FAQ

Why the name levy?

Naming a company is tough. Your name can represents so much or so little (i.e.AirBnB & Pinterest vs Deloitte & Accenture).

levy represents a lot of things that we hope our clients care about: levitate (as in the calm and peaceful feeling we bring to the table), levee (as in we hold back the overwhelming amount of operations work that threatens to flood you), leverage (as in by saving you 500+ hours a year, you have a far greater chance to make your company a success), levy (as in taxes - yes that sounds negative but here's the thing, back-office operations are a tax on your business. Literally, they tax about 10-15% of your revenue on average for publicly traded companies).

Our logo is meant to represent all of those things combined with the subtle support (where you can connect the L and the y) and a bit of a smile.

That happy, relieved, safe is how we hope you feel when partnering with levy.

Can you really help reduce my operational headaches?

We created this company for one reason and one reason only: help business founders and executives, just like us, reduce their operation burden so they can go back to doing what they do best - focus on their product and customers!

Beautiful operations?

Beautiful, seamless operations are the foundation of a stable business. Researching, managing, and integrating dozens of SaaS tools just so that you can THEN get to the real work is insane.

A new hire requires almost a dozen steps: 1. Send offer and confidentiality letter, 2. Get letter executed (this is critical and something far too many founders miss as they are, of course, moving fast!), 3. Add new hire to payroll provider (such as Gusto), 4. Issue new hire equity (such as in Carta), 5. register Worker's compensation (State government website), 6. Update financial projections (in Excel or your other financial tools), 7. Issue credit card (such as with Ramp), 8. Set up with expense software (such as with Expensify).

Imagine if all of those steps were done for you...Deep breath. It's possible. Now you can go back to focusing on what matters. We have you covered. #Beautifuloperations

What's your pricing?

Our pricing varies by the size and age of your company. The reason: the "older" you are, the more documents, services, and general crud you've built up (hey, it happens to all of us!). The same thing occurs the more employees you add. While in a sense, this is great - you've built a company with a bunch of employees and have managed to not only stay in business but also grow, it also means that the complexity of your business has increased. For the levy team do our job well, we need to understand your business. The more documents, data, and people to interact with, the more time it takes.

How do you define "back-office"?

"Back-office" operations is everything you need to do to run your business. It is everything that is NOT part of your product or finding/marketing/selling to your customers. Basically, if it should be a core competency of your business, that is "front-office" critical work for you and your team. Everything else is part of the back-office.

Specifically, back-office work includes: human resources (HR), finance, and compliance.

Note that we are NOT your lawyers and we do not do legal work. We also are not bookkeeper or accountants. Our focus is on being your business partner to remove the headache of back-office work so you can focus. At your request, we can interface with your lawyers or bookeepers/accountants but we clearly believe that outsourcing to experts (such as lawyers and accountants) is always the right choice - just like outsourcing your overall back-office operations to levy is the smartest decision you'll make all year.

How do I know you're doing your job?

We believe transparency and over communication is the key to reducing founder stress. Imagine your best employee. Now imagine not needing to recruit, hire, train or manage that person. That's what you get with levy.

Our Operations Partners will provide you with regularly updated, detailed lists of work they are doing. They will frequently communicate with you via Slack, email or any other method you prefer (carrier pigeon might be a bit slow but we're open to trying!).

levy's goal: you trust us so much that you don't even have to worry about whether we're doing our job since you know it's happening behind the scenes. You don't worry. You don't stress. We are your partners.

Do you use any software?

We use a lot of software. What, do you think we're animals?

We have a recommended stack of software that we think will make you look like a truly professional, first-class, tech-forward, organized startup. At the top of that list is AbstractOps and their ability to auto classify and categorize all of your files.

Project management software is also critical to us tracking, recording, and reporting every bit of work we do on your behalf.

I care about security, do you?

Heck yes. Everything we do requires, at a minimum, 2-factor authentication. We have very long passwords that reset on a regular cadence. World-class password managers are required. Finally, essentially all of our work happens in the cloud within your own tools. That means that so long as you've set up your tools (such as Google/Gmail, Banking, Credit Cards, etc) in a way that is secure, we'll be secure, as well.

Services: Your very own Chief Operations Officer

Why do large companies have their own operations team but small businesses leaders are expected to run operations by themselves? We think that is backwards. Small businesses need to outsource operations to a trusted teammate immediately since every minute wasted on operations is a minute you are closer to death. Focus is the most important skill an early stage team can learn. Figuring out how a dozen back-end operations tools work (and which ones to use) is not a good time investment.

