Nov 16, 2023

The New Faces of Fintech — Featuring Tenure

While we may not know exactly how fintech will impact our future, we have an idea as to who will be leading the charge. In the next installments of our ongoing blog series, “The New Faces of FinTech”, we will spotlight some of the emerging leaders in the fintech world to get their thoughts on what the future of the industry will look like.

Their origin stories are different, their paths to entrepreneurship are unique, but their impacts on their respective industries are significant. No one truly knows what the future of fintech holds, but these industry leaders may have an inkling as to what we can expect.

Our next guest is Jonathan Hillis, Founder & CEO of Ontario-based Tenure, an AI-powered employee rewards, recognition, and savings platform designed to improve company culture and drive new business.


Jonathan, tell us a little bit about your background. What were you working on before founding this company?

My journey has been a thrilling ride marked by a fervor for change and a relentless drive to make a real impact. Growing up immersed in the world of a family-run business called Pride Signs LTD, I cut my entrepreneurial teeth at a young age. Yet, I’ve always been drawn to what lies beyond the horizon, which is why Tenure marks my third venture into the exciting realm of startups.

My journey isn’t just about business; it’s about transformation. I had the incredible opportunity to lead a family brokerage through a remarkable rebranding and revitalization journey, ultimately engineering its sale for an impressive $36 million. This experience solidified my belief in turning challenges into opportunities and uncovering hidden potential where others may not.

But it’s more than just business acumen that drives me. It’s an insatiable desire to create a positive impact and improve lives. My path has been marked by life-altering decisions taken even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds because I genuinely believe I’m here to bring about change on a global scale.

And that’s where Tenure comes into play. It’s not just another startup; it’s a lifelong mission. Tenure embodies a disruptive force poised to revolutionize employee engagement and financial wellness. I’m not just a founder; I’m on a mission to empower individuals, transform workplaces, and change lives.

Tell us a bit about your company? What’s the problem you’re solving?

Tenure is on a mission to transform the employee benefits landscape. We’re addressing a long-standing issue in workplaces across the board. Imagine this scenario: you’re a hardworking employee, and as part of your compensation, your employer offers you a benefits and rewards package. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But here’s the catch – you often have little say in where those benefit and reward dollars go. It’s like receiving a gift that doesn’t quite fit, leaving you feeling undervalued and frustrated. This lack of control over your own rewards and benefits can lead to voluntary turnover.

At Tenure, we believe that employees should have a significant say in how they’re rewarded. We’re developing a platform that empowers you to manage and tailor your compensation package to your financial goals, whether it’s saving, investing, or achieving other financial milestones.

But we’re not stopping there. We’re introducing the concept of portability – the ability to carry your benefits and rewards with you as you transition between companies. No more interruptions, no more coverage gaps, and no more starting from square one. Tenure empowers individuals to maximize their hard-earned rewards, ultimately enhancing job satisfaction, engagement, and financial security. We’re not merely solving a problem; we’re reshaping the way companies and employees approach employee benefits, making them more personal, transferable, and aligned with individual needs, regardless of your career journey.

What’s the origin story behind your company? How and why did you come up with the idea?

The origin of Tenure is deeply rooted in personal experiences and a genuine desire to revolutionize the workplace. I grew up in a family-run business called Pride Signs LTD, where I witnessed firsthand the incredible impact of prioritizing employee well-being. In this nurturing environment, we managed to maintain an astonishingly low 8% turnover rate in a 150-person company. It was proof that when you take care of your people, they take care of your business. 

However, life has a way of showing you both sides of the coin. Despite being a part of a thriving business, I also found myself in a horrendous working environment at one point. It was an eye-opening experience to see how even in seemingly successful organizations, toxic cultures and unhealthy practices could prevail. It was during these contrasting periods of my career journey that the seeds of Tenure were sown. The idea sprouted from a genuine desire to create workplaces where employees wouldn’t have to endure what I went through during those challenging times. 

We are a team that has collectively experienced both the best and the worst of employee cultures, and that shared understanding fuels our determination to make every workplace a better place to work. We want to eliminate the stress, frustration, and disconnection that can plague employees and replace them with environments that foster well-being, job satisfaction, and thriving careers. Tenure’s journey is a testament to our unwavering commitment to transforming workplaces for the better.

What milestones has your company achieved so far?

We have over 15 customers and 1500 users signed up for our paid pilot in just 6 months. We have 8 employees – all vision-driven to bootstrap this start up to market and positively affect culture changes in forward thinking organizations.

Can you describe what it’s been like to be part of the Fintech Sandbox community?

Being part of the Fintech Sandbox community has been an exciting and promising experience for Tenure. While we’ve recently joined, the warm welcome and support from the team at Fintech Sandbox have been outstanding. We’re particularly thrilled about the prospect of collaborating with their esteemed data partners, which opens up incredible opportunities for innovation and growth.

Looking ahead, we are filled with enthusiasm for what the future holds within this vibrant community. We’re eager to become more deeply involved, working alongside fellow innovators to build exceptional products that will shape the future of financial technology. Beyond that, we’re also committed to giving back and contributing to the growth and success of the Fintech Sandbox ecosystem. The journey has just begun, and we can’t wait to see where it takes us.

What’s next for your company?

The future for Tenure is both promising and dynamic. Our immediate focus is on further developing and refining our platform to ensure it offers the most effective and user-friendly solution for companies and their employees. We’re also actively expanding our network of partners and data providers to enhance the depth and breadth of benefits and rewards we can offer.

Looking ahead, we aim to continue growing our user base, forging strategic partnerships, and making a meaningful impact on the lives of employees by helping them take control of their financial well-being. Ultimately, our goal is to be the go-to platform for creating human-centric workplaces, where employees have agency over their benefits, rewards, and financial futures. We’re excited about the journey ahead and the opportunity to make a positive difference in the world of employee engagement and financial wellness.

What is some of the best advice you’ve received as a startup founder?

Know the things you do well and the things you suck at! Understanding yourself as a founder is key to knowing where you need help and support. But don’t always trust every piece of advice you get, there is no perfect formula for startups – they all have their own intricacies.

What fintech trends are you most excited about right now?

I’m truly excited about the current trends in fintech, particularly those related to financial wellness, personalization, and data-driven insights. Fintech companies are increasingly focused on improving individuals’ financial well-being, and Tenure is at the forefront of this movement. The ability to provide employees with personalized benefits and rewards, coupled with data-driven insights to help them make informed financial decisions, is a game-changer.

Moreover, the fintech industry’s emphasis on innovation and collaboration is inspiring. The potential for partnerships and integrations with other fintech and financial services providers opens up countless possibilities for enhancing the user experience and delivering even more value to our customers.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read recently?

I would have to say Dragon Masters! It’s a kids book that my son reads to me before bed to practice reading. For a children’s book it has some great back story and character development, and it’s something I will always cherish as Father, that I get to do with my son.

Share the article.

Recommended Articles


The New Faces of Fintech — Featuring Tenure

While we may not know exactly how fintech will impact our future, we have an idea as to who will be leading...

read more

The New Faces of Fintech — Featuring Paylow

While we may not know exactly how fintech will impact our future, we have an idea as to who will be leading the charge. In the...

read more