Fringe is a new company pitching employers on a service offering lifestyle benefits for their employees in addition to, or instead of, more traditional benefits packages.
“We didn’t think it made sense that employees need to be sick, disabled, dead or 65+ to benefit from their benefits,” wrote Fringe chief executive Jordan Peace, in an email.
The Richmond, Virginia-based company was founded by five college friends from Virginia Tech rounded up by Peace and Jason Murray, who serves as the company’s head of Strategy and Finance. The two men previously owned a financial planning firm called Greenhouse Money, which worked with small businesses to set up benefits packages and retirement accounts.
During that time, the two men had a revelation… employees at these small and medium-sized businesses didn’t just want retirement or healthcare benefits, they wanted perks that were more applicable to their day-to-day lives. Because Murray and Peace couldn’t find a company that offered a flexible benefits package on things like Netflix, Amazon or Hulu subscriptions, Uber rides, Grubhub orders or Instacart deliveries, they built one themselves.
As they grew their business they brought in college friends, including Isaiah Goodall as the vice president of partnerships, Chris Luhrman as the vice president of operations and Andrew Dunlap as the head of product.
Peace and Murray first launched the business in 2018 and now count over 100 delivery services, exercise apps, cleaning services and other apps of convenience among their offerings.
For their part, employers pay $5 per employee covered per month and set up a monthly stipend (that may or may not be subtracted from a total benefits package) of somewhere between $50 and $200 that employees can spend on subscription services.
It’s a pitch to employers that Peace says is especially compelling as office culture changes in the wake of massive office closures and work-from-home orders from major U.S. companies as a response to the COVID-19 epidemic.
“In-office perks and even most ‘off-site’ perks (gyms, massage spas, etc.) are all null and void,” wrote Peace. “Even post-COVID, it’s highly likely that many of these aspects of office culture will bear less significance with many CEOs vowing to allow ‘WFH forever.’ This means companies need a way to package their office culture and ship them home. Fringe is perfectly positioned for this and determined to be the first name that comes to mind to provide a solution.”
Peace sees this as the next step in the evolution of benefits offerings for employees. He traces its legacy to the development of private health insurance and 401k retirement plans. “After another 40 years lifestyle benefits are the newest breakthrough — and like its predecessors, will be almost universally adopted in the next 5 years,” Peace wrote.