Benefit Providers for Startups

My fund, Susa Ventures, recently conducted its first annual founder survey. We asked each of the founders we work with about a dozen questions about everything ranging from recruiting to benefit providers to company culture. The results were fascinating, and I'd like to share some of the data about benefit providers. If you're starting a company and are not sure where to turn for services like payroll or health insurance, then I hope this blog post will provide some good starting points.

Reporting methodology

Satisfaction scores are on a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being "very dissatisfied", 3 being "neutral", and 5 being "very satisfied."

All costs are reported as per employee per month (/e/m).


The sample size is not huge (17 founders replied, and some founders skipped a few questions). The following recommendations are often based on 3-5 founders all recommending the same service. Given the sample size, please take all recommendations with a large grain of salt.


Typical cost: $5-$10/e/m.

Best providerZenPayroll. About half of the respondents used ZenPayroll, and their average satisfaction score was 4.7. Everyone who used ZenPayroll was very happy with it.

Health Insurance

Typical cost: $200-$600/e/m.

Best provider: No clear winner given fragmentation and variance between health plans. One interesting observation was that the more companies paid, the happier they were. Companies paying $200-$300/e/m typically had satisfaction scores of 3 or lower, while companies paying $400+/e/m had satisfaction scores of 4 or higher.

The two most popular providers were Zenefits (5 votes) and Anthem (3 votes). Both were in the $350-$425/e/m range and both had average satisfaction scores of 3.7.

Dental Insurance

Typical cost: $17-$60/e/m.

Best providers: 3 founders were satisfied with Delta Dental (prices were $20-$60/e/m). 2 founders were very satisfied with Zenefits ($17/employee/month).


Typical cost: highly variable.

Best providersGunderson Dettmer was unanimously liked by the 3 founders who used it (4.7 satisfaction score). Cooley and Wilson Sonsini each had 2-3 votes and satisfaction scores of 4.0.


Typical cost: $500 per company per month.

Best providerinDinero had 4 votes and an average satisfaction score of 4.0.

Worst provider: Doing accounting by yourself had an average satisfaction score of 2.0.