CEO SERIES Episode 3:
A Conversation with Parento CEO Dirk Doebler
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AJ Plotkin: brief introduction of direct alert the CEO Dirk is the founder and CEO of parental the first provider for paid parental leave.

AJ Plotkin: Parental is the go to provider for employers to support their working parents as a CFO CMO of a consumer goods startup dirt discovered companies misunderstand the financial impact.

AJ Plotkin: of employers having children employees, having children, contributing to the current lack of investment and paid parental leave Dirk Dirk helps both finance and HR extract the value of efficiently supporting new and working parents.

AJ Plotkin: Prior to founding renta with CFO coo dirt played a critical role in growing startup damn products 1,000% in two years, with limited capital.

AJ Plotkin: Partner team products you worked on Wall Street before moving into predictive analytics at a helicopter manufacturer so without further ado, let me pass this on to Dirk.

Dirk Doebler: Thank you AJ I appreciate that time i'm sure my screen So hopefully you can all see it.

Dirk Doebler: So thank you again i'm dirt over and the founder and CEO of parental and we are really the first provider out there, addressing the lack of paid parental leave.

Dirk Doebler: In the US, despite being one most desired benefits perks for incentives and the fact that most women will ultimately quit their jobs, after walkman and child do like a paid parental leave.

Dirk Doebler: Only a fraction of Americans have access to perfectly with any length, let alone the links that they need.

Dirk Doebler: And this has pretty significant repercussions for both the employee the employer and society, the whole.

Dirk Doebler: First, do the lack of paid parental leave and not having enough time off after welcome in a child.

Dirk Doebler: Over half a million women leave the workforce English after having a kid because better 30 to 40% of moms will quit after walk when a child.

Dirk Doebler: And this ultimately results, the gender wage gap tripling after parenthood because either moms are quitting and those who don't quit or return to work part time or take a step back from work, because the challenges of adjusting back to work.

Dirk Doebler: And so, ultimately, some effects of vast majority of families, but especially women, welcoming children.

Dirk Doebler: However, there is a solution that reduces that risk of turnover pretty significantly, and that is paid parental leave just offering 12 weeks of paid parental leave, reduces the risk.

Dirk Doebler: of a woman quitting her job after having a child from about 40 to 50% to less than 15 or 10%.

Dirk Doebler: So directly helps companies retain employees to win those common life events in something that's very forseeable and very easily addressable.

Dirk Doebler: And this is something that we see regularly with organizations, where they have no trouble attracting and retaining.

Dirk Doebler: young talent, especially women in their 20s and 25 year old age brackets the problem comes when those employees start to build their families.

Dirk Doebler: And all of a sudden, they don't have the resources they need they don't have a time off, they need to properly bond with their child and take leave and then all of a sudden, we look at companies age groups.

Dirk Doebler: And there's a significant drop in the number of women in their prime childbearing years for their family building years.

Dirk Doebler: So companies are losing talent, year in and year out due to lack of paid parental leave and for many firms have a few hundred employees, this results in learning the loss of dozens of employees or just a handful of years.

Dirk Doebler: Now, given that paid currently on its own can significantly improve outcomes it's kind of a quick question why don't companies do this.

Dirk Doebler: And the problem comes from the fact that finance doesn't know what's going to cost.

Dirk Doebler: How many people are going to take time in any given years what if more people than expected do, and if they do what's that going to cost us.

Dirk Doebler: Then for HR It begs the question how do you manage the different rules and regulations across different states California has paid family leave Texas doesn't New York, has it.

Dirk Doebler: But New Jersey, has a different program, how do you manage that.

Dirk Doebler: And then of course the age old question we just paid employee, not to work for three months, how do you make sure they're coming back, how do we make sure they're full time.

Dirk Doebler: And so that's where parental comes in, we are the first and only company to offer a paid parental leave insurance.

Dirk Doebler: That covers a salary, while and employees on paid parental leave, whether it's a mom or dad whether they gave birth fostered or adopted that child.

Dirk Doebler: And it's going to cover that expense from anywhere from six to 16 weeks of leaves at 50 to 100% of salary.

Dirk Doebler: And this gives finance that cost certainty and that no risk that the desire.

Dirk Doebler: But importantly it's not enough to just offer paid parental leave because, yes, more women will return to their jobs, but many of them are returned part time.

Dirk Doebler: And so we have an integrated proactive support program that provides expert parent coaches directly to the employees.

Dirk Doebler: provide guidance advice support to adjust the emotional challenges logistical challenges career challenges.

Dirk Doebler: Of a welcoming a new child that those employees are not only more likely to return to work at the end of their leave.

Dirk Doebler: But are more likely to return full time can stay with their organizations.

Dirk Doebler: And then the last piece of our program is supporting HR we take care of compliance, we take care of administration make their life easier by managing the employee experience and all the paperwork and logistics.

