Scarlett Pierce
Jun 29, 2021 7:03:18 PM

As a social impact business, Beam is a unique type of startup: its business is changing lives. Instead of profit margins, Beam focuses on rapidly growing the number of homeless people successfully getting into stable jobs as well as homes – what Beam calls its “social KPIs”. To date, Beam has supported over 300 people into jobs alone, and now supports more than one homeless person into a job every single day.

In a recent conversation, Alex explained why the company chose to make Capdesk a part of Beam’s remarkable journey to make a dent in some of society’s toughest problems.


Swapping old habits for new practices

Alex previously ran a successful tech startup called JustPark that managed its equity via spreadsheets, but found the process became difficult once optionholders were involved. Back then, there were few better options. This experience led Alex to seek a cap table solution for Beam as soon as its cap table became complex.

“Beam wasn’t using any equity management software before Capdesk. In an ideal scenario, however, I’d have started at a very early stage when there was a clean slate and no employee share option contracts in place.”

After shopping around, Alex settled on Capdesk – a choice made easy by recommendations from COOs in other businesses – and started to migrate Beam’s data onto the platform. Capdesk’s advanced functionality and feature set reassured Alex that he was making the right move.

“For me, it’s about making sure I’m using really good tools when doing something as important as managing equity – employee equity in particular. People work really hard here and not for the salaries they could get at a tech giant, so we owe it to them to provide generous incentivisation and get all the details right.”


Investing in tomorrow’s vision today

One standout feature for Alex has been online issuances. Capdesk facilitates the end-to-end management of employee equity, from grants all the way through to cancellations and exercises. The platform has enabled Alex to better handle a tricky and time-consuming task.

“Our main use case for Capdesk is issuing and exercising employee share options, as the process really demands an alternative to spreadsheets. It’s fiddly in the first place and will just become more and more difficult as our headcount grows. And we’re growing fast! Currently, we’re looking to hire 20 new passionate problem-solvers into the Beam team.”

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You only get what you give

Beam won Best Tech for Good in Europe and Best Financial Inclusion Startup in Europe from MIT and is doing its best to live up to those awards. While Beam’s headcount currently stands at 30, the social mobility startup has ambitious growth plans that will require a team of 50 by December and as many as 100 over the following 12 months. All Beam employees have share options, something that Alex believes gives his company a competitive edge when it comes to recruitment.

“There’s a really exciting migration underway, from traditional ‘Big Tech’ companies, fintech and other VC-backed companies – that may have a neutral or even negative net impact on the world – to social impact companies,” he explained.

“We need to attract the most ambitious and talented people to work on these problems. Above all, people come to Beam for the mission and our reputation as a leader in tech for good. But to attract and retain the best we also offer equity.”




A company is only as good as its people

It’s clear from talking to Alex that Beam’s number one priority is its mission: to equip people to lift themselves out of homelessness. Giving employees a stake in the business helps make this possible, he explained:

“As a social impact company, we are driven by making a measurable positive impact on society by helping as many disadvantaged people as possible into stable jobs and homes. In doing so, we also generate revenues from the government and employers, growing as a business. We want to pull every lever we can to increase our social impact and grow as a company and employee options are a tried-and-tested lever.”

As Alex points out, the opportunity – and the need – is huge. “With Beam, we’re building a team of highly motivated stars who can help create equality of opportunity in the UK and ultimately globally.”


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