Startup Q&A: JOON Co-founder Jonathan Shooshani

Startup Q&A is an interview series showcasing early-stage health, fitness, and wellness companies.

In this Q&A, we went one on one with Jonathan Shooshani, co-founder and president of JOON, a corporate wellness benefits platform. Jonathan discusses how outdated benefits packages have become more like burdens and how JOON’s solution alleviates administrative challenges while unlocking the freedom of choice for wellness-seeking employees.

Can you tell us about what you’re working on at JOON?

Jonathan Shooshani: JOON is revolutionizing corporate wellness with the first turnkey platform that makes it easy for employers to customize a wellness benefits program for their people.

JOON* brings well-being categories like fitness, food, mental health, family care, and education all under one roof, giving employees the freedom to choose what’s meaningful to them — all while our software automates the reimbursement process and eliminates the administrative burden.

How did you come up with the idea? What key insight led you to pursue this opportunity?

JS: Our team has first-hand experience working at some of the highest-rated employers and saw how difficult it was for our HR teams to seamlessly administer wellness benefits, let alone for employees to use them. They felt more like burdens than benefits.

Every “solution” seemed like vanity — check-the-box benefits not designed for modern workforces. That’s why, despite a stated desire to prioritize wellness from employees, only a fraction ever used their benefit

We wanted to remove the friction of having to remember to use the right card or submit receipts. So, we engineered a solution designed for employee utilization and engagement rather than for rules and restrictions.

How did you turn your idea into a company?

JS: Our mission is to make healthy living more accessible and affordable. We interviewed HR leaders, employees, behavioral scientists, and fintech experts to learn how we could introduce a paradigm shift to corporate wellness that would automate administration and simplify usage.

We launched our prototype right before the pandemic to forward-thinking pilot customers who wanted innovative solutions to take better care of their people. Since then, wellness has increasingly become top of mind for employers, and we’ve iterated repeatedly to optimize for utilization for distributed workforces. We continuously survey our customers and their employees to keep pace with wellness priorities.

We also interview authors and experts (including Fitt Insider) and share best practices at the intersection of work and wellness.

How big can this get? What’s the addressable market and how do you go about capturing it?

JS: Voluntary turnover is a massive problem that costs US businesses greater than $1 trillion annually. The pain is particularly acute for technology companies in highly competitive labor markets attracting and retaining knowledge workers.

That’s where we’re focused right now, but corporate wellness is a $50B market globally and growing quickly. As we expand our product capabilities, we will introduce our paradigm shift to the world.

Who is the core customer? How are you acquiring customers? And how will you grow the customer base?

JS: While we’ll work with companies that are as small as just a founding team, our core customer is a venture-backed, growth-stage company with an incredible culture that wants to continue winning the war for talent.

Most of our customers are migrating from administering benefits programs via expense reporting, prepaid cards, or other tedious processes. They are generous employers that just need a platform like JOON to offer flexible benefits to workforces with diverse needs.

Looking at your road map, what are some of the milestones you’re targeting over the next 3-6 months?

JS: Our top priority is to continue abstracting away the complexity of administering benefits to larger and larger organizations. That means being able to streamline multiple benefits programs that might include one allowance for health & wellness purchases and another allowance for learning & development purchases. It also means seamlessly integrating with HR systems for roster management and grossing up taxes.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers?

JS: We truly believe that stress is the new cigarette and that managers have more of an impact on one’s wellness than their general physician. We’re advocates for generous health insurance plans, but the reality is that most plans don’t cover a wide range of preventative care, from mental health to financial well-being.

And that’s what today’s employees want to prioritize. We’re leveraging financial technology and behavioral science to make health and wellness more accessible to everyone.

 

If you’re interested in having your company featured in our Startup Q&A series, send an email to team@fitt.co.

*Fitt Insider is an investor in JOON. We invest in early-stage health, fitness, and wellness companies. Learn more and get in touch here.