MBS alum’s software benefits remote business
Now, perhaps more than ever before, businesses with employees working remotely are saying TGIF.
Friday, a software startup founded by University of Maine alumnus Luke Thomas ‘13, aims to improve communication at work by creating habits that enable regular communication and information to flow.
“Sharing information inside a team or across a company involves a lot of manual, ad-hoc processes,” says Thomas. “I thought there might be an easier way to create these habits with software.”
Thomas earned a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing from the Maine Business School. He then moved to Boston to pursue a technology career. He worked as Head of Product for Crystal, a Salesforce Ventures-backed startup, and Head of Growth for getAbstract, an ed-tech company based in Switzerland.
“Both of these roles were remote friendly,” he says. “So my wife and I decided to move back to the Portland area a few years ago.”
But working remotely quickly uncovered some pain points.
Software that helps communication
“I had always thought there was a way for technology to kickstart the conversations between an employee and their manager,” says Thomas. “As I worked remotely, I realized that the problem was much bigger than the employee to manager relationship. Many major workplace problems boil down to poor communication being the root cause.”
To address these issues, Thomas created Friday. The software program automates many of the communication mishaps with which remote teams struggle via functions like priority lists and workflows. It also prompts questions like “What do you plan to accomplish this week?” or “What are you working on today?”
By the summer of 2019, Thomas and his team were ready to launch the application. But they needed capital to improve the product and go to market.
“We spent about two months soft-pitching the idea to connections, collecting feedback, and iterating on the product to match the vision we were selling,” he says. “The most important thing is that you need evidence that what you are doing is working – It can’t be just an idea. I worked on this nights and weekends for a while leading up to the fundraise. People were already using the product regularly and paying for it.”
After months of preparation and pitches, Friday secured a $450,000 investment, led by Boston-based venture capital firm Underscore VC.
“Raising investment allowed us to ramp up our product development efforts significantly, especially before Covid-19 hit,” says Thomas. “Our product was ready to help thousands of people all over the world communicate and work more effectively from afar.”
As an added benefit, Friday is offering Maine-based organizations free use of the product through the end of 2020.