Canada’s technology sector saw significant highs and lows last year, from the growth of exciting new industries to hybrid work and the stability of tech giants being flipped with abrupt mass layoffs.
This turbulence has left many young professionals re-evaluating their priorities when searching for a new job.
When hiring and retaining workers, PolicyMe keeps all this at top of mind.
The Toronto-based insurance technology startup is entering the new year on a hiring spree following an $18 million Series A round secured late last year.
PolicyMe was founded in 2018 by Andrew Ostro and Laura and Jeff McKay, who each experienced firsthand the inefficiencies that exist across traditional life insurance valuation chains while working as professionals in the insurance and tech industries. The startup’s digital-first life insurance product leverages the latest tech to be faster and more affordable than buying through traditional insurers.
From 2020 through last year, the company tripled its headcount to more than 50 employees. Not only have they avoided the layoff bug many tech firms have caught recently, but PolicyMe is actively growing—the startup says it is looking to fill several positions in the first quarter alone.
These open roles include customer success, engineering, and product.
“For potential talent, if you are someone who enjoys challenges and has a creative mind, PolicyMe is the place for you,” chief technology officer Jeff McKay told TechTalent.ca last year. “We aren’t just a regular insurance company; we pride ourselves on trying to make a difference.”
Part of that difference is an invigorating startup energy which only an industry disruptor can generate.
“Startups are appealing to many people because [working at one] motivates and pushes them to grow,” McKay said. “At PolicyMe, the problems that we’re trying to solve are complex, our vision is ambitious, and our focus on building better is relentless.”
According to McKay, PolicyMe is “always in search of motivated talent to join our teams.” The startup promises a competitive salary, annual health spend account, and four weeks of vacation per year on top of unlimited sick days.
And of course, as a digital-forward company, the company offers employees the option of remote work or a physical desk at their cozy Toronto office.
The startup’s remote work policy was originally based on Covid-19 Pandemic restrictions, but remains solidly in place because PolicyMe knows it has to compete on all levels for prime talent in the current market.
“Finding talent has been quite difficult … due to fierce competition in recruiting,” McKay admitted, adding that recent layoffs in the tech sector have some people wary about joining a startup, which are fragile compared to larger corporations. “These challenges and headwinds have challenged us to be more open-minded about where we look for talent.”
From their hub in Toronto, the PolicyMe cofounders manage a team that is “dispersed across Canada.” However, the startup still aims to cultivate company culture.
“The systems and rituals that we’ve built to support our remote culture allow us to still come together and stay united under one goal,” McKay affirmed.
Other Canadian startups disrupting the incumbent insurance industry include Toronto neighbour Walnut, Vancouver-based APOLLO, and Montreal-born Emma.