Cleveland Interviews

fitRaise: Workout for Charity


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What is fitRaise?

We are a web and mobile platform that allows charity organizations to host virtual fundraising events. Considered peer to peer crowd-funding with a fitness twist, fitRaise virtual events allow individuals to earn donations for causes while they run, walk, or cycle anytime…anywhere.

Who is your target user?

We have clients and users. Our clients are the charity organizations that we partner with. These organizations range from small, local Non-profits to large multi-million dollar a year national charity organizations. Our users are individuals that are first passionate about a cause and second, willing to put in their sweat equity to earn donations for that cause.

Why did you build fitRaise?

We realized that traditional events like 5Ks are extremely inefficient. They take months of planning, thousands in up-front costs, have a limited geographic reach, and are often affected by weather or other events.

This realization led us to build fitRaise.

How is fitRaise different from what is currently available?

There are plenty of crowd-funding/peer to peer fundraising sites out there. All of them simply collect donations…the donations are not tied to any confirmed activity of the participant and there is little/if any encouragement for fitness. There is one app that does tie fitness activities to charity donations however it uses corporate sponsored donations rather than peer to peer donations.

Tell us your founding story. Was there an “ah ha” moment?

Our founders are separated by over 5000 miles and began their relationship through an Elance project. At the conclusion of the successful Elance project the team did not communicate for over a year until Tom Vinkler had an app idea for real time running races on treadmills.

From that idea spawned Sociercise which allowed people to compete in real time running events across thousands of miles. With the technology they created they were able to begin creating a charity fundraising platform to do something good with the tech.

Tell us about your founding team and their backgrounds.

Tom Vinkler is currently the COO of fitRaise. He has a background in sales training and human resources. He also has a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Rutgers University.

Bobby Valentine is the CEO of fitRaise. He has spent over 10 years serving on non-profit boards as chair and treasurer. He has an MBA in Marketing and has worked both in the corporate world as a project manager and also as an entrepreneur as a retail store owner and freelance marketing consultant.

Where can people find out more?