The Business Year

Filipa Martins

CEO, Edenred Portugal

Miguel Santo Amaro

CEO, Coverflex Portugal

With the increased focus on employee welfare post pandemic, these companies are showing that there are new ways to design attractive compensation packages.

Can you elaborate on the company’s offering?

FILIPA MARTINS Edenred is present in 46 countries. We have about 50 million users around the world, 2 million merchants in the system, and about 900,000 corporate clients. Talking about the Portuguese operations, we have about 500,000 users, 41,000 merchants in our ecosystem, and about 17,000 corporate clients. We are a joint venture with a local bank, and it has been a sustainable operation in terms of growth over the years. There are three main social benefits in Portugal: the meal voucher; benefits in education and infancy; and benefits related to health, seniors, and others. All these have a specific legal framework. These are the projects that we can develop in Portugal in a closed-loop way, because our solutions are social vouchers, not payment means. This also means that companies like us manage the ecosystem, and we attribute these benefits to companies that then forward it to their own employees in the market. Employees can then use their social vouchers in a network of partner merchants.

MIGUEL SANTO AMARO Companies today have to be more flexible and find better, more engaging solutions to attract and retain employees. We help companies design compensation packages so they are more fiscally interesting. It is about becoming the bank of employees featuring the user experience. There are many neo-banks trying to do this, but they generally focus only on the salary. They might not provide access, tools, or information about how an employee can do their taxes or what their total compensation is including the pay slip, a lunch card, health insurance, discounts, and so on. We help employees visualize all that so they can have a full 360-degree view of their finances. We want to democratize access to a great compensation solution. Our actual solution is a dashboard for a company as well as a mobile app and a VISA card for employees. It is an app and a smart card together that replaces many other things. The user experience is much better.

How do you shape your competitive advantages in a small but highly competitive market?

FM We have five values that guide us through this. The first is passion for customers, and our customers are merchants, users, and clients (MUC). We work to fine-tune our relationships with each one of them, so that they can recommend us in the market. The second value that we foster is respect for the entire ecosystem; therefore, we are extremely transparent in all our communications. The third value, imagination, fosters innovation and inspires our employees to develop new ideas to get ahead of the competition. We started with paper before switching to cards, and now we have cardless solutions. The fourth point is simplicity, basically explaining something that is complex in a simple way to better position ourselves. Finally, we are driven by our entrepreneurial spirit, being that the most important thing is to develop and adapt solutions locally.

MSA Our major focus is the SME market because it is an untapped market. We started in Portugal in January 2021 and have 2,000 clients; we are growing around 30% month to month. In terms of compensation, we conducted EUR30 million worth of transactions in 2021. We process around EUR300 per person every month. We must educate companies about the concept of flexibility: over 80% of our companies did not have a solution before Coverflex. We are onboarding around 200 clients per month, which is only possible if we do it digitally. We are building a compensation package that is in a complete new category, and the challenge is educating the market on how it is an easy tool that can be set up in a few hours. This can be done online or with our support.

What are your main targets in 2022?

FM We have a clear view of what we want to offer the market in 2022, and we expect to accomplish it this year. We will reinforce and enlarge the scope to broaden our offer of social benefits to be a multi-flex benefit platform. We will also accelerate the digitalization of the customer journey. Finally, in the CSR area, our current initiatives are just the beginning for what will come in the next year.

MSA We want to have a global company. We will be comfortable in Portugal, but expanding beyond Portugal is our number-one priority. We are Europeans so we want to focus on Europe for the moment, where there are different currencies, cultures, and laws in terms of compensation and salaries. That will remain our focus. That means raising enough capital to be a top brand that also enables us to hire the team to do that.

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