CIT’s Virginia Founders Fund Invests in Fringe to Change the Way Employers Offer Benefits

Jun 30, 2019

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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.

About Fringe
Fringe is the world’s first fringe benefits marketplace. With Fringe, it’s never been easier to give your workforce the newest and most personalized benefits the industry has to offer. The Fringe platform enables employers to offer services and perks for their employees to choose from, creating more empowering, engaging and happy companies. For more information, please visit www.hellofringe.co.

About the Virginia Founders Fund
Launched in 2018, the Virginia Founders Fund (VFF) is focused on providing venture capital for Virginia’s traditionally underrepresented entrepreneurs. Proceeds from the Center for Innovative Technology’s (CIT) successful GAP Funds investment program are being reinvested into the Virginia economy through the VFF, which specifically supports female, minority or veteran founders, or other entrepreneurs located in regions outside of Northern Virginia who are emerging into sectors such as software, hardware, life science, cleantech, and technology-enabled services. The VFF works with regional startup initiatives, early-stage funds, and accelerator programs across the Commonwealth to identify strategic opportunities for investment and potential co-investment to leverage additional capital. For more information, please visit https://www.cit.org/virginiafoundersfund/.

About CIT GAP Funds
CIT GAP Funds makes seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, clean tech and life science companies with a high potential for achieving rapid growth and generating significant economic return for entrepreneurs, co-investors and the Commonwealth of Virginia. CIT GAP Funds’ investments are overseen by the CIT GAP Funds Investment Advisory Board (IAB). This independent, third-party panel consists of leading regional entrepreneurs, angel and strategic investors, and venture capital firms such as New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, Valhalla Partners, Harbert Venture Partners HIG Ventures, Edison Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Intersouth Partners, SJF Ventures, Carilion Health Systems, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, and Alpha Natural Resources. For more information, please visit www.citgapfunds.org.

About the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)
CIT concentrates on the early commercialization and seed funding stages of innovation, helping innovators and tech entrepreneurs launch and grow new companies to create high-paying jobs throughout the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. Founded in 1985, CIT, a nonprofit corporation, has been a primary driver of advocating for innovation and entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth. CIT accelerates next generation technologies and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, and market development initiatives. Programs include CIT GAP Funds, CRCF, Virginia Founders Fund, Broadband/Rural Broadband, Smart Communities, Cybersecurity, Unmanned Systems, Small Business Innovation Research & Small Business Technology Transfer programs, University Partnerships, Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement on behalf of Virginia Entrepreneurship & Economic Development. CIT’s CAGE Code is 1UP71.

URL : https://www.cit.org

Contact Information:

Taylor Hadley LaunchTech Communications 978-877-2113 [email protected] Sara Poole Center for Innovative Technologies [email protected]


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