Fringe HR employee benefits platform raises $17M to offer customizable perks TechCrunch

Fringe, an HR technology startup enabling companies to provide customizable perks and perks to their employees, today announced that it has raised $17 million in a funding round led by Origin Ventures and Felton Group. CEO Jordan Peace said the proceeds will be used to grow the team from 72 employees to more than 100 by the end of the year, to develop products and expand Fringe to other countries.

Peace started Fringe in 2018 with college friends Jason Murray, Isaiah Goodall, Andrew Dunlap and Chris Luhrman. Together, they sought to create a benefits platform that allows staff to choose the benefits that best suit their needs and life stage.

“[We realized that] most people — especially millennials and GenZ — didn’t understand or appreciate their dated benefits,” Peace said. “We’ve also noticed that most companies treat perks and benefits as a one-size-fits-all solution, with standardized offerings that don’t really meet the needs of their employees. »

With the advent of the pandemic, there was a new sense of urgency across the company to revamp benefits to reflect the shift to remote working – a development that Peace said was to Fringe’s benefit. . Unlike physical workplace perks, such as gym memberships and catered lunches, Fringe has offered — and still does — offers from location-agnostic providers like DoorDash, Uber, and Airbnb.

Today, Fringe hosts a benefits marketplace of approximately 450 providers, including virtual fitness, virtual coaching, online wellness therapy, streaming services, and food and grocery delivery. The platform consolidates stipend and reimbursement platforms, providing options and tools for employee rewards and recognition, peer-to-peer giving, employee giving, and recruitment incentives.

Fringe makes money by charging employers $5 per employee per month, with the rate decreasing for larger organizations. Companies put the dollars they would normally spend on benefits into employees’ social accounts, where they are converted into “points” that can be spent with the aforementioned providers. Fringe negotiates a 10% to 60% discount on services, which it passes on to employees through its discount system.

A series of new startups are competing to provide benefits suitable for a younger workforce in the age of the pandemic. There are Accountwhich allows teams to assign fixed allowances in broad categories such as “health and wellness” or “family”, then let employees choose the services in the categories that interest them. Cherry and Form, like Fringe, allow employees to choose their own office perks and perks. And Origin changes the formula by offering bonus financial planning services.

But with more than 200 customers, including Chegg, Lemonade and Shipt, Peace thinks Fringe is in a strong position. He balked when asked about revenue, but noted that Fringe had recently signed a partnership with technology services provider Alight to bring the Fringe platform to large enterprises.

“While many industries have been impacted by the pandemic, for us this has dramatically accelerated the adoption of lifestyle benefits as employers have urgently sought ways to support their employees during the crisis,” said Peace. “The demand for our product has never been stronger. Given how much the world (and its workplaces) have changed in recent years, and the fact that hybrid and remote working are likely to continue, we are optimistic that this trend will only continue. When your employees work from everywhere, offering flexible benefits is a decisive factor. »

To date, Fringe has raised $21 million in venture capital.

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