Our Founder: Simon Franks
Simon founded the Franks Family Foundation in 2006, after transferring his focus from business projects to philanthropic pursuits. Born in Hertfordshire in 1971, he grew up in Colindale, then Edgware. He went to school in Camden Town and graduated from Manchester University, where he studied business.
Simon is the founder of a number of successful businesses and an investor behind a number of enterprises. He sold his first business (the first company in Europe to stream feature films over the internet) in 2000, to German public company, Helkon Media AG.
In 2003, Simon co-founded and seed-funded Video Island / Lovefilm, Europe’s leading online DVD rental business. Lovefilm was subsequently sold in 2011 to Amazon Inc.
Prior to selling it in October 2005, Simon founded and owned Redbus Film Distribution (RFD), one of the leading UK film distributors. RFD had international success with films such as The Gift, Bend it Like Beckham, Maybe Baby and Good Night and Good Luck. It also produced a number of globally successful films. RFD was sold to the US studio Lionsgate Inc.
Between 2000 and 2004, Redbus was the UK’s fastest growing company with a compound annual growth rate in-excess of 280%.
Simon has won a number of awards for business, including the Sunday Times Fast Track award.
In 2013, he was selected as one of the world’s 100 top innovators by British Airways and was part of the “BA Ungrounded” flight for the 2013 G8 summit.
In 2006, Simon switched his focus to philanthropic pursuits, establishing and funding the Franks Family Foundation. The FFF manages and funds charitable endeavours around the world. These range from educational projects and scholarship programmes to travelling medical and health outreach projects. The FFF also has a cultural remit and supports artists and art institutions around the world, but primarily in the UK. In addition to initiating and developing projects in South-East Asia, Simon has participated in various conferences on international development, NGO organisation and civil society, focusing on the promotion of a more progressive, balanced world.
Simon is also politically engaged within the UK, having a particular interest in issues pertaining to international development, foreign policy and foreign aid. More generally, Simon is also a strong promoter of entrepreneurialism as a means of addressing economic problems within less advantaged communities and the UK as a whole. Simon first joined the Labour Party in 2005 and was an advisor to Ed Balls and the Party on business, entrepreneurialism and innovation.
Simon is married and lives in London. He serves on the advisory board of the Labour campaign for International Development, the advisory board of Campaign Bootcamp, and is International Chairman of the Lake Clinic in Cambodia. Simon is also and advisor to Tilganga Hospital in Kathmandu and Chairman of The Ruit Foundation.