 million in seed funding to transform employee benefits automation.
The fintech and product-focused team steering Kota comprises industry veterans from companies such as Bolt, Wayflyer, MetLife, Truelayer, and Smart Pension.
Co-founded by Luke Mackey, a former country manager at mobility giant Bolt and a second-time founder, Patrick O’Boyle, former CTO at Bamboo, and Deepak Baliga, an engineering leader with experience at unicorn Flipdish.
The funding round was spearheaded by EQT Ventures, with additional investments from existing backers Northzone and Frontline Ventures. Noteworthy participation came from Job Van Der Voort of Remote.com, Romain Huet (formerly of Stripe, now Open AI), David Clarke (formerly of Workday), and other contributors in the oversubscribed round.
Headquartered in Ireland, Kota has emerged as a transformative force in the complex and traditionally paper-intensive core benefits sector.
The startup’s all-in-one platform, enabling companies to initiate the process in under 8 minutes.
Kota’s growing clientele includes prominent companies such as &Open, Spotlight Oral Care, Unmind, and Fonoa.
With a global presence covering over 30 countries, Kota aims to modernise the $42.1 bn employee benefits industry in Europe and beyond, providing an infrastructure and tools for companies and platforms to cater to their teams effectively.
The platform responds to the mounting pressure on companies, especially small to midsize enterprises, to enhance employee benefits while dealing with resource constraints.
Remote companies, facing diverse approaches to benefits across different countries, also find themselves grappling with the challenges posed by the seemingly inaccessible and outdated core benefits industry.
Kota provides a borderless access point to global health, life, and retirement providers. The platform features real-time enrollment, flexible contributions, and a dedicated employee app.
It has already integrated with leading providers such as Irish Life, Allianz Partners, Smart Pension, and more, facilitating seamless setup, management, automation, and reconciliation of benefits on an international scale. Additionally, Kota syncs seamlessly with popular HR tools, including Personio, Humaans, HiBob, Bamboo HR, and Workday.
In a strategic move, Kota is also unveiling the launch of its embedded health insurance product. This offering enables platforms and developers to seamlessly integrate financial benefits products into their own systems, expanding access to traditional core benefits products within the digital-first landscape of HR and finance tools.
Kota aims to become the pivotal infrastructure for distributing core benefits products in the evolving digital realm.
Employee health and retirement benefits are the Achilles heel of HR and finance teams. They are managed through spreadsheets, portals and email – completely fragmented, offline and lacking interoperabilityLuke Mackey, Kota Co-Founder and CEO
“This is little surprise given, unlike other areas of HR and Finance where modern tools have revolutionised workflows, this industry is still dominated by old-school brokerages with an admin-heavy model. Kota is first to market with a platform that is automating workflows through data synchronisation and reconciliation, integrating with top-tier health, life and pension providers, and ultimately, delivering employees access to the benefits that they deserve”, said Luke Mackey.
Naza Metghalchi, Principal at EQT Ventures also commented, saying: “Previous attempts at bringing the employee benefits market to the 21st century have all fallen short, and there’s a tendency in this industry to follow a ‘tech-enabled’ rather than a ‘tech-first’ approach. The complexity of the financial benefits ecosystem has been amplified with the tailwinds of remote work.”
The entire industry has been missing a data synchronisation and reconciliation piece––until Kota. With connections to both local and global providers, they’ve made enrolling, scaling and managing team benefits anywhere in the world as effortless as ordering dinner online, initially focusing on Europe.Naza Metghalchi, Principal at EQT Ventures
Metghalchi added: “Kota is creating a new category by providing the critical infrastructure for the distribution of financial products, at a time when employees rely on their workplace to access these products. We’ve been impressed with Luke, Patrick and Deepak’s ability to ship fast, and are excited for them to execute their long term vision.”
by Peter Sonner