SafeSpace taps BRL 11 million to tackle corporate misconduct

SafeSpace taps BRL 11 million to tackle corporate misconduct

In order to help companies build an inclusive and diverse culture, the startup founded by four women created a compliance tool to report and manage complaints in the workplace

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SafeSpace, a platform for reporting and tracking cases of misconduct in the workplace developed by the quartet Rafaela Frankenthal, Giovanna Sasso, Natalie Zarzur, and Claudia Farias, has just announced a BRL 11 million funding round led by ABSeed Ventures fund and followed by DGF Investimentos and angel investors. This is the largest VC investment ever made in Brazil in a female-led startup.

SafeSpace can be called “a startup of its time”. The company has built a platform for companies where employees can file workplace-related complaints. The demand that SafeSpace meets is not exactly new, on the contrary. But the pressure for companies to change their approach to the issue and their policies for solving this kind of conflict (or crime, in some cases) is relatively recent.

Suddenly companies are being demanded and required to look at these processes more proactively, providing the necessary compliance tools to ensure a safe and healthy space. Many of the traditional channels and processes are designed just to meet regulatory requirements but are not sufficient to promote a safe space. This is a recurring challenge and a permanent exercise.

Rafaela Frankenthal, co-founder at SafeSpace

The startup‘s innovative thesis convinced great investors early on. Last October, just one month after closing the first deal, SafeSpace raised a pre-Seed round from MAYA Capital fund and 11 other angel investors, including Ariel Lambrecht, founder of 99; Ann Williams, COO at Creditas; Mariana Dias, CEO at Gupy, and Luciana Caletti, founder of the former Love Mondays.

Today, the startup already serves more than 50 companies and 15,000 employees can access the platform. The vast majority of clients are young technology companies, more compliant and aware of building an inclusive, welcoming, and diverse culture. “Talent attraction and retention is also a key point, which motivates companies to invest in a healthy culture,” says Rafaela. Client companies include startups such as Creditas, Buser, Rock.Content, isaac, Facily and Not.Co.

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The capital secured in the Seed round will be used to improve the product and structure the commercial and marketing areas, focusing on client acquisition. According to Rafaela, less than 25% of the cases of misconduct occurring in the workplace are reported and solved internally. “We still have a long way to go.”

How SafeSpace works

The idea of developing a product focused on compliance and good corporate practices came up when Rafaela was doing a master’s degree in gender studies in London. It was around the time that the global Me Too movement surfaced, which brought to light dozens of complaints, mainly of sexual harassment, in the most varied work environments – from Hollywood to the Armed Forces. The movement has shed light on the urgency of the debate about safer, more diverse, and inclusive work environments.

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Observing how the market was responding to the movement, the four founders began to design a compliance product that would help companies take a more macro look at practices such as moral and sexual harassment, gender discrimination, racism, corruption, fraud, interest, or ethical conflicts, and bullying, among others.

SafeSpace platform provides two applications. One is for the employee (but not only, since companies can use the platform as a channel with suppliers, clients, shareholders, among other stakeholders) to register the complaint. The tool guides the user through the process and helps identify the type of conduct being reported, such as harassment or discrimination, for example.

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The other is aimed at the administrator, usually the company’s HR and/or Compliance sectors, in which they can manage information, ask questions to the employee, even in anonymous mode, and map conflict patterns. “The panel helps the company map patterns and have a more macro vision, to address the cause and define an action and prevention strategy,” explains Rafaela.

In addition, those who reported can track the entire process in real-time, knowing when their report was viewed, when the company started an administrative investigation, and the final result.

Company’s dashboard. Image: SafeSpace/Courtesy

The complaints can be reported completely anonymously or with identification (in this case, the authorship of the complaint is confidential, only the company has access to the information).

There is also a feature called Connect, which allows employees to make a report on the condition that they are not the first or only person to make a report about the same individual. This means that the complaint will only be sent to the company’s dashboard if more than one person makes a report related to the same person. The functionality helps the company to identify recurring patterns of behavior or ethical flaws.

An efficient, secure, welcoming compliance channel is not something negative that the company should ‘hide’. If the company really wants to build a more inclusive environment and wants to solve existing problems, it is a reason to be proud.