On this episode of the Startup of the Year Podcast, we catch up with David Aronson, the Founder & CEO of Peanut Butter, a company that helps employers offer student loan assistance as a benefit. David has over 20 years of business experience and has founded 6 ventures as an entrepreneur. He previously served as Senior Director of Business Development for Sears Holdings, and Director of Corporate Development for Gevity HR, beginning his career at the Aronson family's Tasty Bakery.
Having previously worked in HR outsourcing, David says "I always knew that the things that employers buy are the things that will help them get and keep the right people in place." But he noticed that benefits hadn't been keeping up with the changing demographics of the workforce.
In the business world, keeping up with how your customers have changed from year to year is one of the most important things you can do. Relying on the same knowledge from year to year, and offering your customer the same solutions over and over again is a recipe for failure.
Of course, they didn't just go out and launch based on this single observation. It all starts with a hypothesis.
"What if companies could help with student loans, in the same way that they help with health insurance and retirement? Would that be meaningful to workers, and in turn, would it help those companies to land the job candidates that they want?"
"That was the hunch," he adds. "We later backed that up with research, and have since proven that it's very effective for companies across industries."
So, while this is a great idea, how does it make money?
"We're a SaaS provider, so the employer pays us for the use of our services." So the company pays Peanut Butter for a particular service level - perhaps it's an employee education resource package or it's the processing of financial assistance that the employer provides on top of the debt repayment resources.
David is proud that Peanut Butter is able to assist great employers to accelerate gender and cultural diversity while also promoting a culture where they're sharing achievements with their employees. Women and minority ethnic groups are more likely to hold student debt, so this new level of benefit really speaks to a wider spectrum of employees.
Wait, so why Peanut Butter?
You've got to tune in to listen to the amazing reason David chose Peanut Butter for the name of this benefits company. Enjoy!
We also hear segments from some of our Established Team members. Our VP of Programs, Lori Thiel, provides some thoughts about our 2020 events. Also, our Director of Strategic Operations and managing member of Established Ventures, John Guidos, gives his “Pitch Deck Pointers.”
As mentioned in the episode, please get your free .US domain today by going to the following link: soty.link/dotusplus. Also, please join us for our upcoming 8th Annual Startup of the Year Summit which will be held online in November. You can lean more about the Summit and register for the event at the following link: https://www.startupofyear.com/startup-of-the-year-summit
Startup of the Year is also a year-long program that searches the country for a geographically diverse set of startups from all backgrounds and pulls them together to compete for the title of Startup of the Year.
The program includes a number of in-person and virtual events, including our annual South By Southwest startup pitch event and competition. All of which culminate at our annual Startup of the Year Summit, where the Startup of the Year winner is announced, along with an opportunity at potential investment.
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