Financial Management

Gusto vs Sequoia One: A Comprehensive Comparison for Startups

Efficient human resources (HR) and payroll management are important for the success of a startup. As a startup founder, your focus must be on growth and innovation, and the last thing you want is to be bogged down by the complexities of HR and payroll management.

This is where services like Gusto and Sequoia One come in.

These platforms are designed to streamline HR and payroll processes, thereby allowing startups to focus on their core business activities.

In this Gusto vs Sequoia comparison article, we will examine various aspects such as payroll management, HR tools, benefits administration, pricing, user experience, and scalability. This will help you make an informed decision on which service aligns best with your specific needs and goals.

What is Gusto?

Alt: what is gusto

Gusto is a modern HR and payroll platform designed for small businesses. It provides a comprehensive solution for hiring, paying, insuring, and supporting employees.

Serving over 200,000 businesses across the country, Gusto ensures timely payroll and manages all aspects of record-keeping, withholding, and taxes. In addition, the platform integrates with various benefits, including workers' compensation, healthcare, retirement plans, and more.

Gusto is known for its user-friendly interface and its focus on customer service. They also offer features specifically designed for businesses with remote teams or those that need to pay contractors in other countries.


Gusto offers different features aimed at streamlining various aspects of HR and payroll management. The key features include:

Payroll Management

Gusto's payroll service is user-friendly, ensuring that employees are paid accurately and on time. It handles federal, state, and local tax filings automatically and provides year-end W-2s and 1099s.

The platform also supports multiple pay schedules and direct deposit and integrates with major accounting software like QuickBooks and Xero.

Benefits Administration

Gusto makes it easy for startups to offer competitive benefits packages, including health insurance, 401(k) plans, commuter benefits, and more.

The platform guides employers through the process of selecting and managing benefits, and it integrates seamlessly with payroll to ensure deductions are handled correctly.

HR Management Tools

Apart from payroll and benefits, Gusto also offers different HR tools to help manage the employee lifecycle.

This includes employee onboarding, where new hires can complete paperwork electronically, and compliance assistance to help businesses stay on top of labor laws and regulations.

Time Tracking and PTO

Gusto includes time tracking and paid time off (PTO) management features, allowing employees to clock in and out and request time off directly through the platform. This integration ensures that payroll calculations are accurate and up-to-date.

Employee Self-Service

Employees have access to their own Gusto accounts, where they can view pay stubs, manage personal information, and access benefits information. This self-service approach reduces the administrative burden on HR staff.


  • Gusto offers a modern, user-friendly payroll software and HR experience, making it an attractive alternative to legacy platforms like ADP or Paychex.
  • Gusto offers robust HR support services, assisting companies in creating policies and maintaining compliance.
  • The Gusto user experience receives positive reviews from employees for its simplicity and ease of use.
  • It supports state registrations and payments to global contractors.
  • Gusto provides comprehensive HR support services for companies that need extra support with policy creation and compliance.


  • Gusto is designed for very small businesses, and its platform often becomes inadequate for companies with more than 50-75 employees.
  • Since the pandemic, Gusto has struggled to meet its customer support service level agreements (SLAs), resulting in significantly longer resolution times for customers.
  • Gusto's timekeeping tool provides basic clock-in/out functionality but lacks features to support complex hourly workforces, such as scheduling or job costing.
  • Gusto's capabilities are limited to Core HR functions. It lacks advanced features like applicant tracking systems (ATS) for recruiting, employee engagement, or comprehensive learning management systems.

What is Sequoia One?

Alt: what is sequoia one

Sequoia One provides comprehensive solutions for benefits, compensation, HR, and payroll, thereby streamlining administrative tasks and offering integrated guidance, services, and technology.

It is a frequently recommended Professional Employer Organization (PEO) that helps founders and CEOs gain real-time insights to optimize workforce expenses and drive company growth. It also helps HR and Finance leaders with strategic planning and global scaling.

Employees enjoy a highly rated mobile experience for seamless management of benefits, pay statements, and lots more.

Sequoia One positions itself as a partner for tech startups, providing not just a platform but also the expertise and guidance to navigate HR and compliance complexities.


The main features of Sequoia One include:

Payroll Management

Sequoia One offers a fully managed payroll service that ensures accurate and timely payment of employees. This includes handling payroll taxes, deductions, and compliance with federal, state, and local regulations.

HR Management

The platform provides comprehensive HR support, including employee onboarding, performance management, and HR advisory services.

Sequoia One's team of HR experts is available to assist with creating and maintaining company policies and employee handbooks and addressing HR-related issues.

Benefits Administration

Sequoia One offers access to a wide range of employee benefits, including health, dental, vision, life insurance, and retirement plans.

They provide benefits consultation to help companies choose the best plans for their workforce and handle the administrative burden of managing these benefits.

