The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) announced today that the Virginia Founders Fund has invested in Richmond, Va.-based Fringe. Founded in 2018, Fringe is the first employer benefits marketplace. The platform offers employers an easy and cost effective way to manage their perk programs, and gives employees the opportunity to pick the benefits that matter most to them. Fringe plans to use this investment from the Virginia Founders Fund to expand their sales team to bring Fringe benefits to employers across the U.S., invest in technology to create the most intuitive user experience, and establish a concierge team to ensure successful onboarding of employee users.
Many organizations might think they offer great benefits to their employees, but the reality is that every employee has a different idea about what perks would mean the most to them. According to the 2018 Deloitte Human Capital Trends study, “leading organizations now understand that a personalized, agile, holistic rewards system is essential to attracting, motivating and developing talent”. In addition, 89 percent of millennials would prioritize benefits over pay raises. In a time where employment rates are rising, the Fringe platform is helping companies stand out to potential new hires, and is also serving as an important deciding factor for many employees.
“Employee benefits are no longer one size fits all; in fact, a lot of traditional ‘benefits’ such as healthcare are no longer even viewed as perks, but rather have become the bare minimum that is expected of a workplace,” said Jordan Peace, CEO of Fringe. “With Fringe, a company can offer benefits in a brand new way, by letting their employees decide what ways they are most excited about being acknowledged for their work. We are grateful for the support of the Virginia Founders Fund, as well as access to CIT’s vast resources, that will enable us to help more workplaces create empowered, engaged team cultures.”
With Fringe, an employer chooses the employees they want to include in their company perks program and how many points they get. Fringe then curates the selection process, currently offering hundreds of the most popular subscriptions and services employees are already using or would be motivated to start using if their employer was going to supplement the cost. Employers can access real-time benefit tracking and reporting on employee engagement, and can avoid needing reimbursements for the perks.
“Most companies are paying for benefits, but a lot of those perks are not of interest to all of their employees, leading to wasted resources. Fringe has emerged as an innovative solution to a growing problem for many employers: disengaged employees,” said Thomas Weithman, Managing Director of CIT GAP Funds, and President and Chief Investment Officer of MACH37. “In a workplace climate where people are changing jobs more often, Fringe is challenging companies to offer more personalized benefits that will lead to more motivation and the development of talent that wants to keep investing themselves in an organization. We look forward to seeing Fringe expand, and being part of their journey!”
The Virginia Founders Fund, which launched in 2018, focuses on companies with a female, minority or veteran founder, or other entrepreneurs located in regions outside of Northern Virginia to complement investment resources and entrepreneurial support programs emerging in the regional innovation communities around the Commonwealth. CIT believes that these often-overlooked communities will play an increasingly critical role in Virginia’s technology future, and that the fund will enhance accessibility to the company growth resources available through CIT’s large and growing investor network.