Last Updated on 12/11/20
What is management or the company’s role with Frank?
None. Management is prohibited from using Frank. There is no involvement, participation, or product for management. The only way your management hears from Frank is if you and your group decide to send management a Campaign demanding change.
Management is defined by Frank as anyone with direct reports, responsibility in hiring or firing, or in an HR, Legal, or similar role. If a manager is found to have accessed Frank, Frank will pursue all available penalties, outlined in our Terms of Service.
We will never partner with, take money from, or provide data to workers’ companies in any way. Ever. The only interaction Frank has with other corporations is a small number of vendors we utilize to run our service. We have a thorough vetting process with all vendors, including legal review and security audits, and we limit data access so that no vendor has more than required to perform necessary functions.
How are you going to protect workers from retaliation?
Frank is for workers only. No management allowed. But there are risks when organizing at work — no matter what security or features we put in place, it must be acknowledged that there is risk when organizing, and thus, when using Frank. Companies often seek to retaliate against workers who are seeking to shift power. And frankly, while retaliation for organizing or speaking about working conditions is illegal, the enforcement and punishment for breaking these labor laws are weak. We are constantly evaluating and improving upon the privacy and security protections we’ve put in place thus far, and will work relentlessly to protect workers.
Frank is built to give workers control over their privacy by providing tools to manage group admission policies and security preferences. Here’s a brief overview of how that process works:
All of this together is intended to help workers know exactly who they are talking to inside of Frank.
An earlier version of Frank utilized ID verification via a third party software. We made the decision to remove this feature.
Are you competing with unions?
No. We hope to support growing the labor movement. We are not disruptors, nor trying to invent a new (or lesser version of a) union.
Frank can be used by workers to discuss and determine their path to power. In some cases this may be sending a letter to management via Frank. In others, it could be to contact / involve a union organizer, start a petition (we like coworker.org), or reach out to a worker center. We are trying to build a platform for worker voice, and enable the workers, collectively, to decide on their path forward.
The mission behind starting Frank arose from Logan (our co-founder) trying to get involved in the labor movement following the election at the end of 2016. He had grown frustrated with his industry (tech), that celebrated itself for innovation and progress — but was actively contributing to growing income inequality and weakening workers rights. He wanted to use his experience to work on this problem, but frankly, knew he didn’t have the background or experience in labor to be helpful. Over the past four years, Logan spent time reading, listening, and meeting with workers, union leaders, rank & file, labor professors, and organizers to learn. And went full-time working on Frank in January 2019.
There have been many voices from the labor movement involved in the building of Frank. We are actively in the process of building our Advisory Board.
What kind of organization is Frank?
Frank is a Public Benefit Corporation. As of December 2020, Frank is a Certified B Corporation. This means we are a for-profit with a legal charter and commitment to the following public benefit to: “Empower workers to have a voice in collection action to improve their workplace.” We hope to build a small, focused, and sustainable company that has one customer — the worker. Our backgrounds as a team are from the software and tech industry — this is what we know. We didn’t (don’t) have access or connections to large donors or foundations that typically provide grants or funding to operate as a nonprofit. But we do have background, network, and access to investors that fund tech/software companies — and we recognize our privilege in the ability to secure funding for a mission that most investors, frankly, wouldn’t touch.
How do you plan to make money?
Currently, Frank is free. And not the type of “free” where we are making money in some hidden way or via data or partnerships… Free as in, we have not generated a single dollar in revenue. Our intention is to build a product that provides enough value that workers will pay a subscription for Frank. We aren’t there yet, so Frank is being offered for free until we add enough value that workers are happy (or, at least, willing) to pay.
We will only ever test or implement revenue models that are direct and transparent to our customer (workers). We will never partner with, take money from, or provide data to workers’ companies in any way. Ever. We believe this makes our motivations clear — in order to hire and pay our team, to invest in the product, and survive as a service we must provide real and ongoing value to our paying customer (workers).
The reputation of the tech industry, and the explicit goal for many, is to move fast, break things, be a billion dollar IPO or be acquired… but we aren’t trying to be a “tech startup” or “typical Silicon Valley”. We’re proudly Chicago based. We seek to be a sustainable company, providing a product of value, for a mission and purpose we can dedicate our working lives to.
Who are your backers / investors?
The early days of Frank were self-funded by the co-founders. In November ’19, we raised money from local (Chicago) tech and political tech investors on what is called a SAFE note (Simple Agreement for Future Equity). This means that if Frank raises more capital in the future, the funding would convert to equity ownership (a non-controlling stake).
Our privilege and our backgrounds in tech made it possible to raise funds for this product’s mission — but it wasn’t easy. We held meetings with over 150 potential investors — from venture capital, to impact focused investors, unions, and private individuals.
Our lead investors are Hyde Park Venture Partners, Starting Line, Hyde Park Angels, and Shomik Dutta from Higher Ground Labs. Note: Our investors have no influence or access to internal data, nor to any worker or group information. All activity on Frank is completely confidential.
Feedback and additional questions welcomed: firstname.lastname@example.org