Chip Kahn’s wife had a problem. The successful home decor entrepreneur didn’t have the time nor resources to manage her business’ growing customer support technology needs. The only support she knew of, happened to be her husband. A serial entrepreneur himself, Chip was quick to realize that her necessity could give rise to invention. In 2014, Chip and three friends launched Boomtown with a mission to make it simple for technology companies to provide the best possible support and deliver exceptional experiences to their small business customers.
The company built its early team from friend and family connections. Since then, Boomtown has built a diverse ecosystem with 70+ employees and contractors, 175 partners, 350,000 customer locations and a broad network of contract services staff.
Boomtown’s founders found it pretty easy to build the internal team over the first two years from their own networks. “We have childhood and college friends, three pairs of siblings, nephews, and more,” says SVP of Finance (and a friend of founders), Christian Slack. “Shared affection and business interests make us stronger as a company. But, there are only so many friends and branches on family trees. So in 2016, we started casting our net wider to ensure growth and diversity of thought; which we deeply value.”
They knew that their own growth would require tools to support their quickly growing employee base.
In 2014, Boomtown selected Zenefits to support its employee hiring, onboarding, and benefits selection and enrollment, and more. It’s criteria: to be simple to use and scalable. And, Christian says it was a bonus to work with another tech company, focused on enabling exceptional and seamless technology experiences for small businesses.
“At Boomtown, we strongly believe the best customer experiences come from great product and service experiences,” says Christian, who joined the company from EY in 2015 and currently manages finance and people operations.
Boomtown —with its 175+ partners— are laser-focused on making it easier for small businesses to tap technology to compete against the Amazons and Walmarts of the world. The company applies that ethos of seamless experience to its internal team as well.
“We’ve relied heavily on Zenefits to scale our business. It enables our business, just like how our platform allows our partners to scale their businesses and customer base. Zenefits helps us to be more effective and efficient in engaging and interacting with our employees.”
Since Christian joined, the company has nearly tripled in headcount without having to add to its administrative functions.
Zenefits’ end-to-end support to help us manage our people operations with confidence, is unique from any other tool I’ve seen.
SVP of Finance
New Funding, Used Wisely
In the spring of 2019, the company raised $12M in new venture funding to support its growth. Christian is quick to point out that their growth is measured and deliberate, just like their use of the new funding.
“With the new funding, when we do hire, we do it in key positions where we’ve been historically understaffed, such as marketing, to continue to grow intelligently,” says Christian. “We also look to optimize our staffing with hires at our Scottsdale and in remote, home office locations.
“We built our software platform and services to optimize how companies sell, activate, and support their technology products. We use that core competency with Zenefits to grow our own company. Without Zenefits, we would have made hires and investments in areas that we did not need, like payroll administration and data entry,” adds Christian.
As the company has grown, so have its healthcare costs: a whopping 10-20% year-over-year on average. Like many companies, Boomtown needed to find a way to combat rising healthcare costs without compromising its employees’ access to high quality and affordable healthcare options. In 2019, Boomtown changed benefits providers to leverage the ease of enrollment with Zenefits and the cohort rate reductions from Sequoia Tech (a Zenefits Certified Broker Partner). Within 30 days, the company launched and completed its benefits open enrollment process for all of its eligible employees. Christian says the combination of Zenefits and Sequoia Tech helps him sleep better at night and — more importantly— is better for Boomtown’s employees.
“Onboarding and open enrollment with the Zenefits team was fantastic! The team is extremely communicative about what needs to be done, and by when. They provide clarity on what information is needed, what training is available, and which contacts to reach out to. Zenefits’ responsiveness is second to none, and the product is just so easy to use. As a result, we had no hiccups in the open enrollment process. And since using Zenefits, I can count on one hand the number of questions we’ve had: it is a testament to a smooth process.”
In 2020, Boomtown has further extended its use of Zenefits with the addition of Zenefits Payroll: delivering one place for its employees to manage their own financial, health and commuter savings accounts, as well as the ability to check on balances via pay stub information.
For Christian, Zenefits and its integrations to QuickBooks Online, Human Interest, Carta, and others enable him to unify records and costs for full-time, part-time and contract team members, to make better, more timely decisions that significantly impact the business. And, Boomtown is already considering leveraging the value of Zenefits Performance Management solution to help inculcate and reinforce “what we do, why we do it, and the impact each role has on achieving our goals and objectives.”
“I’m really excited to get fully on the Zenefits platform. We are likely covering a fraction of what we can do with it. With Zenefits, my life is easier and we provide a better experience for our employees.”
Sweating the Small Stuff: Small Business Insights
Making the move from the M&A team at a global advisory firm, to a much broader role at a high-growth, start-up, gave Christian great new perspective.
“People take for granted how long manual tasks take. Even thinking about replacing or adding a new employee — if you aren’t directly responsible for it — people tend to grossly oversimplify what it takes to do it right.”
“A small company, particularly one where people are its greatest asset, cannot afford to screw up onboarding, benefits, payroll or anything in between. Zenefits made me comfortable to handle people operations, including HR, compliance, benefits, and compensation (by city and by role). Its end-to-end support to run our people operations with confidence is unique from any other tool I’ve seen.”
“I couldn’t wear the people operations hat at Boomtown without Zenefits. To have everyone at Boomtown go to one place for everything they need, it is a better experience for them, and is one less thing to worry about for me.”