After 15 years of building a successful engineering career in Silicon Valley, Srinagesh Vitthanala yearned for more. A lifelong philanthropist, he wanted to put his expertise more directly —and meaningfully—behind a purpose to help people. He found that opportunity at a small start-up, Bright Funds, which offers a workplace “giving platform” to connect companies and their people directly to non-profits for individual and collective volunteering and donations.
Bright Funds‘ mission is to help organizations reach their potential to do good. That mission has helped attract companies to the platform, ranging from large businesses like Cisco, VMware, and Campbell’s Soup to small startups and mom and pop businesses. Likewise, it has attracted staff to BrightFunds.
“Our team here is extremely talented and passionate; they could choose to work anywhere, but they chose to come here,” says Sri, who took over the CEO role in 2019 after stints across engineering, product, operations, and HR. “Therefore, I recognized the need to prioritize internal programs and benefits to better support them while they enable purpose projects for others.”
Also, with plans to grow the team 3-5X in the next few years, Bright Funds needed an HR platform to help ensure they could scale easily.
Sri relies on Zenefits to support all of this, and more.
“Zenefits was in place before I joined. When I was hired, I onboarded on Zenefits. It is a great one-stop HR platform. My prior company had many HR tools, but it is nice to lean in on a platform like Zenefits. I am not trained to handle all HR matters and don’t have time to learn and read up on best practices around compliance. I depend on the Zenefits platform with its step-by-step process from everything to from onboarding or offboarding.”
Doing Well and Doing Good
“Today’s workforce wants to work with purpose-driven companies: enabling them to use some of their time to mentor, donate, and use volunteer time off. We provide an easy-to-use platform for them to connect with any of thousands of pre-vetted non-profit organizations. This way, they can align their passion and potential with the greatest opportunity to give back and do good.”
Since inception, Bright Funds disbursed over $100 million to over 23,000 nonprofits across the globe. For example, Cisco uses BrightFunds to help power its’ 74,000 global staff’s meaningful actions in giving back.
“We are a small company but are powering very large companies and thousands of users around the globe, to make a difference,” says Sri. “That is both exciting and humbling.”
This year, Sri is working on three key goals to continue to power that mission: moving the young company on a path to profitability, advancing the platform’s usability and exploring new revenue streams, to enable it to do much more good.
Empowering the People Behind the Purpose
“Hiring the right, passionate, people is one puzzle piece,” says Sri. “As a hiring manager, I always want to give people a good experience, whether I hire them or not. Having tools like Zenefits to help ensure that experience is easy, mirrors the experience we want to deliver as a business, so that is crucial.”
“I was pleasantly surprised that with Zenefits I know what’s happening at every step of the hiring process from background checks to offers to acceptance: without having to handle the details myself. It works like a charm for me and for our new employees.
“Once they are on board, I make sure that they have focus, are growing, fulfilled and not burned out. While what we do provides our customers with a ‘feel good’ opportunity, we are still a small, growing business with all of the hard work that goes with it. So I work hard to monitor and reduce whatever the current pain points are that are interfering with their jobs, day-to-day.”
Easy access to a growing selection of benefits — with simplified open enrollment via Zenefits Certified Broker partner, One Digital, is one of the ways Sri supports his team.
In addition, since the core of Bright Funds business involves collecting and passing donations within the platform, the company has heavy scrutiny on all of its banking, hiring and employment documentation to meet SOC-2 compliance requirements. “Zenefits has proved invaluable for its records of everything from job requirements to employment offers, employee handbook, onboarding and offboarding.”
My role is to take away all the confusion of a quickly-growing business. Zenefits helps me do that.
With Zenefits, the product is easy to use, the support is timely and gets me back to the business of giving back.”