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50 Fastest Growing Companies Of The Year 2019

An Interview with Frederic Hougard, Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions CEO: ‘We Offer an Innovative Technology, a User-Friendly Platform to Manage Your Benefit, Coupled with a Superior Customer Service’

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“Our mission is to make tax-free commuter benefits an essential part of employee benefits packages nationwide.”

Commuter benefits save both employers and employees money. The benefit allows employees to set aside tax-free money to pay for their commuting expenses, and can be used for mass transit, ride shares, and qualified paid parking. Employers get in on the savings too. By offering a commuter benefit to your employees, your company can save on payroll taxes each year.

In light of the above-mentioned scenario, we’re thrilled to present Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions (ECBS).

ECBS is a leading comprehensive commuter benefit solutions provider and number one resource for commuter savings. Since 1985, ECBS has served Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies and top third-party benefit administrators.

The company is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Frederic Hougard, Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Why was the company set up?

ECBS was set up over three decades ago. Since then, the company has been focused on making commuter benefits an essential piece of its customers’ benefits packages.

With its premier solution offerings; Commuter Check, a nationwide commuter benefits program for employers; and WiredCommute, a private label program for third-party administrators, ECBS is able to provide a one-stop total solution experience.

The company serves more than 12,000 employers representing over 1.9 million employees. It also maintains partnerships with over 50 national third-party administrators, more than 350 transit agencies, hundreds of bike shops, and over 5,000 parking locations.

Moreover, ECBS has a strong core focus on managing and delivering both employer and employee-based commuter pre-tax benefits programs. These programs help enterprises generate savings of up to 7.65 percent per year on their payroll taxes while helping employees generate huge savings on their taxable incomes. The company provides extensive support, including dedicated account managers, nationwide coverage, convenient product delivery, and a complete suite of support services.

Q. Tell us about your first product that was launched.

Our first product, Commuter Check, was formed in 1990. With this, ECBS became the first company to offer Transit Benefits in compliance with IRC 132(f).

Q. How successful was your first project roll on? Share the experience.

With the changes in legislature, allowing commuter benefits to be offered via pre-tax deductions, ECBS was the first company of its kind to comply with IRS regulations. Organizations were now able to look to a company to manage this program on their behalf, streamlining the process for their HR administrators who would otherwise be overwhelmed with the regulations and details behind the benefit.

Q. What kind of responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?

ECBS is solely committed to pre-tax commuter benefits that allow us to be experts in the industry versus our competitors that manage many benefit programs. Being an industry expert provides us with the expertise needed to assist employees on behalf of the employer through our superior customer support and customer success teams. Employers with more than 100 employees are assigned a dedicated Customer Success Team Member to answer questions and assist with educating their employees and growing their overall participation.

Q. If you have to list five factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why?

Factors that make ECBS stand out in a crowd of competitors:

  • Competitive pricing models with no hidden fees or set up charges
  • Expertly trained customer support teams that are US-based
  • In-house fulfilment with options to deliver the product directly to employees home addresses
  • Partnerships with organizations such as Uber, Lyft, SpotHero, Divvy Bikes, Vanpools and more
  • Flexibility and customization based on client needs/requirements

Q. Tell us about the services ECBS offer.

Our B2B Commuter Services include:

  • Partners with over 50 national third-party administrators (TPAs), 350+ Transit Agencies, 5,000+ parking locations and 650+ bicycle shops nationwide
  • Transit, Parking, Vanpooling, Ridesharing, Bicycling
  • All fare media and fare collection systems
  • Small and large employers
  • Corporate commuter benefits program administrator on behalf of transit agencies (managed program), including:
  1. RTA Chicago
  2. DVRPC Philadelphia
  3. MBTA Boston

Q. What do you feel are the reasons behind:

Your product popularity – increased interest by employers to help shift individuals away from single-occupancy vehicles to alternative forms of transportation including train, bus, ferry, ridesharing, and vanpools.

Your consistence growth as an organization – partnerships with transit and parking providers like Uber, Lyft, and SpotHero as well as our expertise related to pre-tax commuter benefits. We are solely committed to commuting versus our competitors that have an all-in-one focus that includes healthcare and other wellness benefits. We have leveraged our expertise in the industry to provide informative content to HR directors and higher, that allows them to make clear decisions related to this benefit.

Q. Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

Currently, four major cities (San Francisco, New York City, Washington, DC, and Seattle) and one state (New Jersey) have passed ordinances that require employers who employ a certain number of people (ranging between 25-50) to provide their employees with the transit benefit (either pre-tax or as a subsidy). The ordinances have been passed without opposition and in several instances with the support of the business community, which is generally opposed to mandates. With this increased awareness of the benefit and local/state municipalities mandating the benefit, our company has a huge potential in market share nationwide.

"We have a strong core focus on managing and delivering both employer and employee-based commuter pre-tax benefits programs. These programs help enterprises generate savings of up to 7.65 percent per year on their payroll taxes while helping employees generate huge savings on their taxable incomes.”