COMCAST COULDN’T FIND A FINANCIAL PLATFORM IT LIKED — SO IT BUILT ITS OWN
The cable giant launched Brightside, which is now available to other employers.
Add Comcast to the growing list of employers
that are cutting out the middleman when it comes to helping employees. The cable giant isn’t starting its own independent healthcare company for its U.S. employees, a la Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase; rather Comcast is taking a direct route to easing its workers’ financial stress with a new platform.
“[Financial stress] was a really challenging issue,” says Shawn Leavitt, senior vice president of total rewards at Comcast. “How do we make employees’ money go further, and how do we make them less stressed, not just during the workweek but at home on the weekends?”
The company looked for a financial wellness platform that would help its workers manage expenses, save money and pay off loans, Leavitt says, but it came up short on finding meaningful solutions. That’s when it turned to its venture capital arm, Comcast Ventures, to look into creating its own platform.
The result was Brightside, which officially launched in May at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas. The new platform has secured $4 million in seed funding from Comcast Ventures and Trinity Ventures, the company announced, and it is now looking to win over more employers looking to ease financial stress through a combination of human and technological help.
It’s the first financial wellness solution aimed specifically at employers, the company said in an interview.
“The point solutions that are popping up for [financial wellness] … if employers wanted to embrace this, they would end up with 20 vendors and they wouldn’t be able to manage them,” said Christine Tozzi, chief strategy officer and co-founder of Brightside. “But with Brightside, we manage all these point solutions that are needed, and we customize them for the employees. This is a new benefit that we expect employers to adopt so that they can help employees more holistically than they’ve been able to in the past.”
Brightside aims to offer support for each employee’s unique financial situation with a mobile app and financial assistants, both backed by a proprietary financial methodology, along with modern behavioral science and access to financial products curated personally to save them money.
Introduced to some of Comcast’s 160,000 employees a month ago, the platform still is in the process of being rolled out to other employees across the nation. But early indications are strong, Comcast says. Though the company declined to say how many employees have signed up, engagement is two times what Comcast’s benefits team expected.
“We’ve saved people thousands of dollars on credit card interest with refinancing; we’ve helped people think about student loans; and helped them build an emergency savings account such that if their taillight goes out, they don’t need a loan for that,” said Callum King, co-founder of Brightside, noting that the product is free for Comcast employees. “Having a champion by your side for that can massively reduce financial stress, which has a major effect on employees and their families. That stress is just a massive productivity killer.”