Our investment in Zestful

Rewarding and retaining employees like never before with perks they'll actually use

We are excited to announce that Matchstick Ventures Fund II has completed an investment in Zestful (zestful.com). Zestful is a customizable employee and membership perk card.


Companies and organizations are always looking for ways to reward and retain employees and members. A common solution is to offer perks or rewards. Existing platforms are heavy and cumbersome to adopt and offer customers products they never end up using but the company still pays for. They fail at their goal, to provide a reward employees or members truly value. And, providing cash or letting employees pay on their own for goods or services and then submit for reimbursement is fraught with risk and carries a significant back office burden. 

Zestful conducted a survey of 10,000 employees asking which they would rather have; 1) A $130k Salary or 2) a $100k salary + Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Spotify, Headspace, a Meal Delivery Service, a Gym Membership, $20/mo to a Charity of Choice, and a $100/mo Experiences Allowance. An astonishing 80% chose the lower salary with the perks even though the total value of the perks only amounted to about $6k per year.

Company Specifics

Zestful is building a platform that enables organizations to offer a customizable employee and membership perk and reward program. Organizations give their employees or members an allowance to spend only on the products that match their mission and brand which is all powered through a Zestful credit card. 

Zestful manages the whole process through payment technology that has never existed before. The Zestful card is only authorized to work for certain vendors or business categories, under the control of the organization. Customizable limits and allowances are automatically integrated, updated and controlled in real time. Live tracking of usage provides insight and automatic reimbursement makes life easy for the employees, members and the organization. With Zestful, companies can get all the benefits of a flexible perk program with none of the hassle.

There are many use cases for Zestful’s technology. While they are starting with employers and membership organizations, the technology can work for families to manage allowances, for universities to manage student meal plans, and for businesses to create and give rewards to attract new or reward loyal customers. 

Organizations pay Zestful $5 per month per card. Zestful also collects 0.5% of all transactions. And, Zestful is working with brands to give 5-10% back to Zestful as a lead-gen fee for driving usage of their products or services. 

All of the Zestful technology is built and there are 2000+ employees on their waitlist. While still in private beta, they have over 100 active users testing the product. They have over 300 products available in their catalog already.

Mat Vogels (CEO) started this company with a different product in the same space. He wanted to improve team happiness by providing a platform to find and book team activities. He went through Y Combinator in San Francisco and quickly learned the market was too small and the use case too infrequent. But, while in SF, they learned the key insight from their survey that employees and members want a simple perks platform that pays for simple products they love and use every day. Mat took this insight, leveraged the technology he had already built and pivoted the company. 

Natty met Mat through the Colorado startup community, Mat applied to Techstars Boulder. Natty turned him down but months later wrote Mat a note saying that he regretted the decision and wished he had a chance to work with Mat due to the consistent execution, rapid learning and strong leadership capabilities he saw in Mat. They stayed in touch and Mat ended up mentoring in multiple Techstars programs.

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Natty Zola
October 28, 2018