Compliance and Legal Support

Sequoia One ensures that companies remain compliant with all relevant labor laws and regulations. This includes support for employment law, workplace safety, and other regulatory requirements.

Risk Management

The platform includes risk management services to help businesses reduce potential risks associated with employment practices. This includes workers' compensation insurance, safety training, and claims management.

Technology Integration

Sequoia One integrates with various HR and business software systems to streamline operations and improve efficiency. This includes integrations with popular platforms like Salesforce, QuickBooks, and various applicant tracking systems (ATS).


  • The platform gives users access to expert guidance, services, and technology to develop an HR and benefits strategy tailored to the needs of their VC-backed business.
  • Competitive, Fortune 500-level benefits to attract and retain top talent.
  • End-to-end total compensation management solution to efficiently manage all aspects of employee spending and generate comprehensive, boardroom-ready reports.
  • Collaborate with specialized advisors in areas like compensation, well-being, healthcare, retirement, compliance, global benefits, risk management, and HR and payroll.
  • Superior employee experience with a top-rated mobile app, a unified digital benefits platform, and dedicated support from benefits advocates.
  • Leverage the Sequoia People Platform to streamline the management of compensation, benefits, workforce analytics, and employee engagement in a single, integrated solution.


  • Reporting limitations and slow response times for some payroll inquiries.
  • Payroll issues.
  • Slow transition from Prism to the new software system, leading to the inconvenience of splitting time between the old and new applications.

Comparison of Features Between Gusto and Sequoia One

Payroll Management

Gusto offers a robust and user-friendly payroll management system designed to meet the needs of startups. Its features include automated payroll calculations, tax filing, and direct deposits.

The platform ensures compliance with federal, state, and local payroll tax regulations. It also offers features like off-cycle payments, multiple pay rates, and integrated time tracking to streamline payroll processes.

Sequoia One also provides comprehensive payroll management services, focusing on ease of use and accuracy. It includes automated payroll processing, tax management, and compliance support.

The platform emphasizes personalized service, often pairing clients with payroll specialists to ensure tailored solutions. It also supports complex payroll needs, such as multi-state payrolls and detailed reporting.

HR Management

Gusto’s HR management tools are designed to simplify administrative tasks and improve employee experience. These tools include employee self-service portals, performance review management, and time-off tracking.

Gusto also offers customizable employee handbooks, document storage, and compliance assistance to help startups manage their HR functions efficiently.

Sequoia One provides a comprehensive suite of HR tools, including employee onboarding, performance management, and HR compliance support. Its platform integrates with various HRIS systems, making it easier for startups to manage employee records and HR processes.

In addition, Sequoia One offers strategic HR consulting services to help startups develop effective HR policies and practices.

Benefits Administration

Gusto offers different benefits administration services, including health insurance, 401(k) retirement plans, and workers’ compensation insurance.

The platform simplifies the enrollment process and provides educational resources to help employees make informed decisions about their benefits. Gusto partners with leading insurance providers to offer competitive rates and comprehensive coverage options.

Sequoia One excels in benefits administration, providing extensive options for health, dental, and vision insurance, as well as retirement plans and wellness programs.

Sequoia One’s benefits packages are designed to be competitive and attractive, helping startups retain top talent. The platform also offers benefits consulting services to help companies design customized benefits programs that meet their specific needs.

Onboarding and Offboarding

Gusto streamlines the onboarding process with digital offer letters, electronic signatures, and automated workflows.

New hires can complete necessary paperwork online, and Gusto ensures compliance with employment laws. The offboarding process is equally efficient, with automated final pay calculations and seamless transitions for departing employees.

Sequoia One provides a comprehensive onboarding experience, including personalized onboarding plans, electronic document management, and employee training programs.

The platform ensures that new hires are integrated smoothly into the company. For offboarding, Sequoia One offers support with exit interviews, knowledge transfer, and compliance with termination regulations, ensuring a smooth and compliant offboarding process.

Compliance and Legal Support

Gusto prioritizes compliance, offering features like automatic tax filing, new hire reporting, and compliance with labor laws.

The platform provides updates on regulatory changes and helps maintain compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. Gusto’s HR experts are available to offer guidance on complex compliance issues.

Sequoia One provides robust compliance support, including assistance with tax filings, employee classifications, and adherence to labor laws. The platform offers proactive compliance monitoring and alerts, helping startups stay ahead of regulatory changes.

Sequoia One also provides access to legal experts who can offer tailored advice and support for compliance-related matters.



Gusto provides affordable pricing packages, even for sole proprietors. You can upgrade or downgrade your plan at any time.

The pricing tiers include:

Alt: gusto pricing plans


If you run a small business with simple salaries, wages, and pay schedules, Gusto's basic Simple plan might be ideal for you.

