JPMorgan acquired Frank in 2021 for a then unknown amount of cash, however a lawsuit filed in December 2022 reveals the corporate paid $175 million for the acquisition.
Image: Lewis Tse (Shutterstock)

We all make unhealthy offers right here and there, however JPMorgan has made a actually unhealthy one. The monetary providers firm claims that its acquisition of startup Frank was constructed on a lie during which the younger startup proprietor claimed the corporate had thousands and thousands of customers.

Frank is a software program startup aimed toward serving to college students get probably the most out of the coed mortgage course of by serving to them navigate the barrage of complicated types with a TurboTax-like course of. Frank raised $5 million in April 2020 and the startup was acquired by JPMorgan Chase in September 2021 for a then unreported amount of cash.

But the connection was allegedly constructed on a lie, and, according to a report from Bloomberg, with JPMorgan now regretting their $175 million buy of Frank. JPMorgan claimed in a lawsuit filed in December that Frank CEO Charlie Javice swindled the megacorporation in true Elizabeth Holmes trend when she approached JPMorgan for a sale. When pitching Frank to JPMorgan, Javice reportedly claimed the startup had over 4 million customers, when in actuality it had nearer to 300,000.

“Defendant Charlie Javice founded a small start-up business known as Frank that seemingly had the potential to grow and become a successful enterprise in the future, and appeared to have had early proven success,” JPMorgan says in its grievance towards Javice, which was filed in Delaware underneath case number one:22-cv-01621-MN. “But to cash in, Javice decided to lie, including lying about Frank’s success, Frank’s size, and the depth of Frank’s market penetration in order to induce [JPMorgan Chase] to purchase Frank for $175 million.”

In her pitch to JPMorgan, Javice allegedly claimed that Frank had 4.25 million customers and had seen 35 million web site guests since its founding in 2020. To bolster these claims, Javice produced a listing of 4.265 million college students who had allegedly begun the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) course of via Frank, with 2.1 million college students totally finishing the applying, based on the case.

JPMorgan then claims that the corporate requested for a complete checklist of buyer account knowledge together with full names, dates of delivery, and residential addresses. Javice initially pushed again on the request citing privateness considerations, earlier than producing a listing full with all the info. After a Frank engineer refused to create doctored knowledge, this checklist was created for $18,000 by an unnamed knowledge science professor in New York City primarily based on the checklist of 300,000 precise clients. At the identical time, the go well with alleges Frank’s Chief Growth Officer Olivier Amar reached out to a scholar advertising firm, and bought a listing of 4.5 million scholar names, addresses, and telephone numbers for $105,000.

“[JPMorgan Chase] paid $175 million for what it believed was a business deeply engaged with the college-aged market segment with 4.265 million customers; instead, it received a business with fewer than 300,000 customers,” JPMorgan argues. “Javice and Amar’s fraud materially damaged [JPMorgan Chase] in an amount to be proven at trial, but not less than $175 million.”

When requested for extra data, JPMC spokesman Pablo Rodriguez advised Gizmodo in assertion, “Our legal claims against Ms. Javice and Mr. Amar are set out in our complaint, along with the key facts. Ms. Javice was not and is not a whistleblower. Any dispute will be resolved through the legal process.”

Frank didn’t instantly reply to Gizmodo’s request for remark however attorneys for Javice, who can be suing JPMorgan to pay for her authorized charges advised Bloomberg that the financial institution rushed to purchase Frank with out conducting correct due diligence whereas attempting to deflect consideration from its violations and scholar privateness legal guidelines.

Frank’s website is formally closed with the message “Frank is no longer available. To file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), visit” Likewise, the Twitter accounts for Frank, @with_frank, and Charlie Javice, @charliejavice, now not exist.

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