Meet Ally Fekaiki, CEO at Bespoke Employee Benefits Platform: Juno

Juno is personalising employee benefits by letting staff pick their own. There are over 5,000 options to choose from via Juno’s marketplace, ranging from financial advice and food box deliveries, to mental health support and childcare services. This means that, since no two employees’ needs are the same, individuals can choose exactly the right support for them.

Employers can’t presume to know what’s best for individual staff members – particularly as the priorities of hybrid teams become increasingly disparate. So many companies are moving away from a top-down approach to support, characterised by limited voucher schemes and blanket benefits. Instead, they’re using Juno to give staff agency – empowering individuals to choose benefits that work for them.

For employers, this offers reassurance that they’re providing their staff with the best support possible. And since employee wellbeing is at the heart of the so-called talent war, Juno is also a means of attracting, engaging and retaining staff.
 
 

 

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

 
Juno was inspired by my own experience of ineffectual support in the workplace. I started out in my career working in the dynamic world of tech startups – it was exciting and I relished the challenges that came with it. But it was also a demanding environment to work in, both professionally and personally.

It wasn’t long before I started to see the impact that the gruelling hours and pace was having on my colleagues. And, almost without realising, it started to grind me down too. The companies I worked for all had good intentions. But cultural issues and broken systems – where ‘wishy washy’ workplace wellness masqueraded as genuine employee support – were bigger than them.

This period in my career forced me to confront the relationship between professional culture and personal wellbeing. I realised that, in order to fix it, staff needed to be given a say in the support on offer to them. This planted a seed in my mind for Juno. Determined to turn my idea into a reality, I quit my job, started building the platform from scratch, and haven’t looked back since.
 

 

How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

 
Juno has completely transformed since its inception in 2019. Back then, I had just quit my job and was working in a pub in Earl’s Court while developing Juno in my spare time. I was essentially a one-man band, designing the first website myself, spending hours cold calling companies to generate interest, and personally booking everything from food box deliveries to appointments with financial coaches for customers’ staff members.

Things have come a long way since then. Last year alone – as companies looked for new ways to support hybrid teams, improve work-life balance and retain staff – our user base grew tenfold. The platform is now used by over 160 companies across 40 different countries. And, just recently, we raised $4 million in a funding round led by Hoxton Ventures.

The pandemic has accelerated the modernisation of stale work perks, and radically transformed expectations around employers’ duty of care to their staff. There’s no going back now – and employees are certainly better off for it.
 

What can we hope to see from Juno in the future?

 
Our recent raise is enabling us to add additional services such as physical debit cards for purchasing benefits, as well as a fully integrated marketplace. We also plan to use this injection of capital to drive continued growth across global markets, including the US and Europe.

We’ve come a long way. And though there’s still a lot of work to be done to empower all workers to access better benefits, and to transform the culture around workplace wellbeing, I’m determined to get there. Going forward, we’ll continue to make the business case and, more importantly, the moral case for a more democratic approach to workplace benefits.