Halifax’s Union.Dev, which makes administrative software for labour unions, now has clients across Canada and in several American states, with its cross-border expansion effort bolstered by the release of its second product.

Founded in 2018 by father-son team Randy and Kevin Ansems, Union.Dev’s first product was a pension management platform to help unions negotiate complex internal processes that may have evolved piecemeal over many years. Its latest product, Union OS, is a platform for managing most of a union’s broader administrative processes, such as member data and grievances against employers.

Union.Dev sells its pension and benefits management software only in Canada because the American regulatory landscape is significantly different, but Union OS is available on both sides of the border and the company employs a business development worker in California on a contract basis.

Unions’ internal processes can vary widely, so each organization receives a heavily customized version of the software and can request additional tweaks.

“We sign on a client and they are paying a monthly licensing fee,” said Kevin Ansems in an interview. “We're almost like an extension of their union at that point, or the IT team for them. So we'll build them the custom platform, but then we're providing full support and training as long as they're a paying customer.”

Union OS has about 25,000 union members on the platform across 10 client organizations. The pension software, meanwhile, has several thousand users. If a proposed deal with a British Columbia-based organization that works with unions as a third party administrator proceeds, that number will soon swell to around 125,000.

The business grew out of contract work that Randy Ansems was hired to do in 2012 by a company offering pension management services to unions. In 2018, the duo decided to set out on their own and incorporated Union.Dev, bagging a deal with a 30,000-person union in Ontario shortly afterward.

In 2021, when they had reached eight employees, the Ansems raised $240,000 from NRC IRAP and $70,000 from ACOA to fund the development of Union OS. Now, Union.Dev employs 10 full-time staff and four contract workers.

In the U.S., where most of the software aimed at unions has been on the market for multiple decades and is written in older coding languages that few people know how to maintain or update, appetite for the more modern Union OS has proven substantial.

“We're building out the platform every day, adding new features,” said Kevin Ansem. “And all the feature upgrades, or customizations, or new features we're creating for clients, we just roll it out to all of our clients if they're in need.”

Asked whether Union.Dev plans to raise capital, Ansem said he expects a funding round to come soon, but that the company had prioritized building a smoothly-running operation first.