Porto, Portugal
Client since
December 2020
Company size

Building bridges is as much engineering as it is technology

TAIKAI's story

Faced with the challenge of attracting and retaining talent, TAIKAI focused on the benefits it could bring to its people
The benefits offer is one of the most interesting things about the service and a motivating factor for employees
Flexibility and simplicity are keywords in the Coverflex experience

Coverflex changed the paradigm of what the typical benefits were.

Mário Alves
Co-founder and CEO

Once upon a time there was a tech platform where challenges find their solvers. If there is a pitch that suits TAIKAI, this is one of them. Founded in 2018, the startup's goal is "to build bridges of innovation between corporate companies and individuals." “We thought there was no such link, we tried to understand how this could work in realistically”, explains Mário Alves, CEO and co-founder of TAIKAI, in a conversation with Coverflex. The practical result is a tech platform where companies launch innovation challenges to a large community, which currently has more than 50.000 members, that works to respond to these challenges. “Most of these challenges are technological, in the most common slang for startups they are called hackathons, which, in essence, are technological marathons to find solutions for companies”, explains Mário Alves.

But, with a community of 50.000 members, TAIKAI has to challenge them and its people. With a team that has doubled its number since the end of 2020, from four to eight people, matches - on the platform and in the team - are made up of common ambition and expectation. “We try to ensure that the company is able to describe exactly its problems and what type of deliverables it would like to have in this challenge, so that there is a match between what innovators produce within the platform and what companies are looking for”, he points out.

If we look for the origin of the name “TAIKAI”, the word means “coopetition”, that is, collaboration + competition. And, inside and outside, that's what it's about.

The Challenge

Recalling the early days of the startup life, Mário and his partner, Helder, wanted to show that TAIKAI was, fundamentally, an interesting company to work for. But as the TAIKAI team grew (from four people in late 2020 to eight in mid 2021), the founders began to consider other challenges. “From a certain point on, we stopped having this difficulty of being a small startup without even a validated product, and started having some notoriety at a national level and in some foreign markets. Now the challenge is to convince talent to join us, and retain it. Therefore, we try to focus on the benefits we can give our people”, he stresses.

The need to look for benefits that “really matter to employees” was a task that took some time. “We quickly realised that what Coverflex proposed to do was very interesting. You had just launched the product on the market and the second step was to convince the talent that this was the way forward and that Coverflex was the solution to adopt”, he adds. “Coverflex changed the paradigm of what the typical benefits were”, says Mário, ensuring that, for those who manage a company and, above all, when the company is small, it is a puzzle” to manage flexible benefits taking into consideration the particularities of each of the employees.

The Solution

As it is a new product on the market, Mário Alves anticipated an eventual skepticism from the team. “The lack of literacy, as there is nothing similar in the market, brings fear and is a challenge. We decided to have a meeting on the subject, we showed our confidence and proposed a test to see how Coverflex worked”, he recalls. “If it didn't work, we would go back to the traditional way of doing things”.

What could have been a shower of doubts and even a resounding “no” became a “trigger for them, at this moment, to love Coverflex. Some people with children use Coverflex Childcare a lot, others with pets prefer to take advantage of Barkyn's discounts", he lists, adding: "It's these little things that make the difference when you deal with people and have a team because it clearly affects their motivation”.

On the day Henrique Macedo, Design Lead at TAIKAI, heard about Coverflex, the idea “immediately aroused” his curiosity. “Not only for the interface and the user experience but also for the way it aggregated several solutions in a single service, and for the variety of benefits”, he says in a conversation with Coverflex. Getting started with the platform was “simple and smooth”. “I cannot fail to emphasise the offer of benefits, one of the most interesting things about the service”, he stresses.

For Mario, being able to control everything “through an app” is his favourite part. That simplicity - and this is the main point - in the user experience is the key to the whole Coverflex experience because, of course, what's behind is highly complex, but that doesn't matter to the user in the end. If it is so simple to use your service, anyone can use it”, he points out.

This story was first published on the Coverflex blog in July 2021.

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