The competition for engineers is fierce out there. Tech companies are looking for every advantage they can get when it comes to attracting talent, which is where Goodly comes in.
Launched in 2018 in San Francisco, Goodly offers a way for companies to help their employees with student debt as one of the benefits they receive, like health insurance or vacation time.
Greg Poulin, co-founder and CEO of Goodly, said the company works with each client to design a contribution plan, but typically employers offer a flat $100 monthly payment toward repaying a student debt loan. Some companies tie the payment to tenure, starting at $50, increasing to $75 in year two and $100 in year three.
“That way they support folks who have committed to the company for a long period of time,” Poulin said.
One of Goodly’s customers is GumGum, headquartered in Santa Monica, California GumGum is an artificial intelligence company focusing on computer vision. The company works with a variety of industries by teaching machines to see and understand the world.
Since 2008, GumGum has applied its patented capabilities to serve clients ranging from BMW to HBO, from Outback to Adidas.
Kelly Battelle, GumGum’s Vice President of people operations, said the company employs a high percentage of millennials, a demographic that’s often dealing with crippling student debt. GumGum CEO Phil Schroeder asked Battelle to find a way to help address that debt problem for employees, which might make the company more attractive to potential hires compared to its competitors.
Battelle said she gets spammed multiple times a day by companies who want to sell her on a program to help GumGum’s employees with their student debt, but Goodly caught her attention above all the others. The company contacted her through LinkedIn.
Battelle liked the way Goodly made everything easy for her. First, Goodly confirms the student debt loan is legitimate.
“We’re saying if you put in X dollars we will too,” Battelle explained. “Goodly takes care of making sure the money is actually going to the loan. If you just put money as a deposit in a bank account you can’t be sure the money will go to pay down the loan.”
Goodly also makes enrollment “super easy,” Battelle said. Her payroll clerk doesn’t have to deal with it.
GumGum launched the benefit in January. Battelle said 45 employees have already enrolled, out of 300 employees worldwide, most of which are in the United States. The benefit is only available to U.S. employees.
Goodly doesn’t release revenue numbers or client numbers, but Poulin, 31, said the company is working with a “big range” of customers, from startups to robotics companies and even nonprofits. One interesting trend, he said, is that industries you might not think would have any use for Goodly, like manufacturing, are becoming clients.
“A large number of organizations that hire people for sales and marketing require college degrees, and are trying to find a competitive edge,” Poulin said.
Poulin himself is saddled with student debt. He was a student at Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire, when his father died unexpectedly, and he had to borrow $80,000 to complete his education. Poulin’s monthly payment on the loan is more than $900 per month.
“My student loans are something I’m not going to pay off any time soon,” Poulin said.