Interview: Frankli Founder Noel Dykes

16 Jul 2021 | 11.17 am

Interview: Frankli Founder Noel Dykes

Performance management in distributed teams

16 Jul 2021 | 11.17 am

Performance reviews for remote workers are tricky to do. Frankli founder Noel Dykes thinks he has the solution, writes Darren O’Loughlin

Frankli chief executive Noel Dykes is looking to make the best out of the bad situation caused by Covid. The Sligo entrepreneur is busy fundraising for international growth, as locked-down businesses are forced to embrace remote/hybrid working.

Dykes says the Frankli performance and engagement management system is enjoying considerable demand, and is now attracting interest from enterprise clients as well as SMEs.

The Frankli platform enables employers to set company goals and track progress via digital dashboards. The platform also facilitates pulse surveys/polls, one-to-one virtual meetings, and organise a people directory with access to all remote-working staff.

Employees can set up Facebook-like profiles, and performance feedback can be provided to them in a private or public capacity. Other platform features include virtual mentoring and networking, and a management option for bespoke employee performance review cycles.

Moving The Dial

Established in 2017, Frankli operates from Sligo and employs 10 people. Dykes (38) worked for several years in New Zealand as a software developer, tester and consultant, managing dispersed teams. He says the idea for Frankli came from his experience of trying to keep remote teams connected and productively engaged.

“We built Frankli to help organisations bring performance management to life,” says Dykes. “That means moving the dial away from performance reviews once a year to having much more meaningful conversations around performance in a way that involves the employee. It’s about linking the people strategy to the business strategy.

“The Covid pandemic has exposed weakness in performance management processes in many companies. While we target SMEs, we’re seeing interest from enterprise customers too. Our product seems way more relevant for bigger organisations now as part of a hybrid working model.”

Dykes adds that while Covid fast-tracked the implementation of remote working among companies generally, Frankli was designed from the start to appeal to distributed teams. “The challenge is how to connect all of these people back to the culture of the business they work for.”

Taxpayer Funding

Dykes is hoping to take this message into international markets, helped by €725,000 the company raised in a funding round last year. Backers include taxpayers through Enterprise Ireland, which invested €150,000, and the NDRC, which has invested €75,000. Other investors are Pigsback founder Michael Dwyer and LotusWorks founder Fergal Broder, who invested €100,000.

The company is now exploring a €2m seed round to fund expansion, with the objective of doubling the Frankli team over the next two years. “All of our customers are based in Ireland and the UK at present, so we feel that we’ve sufficiently validated the product before international expansion. We are investing in sales and marketing, and are looking at market hires in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

“The whole area of performance management in distributed teams is a hot topic now, so our discussions with potential investors are going well. The money we have already raised will see us through to January 2022 and we’re looking to close our seed fundraiser in the third or fourth quarter of 2021.”

Price Plans

Frankli’s executive team was boosted in January when Aldagh McDonogh joined from Morgan McKinley. “Aldagh was an advisor to us initially and we had a gap in our team so she came on board as a co-founder, focusing on strategy, growth and branding,” says Dykes.

Frankli has three price plans, starting at €10 per person per month for firms with up to 100 staff.

“Our brand’s USP is the platform user experience – we’ve invested extensively in our UX and are seeing very high adoption as a result,” says Dykes. “With high adoption comes good conversations and good data, which in turn can bring performance management to life. That’s what we’re hanging our hat on.”

Photo: Frankli CEO Noel Dykes (left) and COO Ronan McCabe

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