DC Startups Offer Pet Health Insurance and Other Perks to Stay Competitive

Employer-sponsored healthcare – for your pet? Remote work and ping pong are no longer enough to stand out. DC startups increasingly offer quirky benefits to stay competitive.

We analyzed DC startups’ benefits packages over 3 years and noticed some intriguing trends: DC startups are covering a higher percentage of healthcare costs, and there’s been an increase in unique perks like pet healthcare plans.

While there has always been a demand for engineering talent in the DC, MD, VA startup community, demand has only increased as the area has grown into a startup hub. Larger enterprises like Capital One and the upcoming Amazon Headquarters have added fuel to the fire with increased compensation packages. Startups have had to find ways to compete.

DC area startups have started to embrace creative perks. They’ve started to view compensation packages as more than salaries and bonuses. They’re also looking at how benefits can reflect company culture to attract talent and keep employees engaged long-term.

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Not only are we seeing companies embrace pet-friendly offices but recently there has been a steep increase in companies that offer pet insurance discounts and coverage. Especially as offices move towards remote work, our furry friends are a big part of our lives. Many companies are making it clear that they understand the important roles that pets play in employees’ well-being.


More than ever, companies are realizing the importance of offering benefits to keep their employees physically and mentally healthy. Creative wellness benefits we’ve seen have included: in-office healthy snack options, gym memberships, and monthly stipends for workout classes. They’ve also added access to meditation rooms, life coaches, psychiatrists, psychologists, and nutritionists.


Technology-supported remote healthcare was becoming popular even before COVID19. It saved time (and money) for doctors, patients, and employers. Why take hours off work for doctor’s appointments when you can get your questions answered from home. As several local startups like B.Well are demonstrating, mobile apps are sometimes better suited for updating and monitoring patients.


Many startups have already embraced flexible work hours and unlimited PTO. But, until recently, holidays remained the same as they had for years.. Now, many companies are taking it a step further by offering their employees additional holidays. These unique, extra holidays are a fun way to give your employees that crucial time off to rest and recharge. You can get creative and celebrate company culture, diversity and so much more.

While we’ve seen creative benefits develop as competition for local talent increased, we’re also now seeing benefits change in real-time as companies adjust to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. As companies switch to fully remote work environments, they are looking for ways to keep their employees engaged and keep a pulse on what other companies are offering.

As candidates explore the job market, they are looking at how companies have responded to COVID19. Candidates want to know how companies are treating their employees during this time. In response, some companies are coming up with unique benefits, such as offering discounts to online programming for children of employees, providing monthly stipends for coffee and healthy lunches at home, hosting intra-office work-from-home fitness competitions, access to online workout classes, and increasing work flexibility.

The ability to be innovative and reactive will continue to help startups and small businesses navigate recruiting and employee engagement during these more disruptive times.

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Author: Amanda Gittleson

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