Starting up with Kaitlyn Knopp

She’s the co-founder and CEO of Pequity.
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· 4 min read

On Tuesdays, we get into the weeds with the founders of HR tech startups. Want to tell us about your company? Get in touch here.

Kaitlyn Knopp is the co-founder and CEO of Pequity, a smart compensation platform that harnesses industry data to help organizations build compensation plans. Since its founding in 2019, the company has raised $19 million from a variety of investors, including First Round Capital and Scribble Ventures. HR Brew talked to Knopp about implementing more transparent safeguards around corporate compensation plans, and the future of HR tech.

What product or service does your company offer? We are a company’s compensation operating system, or a comp OS, that manages and automates the pay workflows from bands to offers to promos and comp cycles.

How does the service work? We plug in between your ATS and HRS, and we allow our QA teams or operators to set up workflows that help automate, but contain boundaries around, decisions. [It] helps companies stay within budget [and] prevent pay disparities, all in a faster, more efficient way than what the current systems do, which are usually spreadsheets.

What specific issue in HR does your company intend to solve? We’re on a mission for fair pay and opportunity for all. Most companies are running their processes with very error-prone spreadsheets and these disparate systems that don’t have feedback loops or strategic support.  We’re closing that loop. If you have an offer, we automate the process of showing what the right pay is for that offer, as well as sending it to the right approvers in seconds, which normally is a week-long process. We have helped companies shorten their offer process from a week to an hour and 40 minutes. For comp cycles, it’s the same idea: We’re helping managers come to the right decision, because we’re strategically looking at what peers have in similar roles and levels.

How does your company solve that specific issue? By allowing every pay decision to be held to a consistent process…We have to consistently compare every single person to the same data in the same way, and we need to accurately represent that data…We help to standardize the information, and we’re creating what I like to call an “air traffic control center for comp teams” where they have all the data.

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How do you think the HR tech field will evolve over the next five to 10 years? HR is fascinating because it seems like the one part of a business where we still throw a ton of bodies at problems...It’s just completely run by people. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we’re in a new world—there’s remote work, people who are demanding more flexibility. There’s this really healthy reconditioning of employment, too. We see a lot of people questioning their employer…I have my employees, bank accounts, SSNs, I have their addresses, and I’m just their employer…it’s very inefficient for me to have to get my employees’ information into a system, choose a plan for them, ship it over to the vendor, so they can cover this person and then act as the middleman for every claim and thing that goes through. I think that’s ripe for disruption.

How will your company help drive that evolution? We are the first and only comp software that offers flexibility for companies to create their own compensation program within a system. My dream is to have a creator system where companies come in and they can build the programs of their dreams. The limitations of what companies can build today is based on the flexibility of the systems that interact with spreadsheets and while they’re very flexible, they’re not user friendly and they’re not secure…We are covering the flexibility, user friendly, and security aspects. I want people to feel that they can build that and evolve within pay equity, because it’s not going to happen overnight…People, as we’re seeing with the New York [pay transparency] law, are not comfortable just going out and ripping off the Band-Aid and putting all my pay ranges out there. They want to take baby steps. But that means that they need a system that will take the baby steps with them.

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HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.