Startup Positivity — Week 14

Over the last few weeks we’ve highlighted the fantastic work that the City Light portfolio teams are doing to make the world smarter and safer. This week, we continue with three stories from companies on the frontlines of the future of work and healthcare, including some from fellow travellers’ portfolios.

The entrepreneurs with whom we are fortunate enough to partner are working on solutions that the world needs now more than ever. They are still on the front lines providing care, reducing stress and anxiety, and increasing access to education and energy.

We are not the kind of people or firm that gets quiet or sits on our hands when things get tough. We do not let the news or the red on the stock screens discourage us. We will be smart, empathetic, patient and thoughtful, while also being present, helpful, active and open for business (while upholding all social distancing recommendations). We will be helping our existing companies navigate their new realities, both positive and negative. We will continue to make new investments and to provide follow-on funding as warranted.

2U is the world’s leading Online Program Manager (OPM). The company’s platform provides schools with the comprehensive operating infrastructure they need to attract, enroll, educate, support, and graduate students globally.

There are nearly 18 million unemployed Americans according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While there has been some positive news in terms of job growth over the last few weeks, many of these workers may never return to the job they held pre-COVID and others may not return to the workforce at all. The situation is even more dire for minority and female populations, where unemployment rates more than tripled in the three months from February to April and remain 3–4% higher than the national average. Upskilling and reskilling the population will be an essential part of recovery from the pandemic, as will empowering minority and female populations to be a part of that recovery.

In an effort to reach more of these populations, 2U announced this week that they had launched of a $3M Scholarship Fund designed to expand access to critical tech training boot camps for historically underrepresented candidates experiencing job loss or financial hardship. Scholarships of $2,500 each will be available to Black, Latino, and Indigenous learners, as well as women, demonstrating both need and merit. These scholarships, made possible through the commitment of 2U’s partner network, can be applied to over 100 online tech boot camps, spanning fields including coding, data analytics, cybersecurity, fintech, digital marketing, and UX/UI.

Noteworth is a first-of-its-kind planning platform for healthcare systems to improve care delivery.

With COVID making telehealth the new norm, the healthcare industry has begun to look for solutions to help simplify and enhance the care they deliver. Reimbursement, value-based care, and patient follow-up are all still daily obstacles for effective treatment, and new solutions are needed to ensure that important data does not get lost in the transition to digital.

Noteworth helps care teams to communicate with and collect data from their patients in real time, including through video and chat. This allows for doctors and other healthcare providers to efficiently manage their patient populations by risk, disease, and typology, as well as to offer programs in telemedicine, behavioral health, and self-managed medication. The Noteworth platform works to help reduce costs by decreasing readmissions and the use of high cost services with timely interventions.

Congratulations to Laconia Capital for leading the $5 million seed round for Noteworth!

The Mom Project is a digital talent marketplace and community that connects professionally accomplished women with world-class companies.

Working mothers make up a significant part of the labor force, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all employed women; two-thirds of those women work full-time. But as COVID has led to layoffs and transitions to remote work, as well as new full-time roles as caregivers and teachers, many of these mothers now find themselves looking for new work opportunities that provide more flexibility.

The Mom Project is a digital talent marketplace specifically geared towards mothers at every stage in their journey. Whether a mother is looking for a full-time position or project work, the platform enables users to engage on their terms with incredible companies that need their talent and expertise. With women bearing the brunt of coronavirus job losses, solutions such as The Mom Project will be essential for helping women get back to work.

Congratulations to our friends at IrishAngels and Aspect Ventures for their participation in The Mom Project’s recent $25 million Series B round!

These are just a few examples of why we are convinced that tomorrow will be better than today. It can help to take a moment to recognize the amazing work being done by entrepreneurs and their startup companies.

To that end, if you have inspiring stories about entrepreneurs making a difference that you would like to share, please send them to us at info@citylight.vc. We are sure that our community of investors, entrepreneurs and change makers could use a smile and a reminder that we are not alone.

City Light is a Venture Capital firm that invests early in impactful companies. https://citylight.vc

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