Dirk Doebler: And so, our program ultimately addresses the challenges that every major internal stakeholder faces from getting financed known costs, no risks and risk mitigation.

Dirk Doebler: to simplifying HR lives and improving the overall employee experience for them and, importantly, that employees and more employees return to work instead.

Dirk Doebler: Now, importantly, what we've seen in the market today is nothing really addressing paid parental leave the closest thing out there.

Dirk Doebler: has been short term disability insurance and for those of you who are familiar with that Program.

Dirk Doebler: Disability insurance only provides a small percentage of pay for employees, when they're out of work for a long time due to injury or illness.

Dirk Doebler: of which pregnancy is one so disability will pay typically just 60% of salary to an employee for about five weeks after she's given birth.

Dirk Doebler: But it's only for the birth mother it doesn't cover dads or adoptive parents or anyone else.

Dirk Doebler: And so, ultimately it's only covering less than half of the people who are welcome and child today and it's not giving them much coverage.

Dirk Doebler: In fact, companies are using pregnancy coverage is really the number one reason they buy it's a proxy for maternity leave.

Dirk Doebler: For these organizations and it's pregnancy coverages the number one reason why is right so number one contributor to the cost of these programs.

Dirk Doebler: And so what we found because so many organizations are buying disability insurance as a proxy for materially.

Dirk Doebler: they're not getting what they need they're not seeing the Roi they're not seeing higher returns work rates versus doing nothing.

Dirk Doebler: And so there's immense pent up demand from organizations there they've been looking for paid friendly solution for years, and only being given disability insurance or nothing.

Dirk Doebler: And so what we see is organizations love our program and they are very passionate and emotionally connected to our program because most of the HR leaders that we work with.

Dirk Doebler: Have directly felt the impact of having a child, with no paid parental leave they've had to suffer through that on their own and don't want other employees to go through that.

Dirk Doebler: And so not only they fantastic internal champions to sell us internally.

Dirk Doebler: But then they're very quick to tell their friends their co workers, their network about our program and so very quickly, we see a very strong network effects because there's so much desire for our Program.

Dirk Doebler: But what that also means they're telling their benefits brokers.

Dirk Doebler: And for important context most companies have over 250 employees by all of their health dental vision for one case and all their benefits through a benefit broker.

Dirk Doebler: So the fact that we're able to tap into that benefit broker channel is hugely important.

Dirk Doebler: And the reason we've been so successful and be able to work with benefits brokers and sell through them to their clients.

Dirk Doebler: Is because we're differentiated offering that feels very similar to what they know they already are very familiar with health dental vision short term long term disability insurance.

Dirk Doebler: And now it's a paid parental leave, insurance, that they can quickly understand.

Dirk Doebler: But allows them to differentiate themselves from their competition and it's something that they see their employers are asking for because there's so much pent up demand.

Dirk Doebler: And importantly we've also seen extremely strong word of mouth amongst benefits brokers, because this is a highly desired program from their clients.

Dirk Doebler: And one important aspect of our program and our business.

Dirk Doebler: Is that it's, not just for tech startups you see a lot of people might think you know your San Cisco based tech startups are the ones who are really investing in paid parental leave the rest of the country doesn't it isn't going to invest in it.

Dirk Doebler: And the reality is our experience shows that that's just not true, the vast majority of our clients actually traditional mainstream businesses and industries that traditionally haven't offered paid parental leave.

Dirk Doebler: But now have to we're talking consumer goods business with warehousing staff we're talking about government contractors design and architecture firms.

Dirk Doebler: Who now realize that they need to invest in this, and not only to remain competitive, but to keep the talent that they already have.

Dirk Doebler: And I want to leave you with some things that we see employees and HR saying about our program by by and large, parents are using our program at very high rates.

Dirk Doebler: And they're using our support and coaching that high rates now using a lot of hours and then they're telling their friends and family about it because they love it.

Dirk Doebler: And HR loves our program as well, and so much that we seen them say our program as well being placed favorite programs in the speaking tech startups happens as a generous employee offering our program is one of the favorite offerings for many of these employees.

AJ Plotkin: Thank you very much Dirk.


A Conversation with Parento CEO Dirk Doebler
Parento is an insurance-based paid parental and family leave solution that helps small to mid-sized businesses offer paid family medical leave.
ffVC first invested in Parento in 2019
Dirk Doebler
Dirk Doebler first encountered the challenge of offering paid parental leave as former CFO/COO of Dame Products, a sexual wellness brand. His background is in data analytics and finance. Previously, Dirk worked as a Senior Business Analyst for Sikorsky Aircraft, Barclays Capital, and Telsey Advisory Group (TAG) as a research analyst. In 2011, he earned a B.A. in Economics and Finance from Washington University in St. Louis and passed the CFA Level I exam.
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