Our seasoned operators are like the "business" founder you wish you had but for 1/20th of the cost. We're an extension of your team, available over Slack / email / text. It's like an Operator AMA (Ask Me Anything); we know answers to almost everything, and find the answer or point you in the right direction when we don't.

Your routine needs will be on autopilot:
- We operate your existing business systems + processes from a dedicated new
ops@[yourdomain.com] mailbox.
- Document issuance and management
- Vendor contracts, payments, renewals, etc.
- Local, state, and regulatory registrations and handling compliance needs as they arise such as worker's compensation

We help with vendor research, recommendations and provisioning
- We identify and sign you up for the best products and services, for every need at every stage.
- When you're thinking about a new tool, we give you an exec summary of the options, tradeoffs, ease of use and pricing. You'll save hundreds of hours a year.
- Stop spending hours researching health insurance. We summarize options, costs and tradeoffs for you. No more paradox of choice.

New hire? Special situations? Just ping us
-
Employee onboarding / offboarding
- Support for investor relations / updates
- Diligence packet for a landlord or loan application
- Immigration application support
*Note: we don't provide legal or tax advice

‍Benchmarks and insights, offered in an intelligent and timely manner
- How much should you offer engineer #12 with 4 years of experience?
- How does my SaaS spend per employee compare to similar companies?
"

"Heavy lift" modules when you need it (added cost) - examples:
-
Fundraising: this is a specialty of ours. Deck design, pitch coaching, fundraising strategy, investor sourcing, DD checklist support.
- Hiring: Build out Job Descriptions. Pick / set up the right ATS. Engage recruiters.
- Growth marketing: Assemble a growth playbook for your business. Set channels.
- Sales Operations: Playbook designed for the specifics of client’s business (e.g., SaaS vs. DTC vs. Fintech).
- Office space: Identify needs, term, location. Get ready and engage the right brokers to work with.

How much do you think we'll save by using AbstractOps?

Dollar cost:

Companies typically spend ~10% of their expenses on these functions, while we expect our fee will work out to ~1% of cash in the bank per year. You might still need to hire some capacity for this, but our pricing is designed to always save you ~75-90% (vs. just doing it yourself or hiring people)

Time cost:
Founding teams spend 10+ hours on back-office work a week. That doesn't even include the cost of context switching and attempting to learn something new far outside your area of interest & knowledge. Imagine that time suck dropping down by 95%.

Another way to think of it: with levy, you'll have the equivalent of an extra day a week to build your company. That's 52 more work days a year. Compare that to founders without levy. Which startup will win?

Why do you need us?

We're serial entrepreneurs; we've served as founders or execs at companies worth >$500M. We're long-time startup investors and advisors. We are operators.

We know that focus on customers and product is essential to success; anything else is a distraction. That's why we remove everything else, and take care of it for you. We check in when we need your approvals or decisions, so that you think about it as much as you need to; no more.

When is the best time to start using levy?

The sooner the better. Every day, your business becomes more complex and harder to manage. The sooner you bring on operation expertise, the sooner you'll avoid operational mistakes that will cost a lot later.

Added bonus that while you won't get that next round of funding due to having the "best back-office," investors definitely will notice if you are a hot mess or organized and under control. Choosing between the company (and founder) that has every back-office answer at their fingertips vs the founder that takes weeks to find the document or answer, which do you think a VC would choose?

Are there things you don't handle?

We don’t provide legal or tax advice. Any time it enters that territory, we’ll be happy to refer you into one of our partners — we have a lot of top-tier specialists that we work closely with, so it'll be very seamless.

We don't touch your core competencies, which we believe should be a) product, b) customers. So we won't advise you on your stack, design, your go to market, marketing, etc. That said... we can recommend service providers that could help you solve some of those problems.

How do you pick the best vendors for my business?

We recommend based on a) the best tool for you, b) the tools that work will with other tools (complementary feature sets, existing integrations + API availability), and c) where relevant (especially with service providers), companies that demonstrate the best intangibles – responsiveness, customer service, thoughtfulness and flexibility. We never choose a vendor without input from you and your team. Our goal is to know you well enough that we can quickly and easily identify the best vendor for where your business is today and where you expect it to go in the future.

We may receive affiliate revenue from the tools we recommend or help set up. Because almost every tool out there has a referral / partner program, we will always be unbiased on what we recommend. This affiliate revenue helps us keep our prices to our clients low but our first and only priority is finding the best option for our clients - no matter the revenue to us. Happy clients make our business sing, not affiliate revenue.