Food & Beverage
New York City, distributed
Founded in a dorm room by a college athlete and his two brothers, KITU Super Coffee has been a scrappy company from the start. The brothers’ goal was to create a beverage with the energy boost of bottled coffee or energy drinks, but without the calories or unhealthy side effects. Their product caught on in a big way — at colleges and beyond. Now, consumers can buy KITU products online and in big-name stores like Whole Foods around the country.
But while it’s easy to be scrappy when a company is small, a rapidly growing company needs more structure. That’s exactly what CFO Will Finkelstein set out to create when he joined the KITU team in the spring of 2017. Given his experience with Professional Employer Organizations in a previous role, Will knew the PEO model would be a great fit for this young business.
Remote employee support
“We looked at it in two ways,” Will said. “We wanted to be able to grow around the country in an efficient way from an administrative and regulatory standpoint, and we wanted to have a competitive, attractive work culture.”
In Will’s view, a big part of that culture is offering strong benefits and easy-to-use systems for employees. That’s where Justworks came in.
In terms of offering a very comprehensive benefits package, Justworks made perfect sense for KITU. Having access not only to health insurance, but to additional benefits and perks as well, is a great way to reinforce their company's culture of positive energy and healthy lifestyles. “It’s nice having the CitiBike perk,” Will said. “Roughly half our team is based in New York City, so that’s awesome to offer.”
For the KITU team, the support they receive from Justworks is also a perk. “All I’ve heard is positive feedback from employees,” Will said. “Whenever they have an issue and call Justworks, they tell me, ‘They were super helpful, super friendly, and just not what I was expecting for the type of call I had to make!’ It’s great.”
In reviewing PEOs, Will knew that ease of use and innovation would be key. When he looked at Justworks, he found the UX for both the employees and the administrators was just better.
“It was really about the user experience and quality of benefits, and what seemed to me the desire to continue to innovate,” he said. “The whole ease of use of the product is superior.”
Another aspect of the product that helps Will is compliance support, especially when it comes to remote employees. As the KITU team expands into new markets and hires in new states, keeping up with each state’s employment requirements can be a huge challenge — and an administrative burden.
“Being with Justworks, it really takes that friction out of the hiring process for our management team,” Will said. “It creates solid efficiencies and eliminates administrative burdens on the company and the hiring process, helping us add new employees across the country.”