The AWS of Back Office: A Conversation with Helpware
At a time when business functions can be atomized, Helpware brings together elements of on-demand and enterprise Saas. This takes form in a service that lets companies outsource back-office operations.
The benefit, according to founder Andy Steuer, is to allow businesses to operate leaner. This happens through an elastic work force that can scale up and down dynamically and in response to demand or seasonality.
To do this, it assembles full-time “helpers” and deploys them as needed. They specialize in back-office functional areas, work in a secure environment and in compliance with systems like ZenDesk and Quickbooks.
Of course, outsourcing isn’t new: Helpware’s innovation is to package it in a more nimble fashion. Helpware NOW for example is $99 per month plus 18 per hour for back office functions or customer service.
This sort of makes Helpware the Amazon Web Services of HR. As such, Saas-like pricing (pricing chart here) makes it attractive to fast-growing startups. In fact, that’s exactly who is benefiting from Helpware most.
In terms of job functions, Companies can often start with one function and grow from there, including the use of its API. Choices include customer support, accounting, data entry and transcription among others.
The pain points this solves tends to lead to high retention according to Steuer. This aligns with a principle we’ve been tracking: helping businesses on operational levels tends to resonate deeply with them and reduce churn.
“We have negative churn,” said Steuer. “100% of clients have added resources. The only reason for churn has been if someone goes out of business.”
One of its service areas with particularly strong growth potential is advertising services such as SEO or campaign management. This is compelled by agency execs that currently spend their time on manually intensive tasks.
“We can extend the number of hours in a day, said Steuer. “Now they can focus their day on customer-facing work.”