As a graduate of Y Combinator, a start-up mindset must seem like second nature. How did you manage traveling to secure rounds of investment while still building the foundation of AnyPerk?
For me it is all about vision. And keeping that vision front and center at all times – especially while securing our seed round. My cofounder Sunny Tsang and I wholeheartedly believe employee happiness is the essential ingredient in a company’s long-term success. For us, this means practicing what we preach within the halls of AnyPerk even while traveling and showing our employees how much they mean to our success through recognition and rewards. As a result, we have built a very strong company that thrives even while I’m on the road. Perhaps, another reason our commitment to success is so strong is that we came to the U.S. from Tokyo with a very strong determination to succeed.
Your website features content on how to maintain a positive work environment. How essential do you feel it is for burgeoning and successful companies to offer content to potential consumers?
It’s very important. Even if you build a strong solution not everyone will automatically come to your site to sign-up. We feel obligated to educate current and potential customers on the power of Employee Happiness and the resulting impact on a company’s bottom line. We provide real statistics, proof points, and testimonials on how rewards and recognition can positively influence overall employee retention, engagement and productivity.
As a modern entrepreneur working in a service based landscape, what measures does your team take to target consumers who are increasingly mobile?
Like many of today’s tech companies, we always build our products with mobile interaction in mind. We have both a mobile app and a fully responsive website, and mobile continues to be one of the most popular ways people access our service. There is, however, another layer of complexity that I think often goes overlooked: the fact that consumers start tasks on their mobile device and finish on their desktop (and vice-versa). Therefore, experiences need to resume on one device or another. A consumer might browse through the newest perks on our app and get excited about a new vacation perk, but we know that many of them won’t actually book a vacation on their mobile devices. That’s why we built in a favoriting function that lets them redeem when they’re back at their computers. In other words, it’s not sufficient for us to ensure our products work on mobile devices; we have to build products knowing that consumers want to quickly switch in and out of mobile contexts.
We also think all communication streams with consumers must be able to exist on mobile devices. And I don’t just mean emails need to be mobile-friendly. Anyone can send a Tweet at any time to either rave about their experience with AnyPerk or ask for support on a problem they’re experiencing. The AnyPerkers who monitor our social channels for both problems and praise get notified on their phones when someone hashtags AnyPerk on Twitter. Consumers can Tweet about us when they’re on-the-go, and they expect us to be able to respond even if we’re on-the-go.
What types of travel benefits does AnyPerk offer to customers? Do you feel that companies who promote leisure travel to their employees see a positive influence on their overall work environment?
We have some strong travel perks on our platform. Encouraging vacations is one of the best ways to reward employees. Offering meaningful discounts on leisure travel enables employers to express their thanks and appreciation while at the same time providing employees with an opportunity to refresh and hit the reset button.
What’s next for AnyPerk?
We believe that happier employees are an undervalued resource. But we know that perks alone are only part of it, so we are building out our platform. We just launched AnyPerk Rewards beta; the program will empower companies to more spontaneously recognize and reward their employees in cool ways. Plus, we plan on bringing on more and better perks while expanding into new markets. We’re always listening to our customers’ feedback and trying to improve, so if you have suggestions, please Tweet at us or leave us a note – we would love to hear from you!
What are three things that you cannot travel without?
My three favorite things while traveling are my pillow, my eye mask, and SUSHI!
Tell us about some of your favorite apps for keeping your team organized/connected while on-the-go?
I have several but I’d have to say my top two favorite apps for keeping connected and organized are Salesforce and Yammer.
What destination are you off to next?
So if it is okay, I’ll interpret this question in my own way… My next destination is with AnyPerk–we are one–and it is being positioned as the #1 Employee Happiness company in the world!
Taro Fukuyama is the Founder of AnyPerk.
This article was written in partnership with the Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Card.