CaptivateIQ is recognized in Y Combinator’s Top Companies list for July 2021, joining among 160 industry-leading organizations together valued at over $400 billion.
We are honored to have partnered with YC from the start and are thrilled to continue our mission of connecting teams through the power of incentives with them by our side.
Our Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Mark Schopmeyer, shares a glimpse into CaptivateIQ’s backstory and what’s next.
Mark: Several years ago when I was a Finance lead at Brightroll, commissions were dumped on me, and I was told I needed to build a new excel 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 entire 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 paying out tens of millions in commissions, I wanted to quit my job because I was having a tough time managing this.
I later caught up with Conway and learned he was experiencing a similar pain, having managed commissions at two different companies, most recently at Gusto. One thing led to another and we quit our jobs and brought on our college friend, Hubert Wong. We began building a new commissions solution that we wanted to use. Here’s a picture of the Starbucks where it all began.
Mark: Calculating commissions is really complicated and mission-critical. Think of it as a highly complex form of payroll — each company has a unique commission plan that involves a lot more calculations and data than your typical salary payroll math. About 70% of the market uses spreadsheets to manage commissions and for good reason: it’s low cost, something that most people already know how to use, but most importantly, it’s really flexible. Unfortunately, spreadsheets are incredibly error-prone.
In fact, 80% of commissions have errors.
Spreadsheets also don’t scale and lack a lot of necessary functionality required to manage commissions successfully. We’ve seen firsthand how much people want to get off of them. About 75% of our customer base left spreadsheets for CaptivateIQ. This is because our automation platform eliminates human error, ensures you stay compliant with financial controls, and lets you manage more extensive data sets and increasingly complicated calculations (that spreadsheets can’t handle).
The rest of the market uses a limited set of antiquated commission solutions. Incumbent solutions are prohibitively expensive for most businesses, with implementation fees in the six figures. Plus, they only handle certain types of commission plans and require users to configure commission plans with esoteric programming language.
In recent years, commission plans have become much more complicated and change far more frequently. Why? Because companies have access to more data than ever, allowing leaders to incentivize employees on more performance metrics and design highly precise, customized commission plans. Secondly, in an increasingly competitive and dynamic business environment, sales leaders regularly adjust what sales teams focus on to meet current priorities and goals.
On top of all of this, enterprise software users are demanding a good user experience for their sales reps so that they actually use the product. Back when Xactly and Callidus were established, enterprise software could get away with clunky tools that required lots of professional services to maintain, so they haven’t had to evolve.
This leaves companies in between a rock and a hard place — they want to get out of spreadsheets but want flexible and user-friendly tools.
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 out commissions to their teams. Today, it’s so much more — but 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 better aligned with their business goals.
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 to use, it’s incredibly easy for businesses 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 a 100+ person company that’s earned the top position in sales compensation software, 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.
Mark: CaptivateIQ offers a radically new approach towards solving commissions through a powerful modeling platform. We combine the familiarity of spreadsheets with the scalability and performance of software. Users can configure any commission plan entirely on their own.
Our unique product design is based on the personal experiences that we’ve had with commissions. A majority of the people on our team previously managed commissions and/or administered legacy software in previous roles. We understand firsthand the problems users face and the pitfalls of existing solutions. We are designing the tool we would’ve wanted in our old jobs.
We know that 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.
If you like to tackle complexities and turn them into delightful experiences, then head over to our Careers page to see open roles.