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YC’s List of Top Companies Recognizes CaptivateIQ

July 7, 2021
February 28, 2023

Y Combinator (YC) released its list of top 2023 companies, and we’re proud to say CaptivateIQ has made the list, joining a few hundred privately-held organizations like Stripe, Instacart, Webflow, and Gusto.

Since launching in 2017, we have raised $164.6M thanks to investors such as Sequoia Capital, Accel, S28 Capital, Amity Ventures, and Y Combinator (of course).

In fact, we partnered with YC from the very beginning — the W18 batch, as we are referred to.

In this Q&A session, Mark Schopmeyer, CaptivateIQ’s Co-founder and Co-CEO, shares the organization's history (and a glimpse into what’s next).

Why was CaptivateIQ founded, and by whom?

Mark: Several years ago, when I was a Finance lead at BrightRoll, I was put in charge of commissions, and was told I needed to build a new spreadsheet model to pay out our team of 30 reps within 14 days. 

As a former banker, it seemed easy. However, I spent the next ten days working until 2 AM, cleaning up the data, building the financial model, and sending out statements to the sales team. The Head of Sales even joked that I had looked disheveled (due to the stress, of course). All the commercial solutions said they couldn’t help, and after growing to 100 reps and paying out tens of millions in commissions, I wanted to quit my job because I had such a tough time managing this. 

I later caught up with Conway (Co-Founder/Co-CEO) and learned he was experiencing similar pain, having managed commissions at two companies — most recently at Gusto. One thing led to another, and we quit our jobs and brought on our college friend, Hubert. We began building a new commission solution that we wanted to use

The Starbucks where it all began.

What problem does CaptivateIQ solve?

Mark: Calculating commissions is really complicated, yet also mission-critical. It's one of – if not the — largest sales expenses in your organization. 

Commissions are a highly complex form of payroll where each company has a unique plan that involves significantly more calculations and data than your typical salary payroll math. 

Just under half of the market uses spreadsheets to manage commissions, with solid reasons: low cost and familiarity. And most importantly, flexibility. 

But spreadsheets are incredibly error-prone: studies have shown that some 94% of spreadsheets have errors (source).

Spreadsheets also don’t scale and lack a lot of necessary functionality required to manage commissions successfully. We’ve seen firsthand how much people crave something other than a spreadsheet to manage commission.

Our automation platform drastically reduces human error, helps ensure compliance with financial controls, and lets you manage more extensive data sets and increasingly complicated calculations — something a standard spreadsheet struggles to do.

Another percentage of the market uses a limited set of antiquated commission solutions — incumbent platforms which are often prohibitively expensive and can only handle certain types of commission plans. These solutions typically require users to configure commission plans with esoteric programming language.

All in all, the old solutions could be better.

In recent years, commission plans have become much more complicated and change far more frequently. Why? 

First, companies have access to more data than ever, allowing leaders to incentivize employees on more performance metrics and design highly precise, customized commission plans.

Second, due to an increasingly competitive and dynamic business environment, sales leaders regularly adjust what sales teams focus on to meet current priorities and goals.

Finally, enterprise software users are demanding the best user experience for their sales reps so that they actually use the product. When legacy software was first established, they could get away with clunky tools that required lots of professional services to maintain, so they haven’t had to evolve.

This leaves companies between a rock and a hard place — they want to get out of spreadsheets but want flexible and user-friendly tools.  


What does the future of CaptivateIQ look like?

Mark: We founded CaptivateIQ in the winter of 2017, coming out of Y Combinator’s W18 class with the vision of helping companies design, process, and report paying commissions to their teams. 

In 2023, that vision has evolved, while our core values have remained the same. We believe our solution can fundamentally change how businesses think about motivating people. Incentives drive people, and if leveraged correctly, companies can help encourage certain behaviors that are better aligned with their business goals. 

Mark, Hubert, and Conway on Demo Day!

Over the years, we’ve learned our technology can benefit the overall sales planning process and other parts of the business connected to revenue. Because our platform doesn’t require any coding background, it’s straightforward for companies to unlock the power of CaptivateIQ and expand its impact in an organization.

As we have gone from working in Conway’s garage to building an agile commission solution that’s earned the #1 Highest Rated spot for sales compensation software on G2, we have had a long list of humbling moments. 

Earning a spot on YC’s Top Companies list is definitely one of those moments, and we look forward to continued growth in years to come.

What makes CaptivateIQ unique?

Mark: We pride ourselves on being the agile commission solution – helping organizations adapt, innovate, and scale their commission plans.

Our platform empowers organizations to build the right commission plans for fast-changing business goals. We accomplish this through: 

  • Flexibility to support many plan component
  • Usability to be owners of your system
  • Agility to adjust commission strategies over time – 85+% of sales managers say they’d like to change their comp plans at minimum every quarter (source)

We know our success isn't measured by how effectively we build our product but by how well we can connect with, motivate, and inspire our most talented teammates.

I am a CaptivateIQ convert. If you are comfortable in spreadsheets and want an affordable total cost of ownership tool, CaptivateIQ is a no brainer. — Michael D., Senior Manager of Revenue Operations, Gong

If you like to tackle complexities and turn them into delightful experiences, then head over to our Careers page to see open roles.

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