Kota, formerly Yonder, raises €5m in seed round led by EQT Ventures

25 Oct 2023

Co-founder and CEO Luke Mackey. Image: Kota

In a recent rebranding announcement, co-founder and CEO Luke Mackey said Kota is a Japanese name that means ‘happiness’ or ‘good fortune’.

Kota, the Irish employee benefits platform formerly known as Yonder, has raised €5m in its seed round led by EQT Ventures.

The announcement of this seed round today (25 October) comes just after co-founder and CEO Luke Mackey said the company was being rebranded from Yonder to Kota “to bring us through the next stage of our journey”.

“For us, Yonder was the name that brought our mission to life. It was inspired by the things in life that are far away yet important now, like your retirement,” Mackey wrote in a blogpost over the weekend.

“When you’re building a new category, you need a name that you can own. Unfortunately for us, we weren’t the only people who loved the name Yonder. In case you hadn’t already noticed, there are a few other companies that shared the name with us.”

Mackey said that the company’s name must carry meaning relevant to its current goal and that Kota is a Japanese name that means “happiness” or “good fortune” which goes to the “core of what we aim to deliver to our customers”.

While EQT led the oversubscribed seed round, Kota also received investment from existing backers Northzone and Frontline Ventures. Other notable investors include Job van der Voort of Remote.com, Romain Huet, formerly of Stripe and now OpenAI, and David Clarke, formerly of Workday.

Based in Dublin, Kota is an employee health insurance and retirement benefits platform. The idea is to help start-ups and scale-ups save time and money by automating the busy work associated with finding and managing team-wide benefits.

Mackey told SiliconRepublic.com in April that companies can get started in under eight minutes with access to leading health insurance and retirement plans in more than 30 European countries. Kota aims to integrate with existing tools, benchmark against local standards and “completely remove admin”.

Existing customers include big names such as &Open, Spotlight Oral Care, Unmind and Fonoa, and Kota has integrated with leading insurance providers such as Irish Life, Allianz Partners and Smart Pension.

“Employee health and retirement benefits are the Achilles’ heel of HR and finance teams. They are managed through spreadsheets, portals and email – completely fragmented, offline and lacking interoperability,” Mackey said in the funding announcement.

“This is little surpris[ing] given, unlike other areas of HR and finance where modern tools have revolutionised workflows, this industry is still dominated by old-school brokerages with an admin-heavy model.

“Kota is first to market with a platform that is automating workflows through data synchronisation and reconciliation, integrating with top-tier health, life and pension providers, and ultimately, delivering employees access to the benefits that they deserve.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic