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Hardywood and two Richmond-area startups raise money to expand their ventures

Hardywood and two Richmond-area startups raise money to expand their ventures


Three Richmond-area companies have recently completed or started capital raises.


Hardywood Park Craft Brewery recently completed a capital raise.

The brewery closed on a $766,136 capital raise from 19 investors, according to an Oct. 17 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The capital raise comes as Hardywood plans to open a restaurant at the brewery’s production facility and tasting room in the West Creek office park.

To open the restaurant, Hardywood is partnering with Joe Sparatta, a chef and co-owner of Heritage and Southbound restaurants in Richmond.

The fast-casual restaurant will be built within the brewery’s 4,000-square-foot taproom in Goochland County.

Founded in 2011, Hardywood was at the front end of a wave of craft breweries that have opened in Richmond.

The brewery has expanded from its first location on Ownby’s Lane in Richmond to include its West Creek location. It plans to close its taproom in Charlottesville on Dec. 22.


Fringe completed a $600,000 capital raise, which comes after a $565,000 pre-seed round of funding that the company raised earlier in the year from angel investors, many of whom are local, said Fringe co-founder Jordan Peace.

The startup company, which was founded by Peace, Jason Murray, Chris Luhrman and Brig Leland, has an online platform that lets employers offer fringe benefits to employees beyond the standard package of benefits such as insurance.

The Fringe online marketplace enables employees to choose fringe benefits such as meal and grocery delivery, transportation services, fitness programs and cleaning services.

The investor in the recent round was Sovereign’s Capital, a Los Gatos, Calif.-based firm that invests in growth-stage companies with $500,000 to $10 million in revenue operating in expanding markets.

“We think the amount of activity in this space shows a need for benefits that delight employees, not just those available during sickness, accidents or retirement,” said Jake Thomsen, a partner with Sovereign’s Capital. “The solutions in the marketplace to date haven’t met that need. We believe Fringe has something unique that truly values employees, and that its leaders are the kind of gritty, creative entrepreneurs that can digest learnings and become the market leader.”

Peace said a portion of the capital raise will be used to build out new features on the platform, including vendor ratings, reviews and geographic filtering.

The funds also will help Fringe scale up sales, marketing and search engine optimization.

“We have product-market fit, and it’s time to pour gas on the fire,” Peace said.


Common House, a social club that is building a new location in downtown Richmond, is seeking to raise $3.5 million, according to SEC filings.

An Oct. 29 filing said Common House had raised $100,000 toward that goal.

The club, founded by business partners Derek Sieg and Ben Pfinsgraff, opened its first location in Charlottesville in 2017.

It is now working to turn a building at 305 W. Broad St. into its second location, Common House No. 2.

“We are excited to grow and to do more for our members, which this fundraise will support,” Pfinsgraff said. “Construction on House No. 2 in Richmond is well underway, our membership is open and growing quickly, and our Richmond events manager Shelby Howick has already started booking events and weddings for 2020.”

On Friday mornings, people interested in learning more about Common House can visit an “outpost” that has opened at 211 W. Broad St. next to the Quirk Hotel, he said.

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