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Crowdfunding for creches at work: Why these friends built a female flexible workspace



Oonagh Geoghegan, Emma Startup and Dee Behan - co-founders of FRANKLY CO

Startup

By Loren Webb

“Our research has proven that women want – and need – more in order to effectively integrate work and life and take advantage of flexible working arrangements.”

These are the words of Emma Startup, who, along with other FRANKLY CO co-founders Oonagh Geoghegan and Dee Behan, took the recognised demand for female flexible workspaces and subsequently built FRANKLY CO.

FRANKLY CO is an up-and-coming flexible workspace, community, and digital platform dedicated to helping women make work work.

They have launched an equity crowdfunding campaign with Birchal to raise up to $2.5 million for their growth.

FRANKLY CO will be the first workspace to offer an onsite creche; women-focused amenities; corporate packages designed to help businesses attract, hire and retain female talent; wellness classes; workshops and events; and a digital platform that will connect and enable digital and physical memberships.

“Changing workplace culture to be more flexible includes helping women who already work full time — but who have provision for flex work — to access a service they wouldn’t usually have at home,” says Dee.

“Not only will our corporate packages give female employees the opportunity to take advantage of our services and facilities — including an on-site creche — but they will also form a significant part of our revenue generating strategy.”

The co-founders decided to seek investment via crowdfunding because they want to make FRANKLY CO a “people-powered company”.

“We believe there’s no better way to build a community with integrity than uniting people with a common need and inviting them to invest in something they believe in,” says Emma.

In addition, Oonagh, Dee and Emma are also hoping to attract a high-net-worth individual who shares the same values and ethos.

Last year alone, Australian workers spent $408 million on flexible workspaces — with nearly half (48 per cent) being women. With the industry revenue forecast to triple by 2030, this comes to a potential addressable market of $588 million.

Yet despite the growth of coworking spaces, barely any are designed specifically with women and none with flexible working in mind, say the co-founders.

Emma Startup, Dee Behan, Oonagh Geoghegan

Having worked together previously at Nine and then on FRANKLY CO, their “no bulls**t” newsletter for women who “work damn hard and want to feel damn good”, Oonagh, Dee and Emma found that when it came to finding a space that would fit all of their needs, there was a huge gap.

“What we needed didn’t exist. We craved a space where we felt we belonged, which was a delight to be in and where every detail was thought about,” says Oonagh.

“We wanted somewhere in the real world where we could connect with others.”

After talking to women both offline and online (gathering content for their newsletter), the friends realised what they needed to do – and the idea of FRANKLY CO was born.

“If just 6% more mothers worked, we would see a $6 billion win for our economy. By creating an integrated online and offline space that supports how women workand live, we’re providing a platform for women to succeed, and a community in which we can all thrive,” says Oonagh.

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