Priced at $40 per month plus $6 per person per month, the Simple plan provides full-service payroll, including W-2s, direct deposit, 1099s, or printable checks, with unlimited payroll runs.

Employees have lifetime access to their Gusto accounts to view pay stubs and tax forms, ensuring they stay informed.

This plan also integrates with accounting and time-tracking software, and it allows you to sync medical, dental, and vision insurance with payroll. This plan is ideal for small businesses with ten or fewer employees or those paying 1099 contractors.


The Plus plan improves the Simple plan with additional benefits for payroll and team management.

Priced at $60 per month, with a slight increase to $9 per month per person, the Plus plan includes everything in the Simple plan, plus next-day direct deposit, time tracking, and PTO management.

It also offers hiring and onboarding tools, project tracking, workforce cost reports, and team management tools. This plan is ideal for businesses with 20 or more employees. Note that broker integration is not included in this plan.


The Premium package offers all the features included in the Simple and Plus plans, catering to businesses with advanced HR, policy, and compliance requirements.

For pricing details, you will need to contact the company for a custom quote. This plan provides a comprehensive HR resource center, compliance alerts, unlimited access to certified HR experts, and a dedicated support team familiar with your business. It is ideal for businesses with more than 30 employees.

Sequoia One

Sequoia One, being a PEO, offers custom pricing based on the specific needs and size of the business. While Sequoia One does not publicly list detailed pricing, its cost structure generally includes:

  • Administrative fees
  • Health benefits
  • Additional services

The table below provides a side-by-side Gusto vs Sequoia One comparison to help you make an informed decision:


Gusto vs. Sequoia One: Features Comparison

Gusto vs. Sequoia One: Features Comparison

Feature Gusto Sequoia One
Payroll Management Automated payroll processing, tax filing, direct deposits Comprehensive payroll services, tax compliance, multiple pay schedules
HR Management Employee self-service, time tracking, PTO management Full-service HR support, employee data management, performance tracking
Benefits Administration Health insurance, retirement plans, worker’s comp, commuter benefits Extensive benefits administration, customized plans, health & wellness programs
Onboarding/Offboarding Automated onboarding tools, e-signatures, checklists Personalized onboarding support, offboarding procedures, compliance checks
Compliance and Legal Support Compliance alerts, W-2s, 1099s, new hire reporting Dedicated compliance team, regulatory updates, employee handbook creation
Pricing Plans Simple pricing tiers, transparent costs, additional fees for some services Custom pricing based on services needed, generally higher cost
User Experience User-friendly interface, intuitive dashboard, mobile app Personalized service, high-touch support, no self-service portal
Integration Capabilities Integrates with QuickBooks, Xero, TSheets, Asana, etc. Integrates with popular ERP and HRIS systems, custom integrations available
Scalability Suitable for startups and growing small businesses Designed for growing businesses, scalability with comprehensive services


This article has comprehensively explored the Gusto vs Sequoia One comparison, including the unique features they offer to meet your startup’s needs.

Gusto is the better choice for startups that prioritize affordability, ease of use, and strong payroll features while Sequoia One is the ideal option for startups that require a more extensive range of HR services, including strategic HR support, advanced compliance management, and scalability.

The decision between Gusto and Sequoia One depends on your specific needs and priorities. Evaluate what aspects of HR and payroll management are most important for your business, consider your budget, and think about your long-term growth plans.

Irrespective of your choice, investing in a reliable HR and payroll solution will help streamline your operations, ensure compliance, and allow you to focus on what matters most—growing your startup.


What is the key difference between Gusto and Sequoia One?

Gusto is a good choice for startups looking for a user-friendly and cost-effective platform to manage payroll, HR basics, and benefits. Sequoia One caters to well-funded startups requiring a full-service PEO solution with extensive HR support.

What payroll features does Gusto offer?

The payroll features that Gusto offers include:

  • Automated payroll
  • Flexible payroll options
  • Tax compliance and filing
  • Multiple payment methods
  • Gusto wallet
  • International payroll
  • Contractor payments
  • Reporting and analytics

What payroll features does Sequoia One offer?

The payroll features that Sequoia One offers include:

  • Full-service payroll processing
  • Tax management and filing
  • Employee payment options
  • Compliance with labor laws

Which platform is best for my startup?

The ideal choice depends on several factors specific to your business. Here's a breakdown to help you decide:

Choose Gusto if:

  • You're a small startup or early-stage company.
  • You value transparency and control.
  • You have a limited HR budget.

Choose Sequoia One if:

  • You're a venture-backed startup with significant growth plans.
  • You need extensive HR support.
  • You're comfortable with potentially less control over payroll and potentially higher fees associated with the PEO model.

Which platform is easier to use?

Both Gusto and Sequoia One are known for their user-friendly interfaces. However, Gusto tends to get slightly higher marks for ease of use, especially for non-HR professionals.

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