2021 Impact Report

Leeds Illuminate supports companies focused on expanding, improving and accelerating outcomes for learners and workers from the first day of school to the last day of work.

We invest with the conviction that impact and investment success are inextricably interwoven at all stages of education and workforce development.

Leeds Illuminate logo

2021 has been an exciting year for Leeds Illuminate.

Having launched Leeds Illuminate last year, we have led or co-led five publicly announced growth-stage investments to date, grown our investment team, and are excited to now publish our first Impact Report. Our portfolio companies have grown revenue over 86% on average in 2021 and have impacted over 1.8 million learners and workers to date.

Leeds Illuminate strongly believes that impact and investment success are inextricably interwoven in education and workforce development.

We are investing in growth-stage companies with demonstrated efficacy and measurable outcomes because we believe this is key to building an enduringly successful business.

In this report we celebrate the strong results our portfolio companies are accomplishing for their stakeholders and beneficiaries. We hope that it further gives our community insight into our impact strategy and helps illustrate our commitment to investing in companies creating meaningful outcomes for learners and workers.

We are proud to partner with mission-driven companies and to help further scale their results. We welcome your feedback and engagement as we continue to grow our portfolio and impact in the months and years ahead.

Sincerely,
The Leeds Illuminate Team

Leeds Illuminate team members walking in front of trees towards camera

Our Impact Strategy

Leeds Illuminate focuses on solutions that expand, improve, and accelerate learning and quality job outcomes from the earliest of learners through adult working professionals. We believe that investing in companies delivering positive results for learners and workers will build long-term sustainable value for all stakeholders.

Leeds Illuminate’s impact strategy is centered around demonstrated efficacy and meaningful, measurable outcomes for learners and workers.

Simply put, this means we invest in companies with products and services that have data showing they deliver positive improvements from the status quo for learners and workers. We conduct thorough diligence on the evidence of efficacy and outcomes pre-investment, and then we partner with our portfolio companies to seek to further grow, improve and advance those outcomes during our investment period.

In addition to our team’s decades of experience in impact investing and in the education and workforce sector, our impact strategy is shaped by the principles of three leading frameworks: the IFC Operating Principles for Impact Management (OPIM), the Impact Management Project’s Five Dimensions of Impact framework, and the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

Please see below for more info on various components of our impact strategy:

Target Impacts
Focus on Outcomes
Measurement and Management
ESG Integration

Leeds Illuminate seeks to support companies creating meaningful positive impacts in education, workforce development and workforce access, including:

  • More equitable access to high-quality early childhood education
  • Improved child readiness, development and well-being
  • Improved educational outcomes for primary education, including literacy and numeracy
  • Reduced gaps in post-secondary education affordability, access and outcomes
  • Increased higher education persistence and graduation rates
  • Improved job readiness for graduates of secondary and post-secondary education
  • Skills training with direct links to career and income advancement
  • More equitable job access and work flexibility to meet diverse individual income needs and lifestyles

We evaluate each potential investment’s alignment with our overall impact objectives in education, workforce development, and workforce access. We also evaluate prospective investment alignment with generally accepted positive outcomes aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, including specific targets under the “Quality Education” and “Decent Work and Economic Growth” goals as well as several other SDG targets. See how the current portfolio aligns to SDG targets.

Leeds Illuminate is focused on investing in companies with products and services that have evidence showing they create meaningful, measurable positive outcomes for learners and workers.

In our evaluation of company efficacy data, we utilize existing primary and secondary research conducted by the company or others pre-investment to validate demonstrated efficacy and as needed, depending on the rigor and credibility of existing results, will make plans for additional contribution to advance future efficacy evaluation and outcomes studies in partnership with management teams. Examples of efficacy evidence can include:

  • Internal company data
  • Customer shared data measured from product usage
  • Survey data from beneficiaries
  • Third-party research or academic publications
  • Independently conducted randomized control trial research studies

We also conduct rigorous information collection pre- and post-investment on the beneficiaries (e.g. who are the learners and the workers benefiting from the outcomes) and seek beneficiary viewpoints and satisfaction indicators whenever possible. Leeds Illuminate can also provide advice and technical assistance, when appropriate, to seek to further improve or advance the degree of change, scope or target beneficiary groups for achieved outcomes over time.

Leeds Illuminate collects impact data at least annually from each portfolio company in order to seek to better manage our investments, and we annually publish results–both publicly and privately to our investors–to hold ourselves accountable.

Overall, our impact measurement and management strategy is aligned with the IFC Operating Principles for Impact Management (OPIM). Specifically, Leeds Illuminate:

  • Defines strategic impact objectives, consistent with our investment strategy
  • Has a process to manage impact achievement on a portfolio basis
  • Seeks to establish its contribution to the achievement of impact
  • Assesses the expected impact of each investment
  • Assesses, addresses, monitors, and manages potential negative impacts of each investment
  • Monitors the progress of each investment in achieving impact against expectations and responds appropriately
  • Will conduct exits considering the effect on sustained impact
  • Will review, document, and improve decisions and processes based on the achievement of impact and lessons learned

Leeds Illuminate integrates both environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) and impact investment frameworks into our investment philosophy, diligence processes and ongoing investment management.

Our partners at Leeds Equity became a signatory to the U.N. Principles for Responsible Investing in December 2019.

We have identified the following ESG topics as those we believe to be the most relevant and material issues for growth stage companies in education and workforce development:

  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Fair Wages & Human Rights Protections
  • Employee Engagement
  • Data Protection & Privacy
  • Marketing & Mis-labeling
  • Community Relations
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Board Composition
  • Political Donations & Lobbying
  • Executive Compensation
  • Whistleblower Schemes
  • Audit Committee Structure
  • Business Ethics
  • Bribery & Corruption
Target Impacts
Focus on Outcomes
Measurement and Management
ESG Integration

Leeds Illuminate Portfolio Snapshot

>$220M
invested since August 2020
5
investments
>2,091
individuals employed by portfolio companies with an average 82.4% employee satisfaction rate
979
jobs created since Leeds Illuminate investment
>275,000
learners have benefited from portfolio-generated outcomes
>1.55 million
workers have benefited from portfolio-generated outcomes
>7,650
university and employer partnerships

SDG Alignment

Leeds Illuminate’s target impacts and portfolio-generated outcomes are well aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, including specific targets under the “Quality Education” and “Decent Work and Economic Growth” goals as well as several other SDGs.

Click a specific SDG Target below to see the Leeds Illuminate portfolio companies contributing to that target impact.

4·3
By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university
Leeds Illuminate Portfolio Company Contributors:
4·4
By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship
Leeds Illuminate Portfolio Company Contributors:
4▸C
By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States
Leeds Illuminate Portfolio Company Contributors:
5·4
Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
Leeds Illuminate Portfolio Company Contributors:
5·5
Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
Leeds Illuminate Portfolio Company Contributors:
8·5
By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
Leeds Illuminate Portfolio Company Contributors:
8·6
By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training
Leeds Illuminate Portfolio Company Contributors:
9·5
Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending
Leeds Illuminate Portfolio Company Contributors:
10·2
By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
Leeds Illuminate Portfolio Company Contributors:
10·4
Adopt policies, especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies, and progressively achieve greater equality
Leeds Illuminate Portfolio Company Contributors:

Portfolio Company Impacts

Using technology and curriculum innovation, Emeritus is increasing access to high-quality, affordable education for a global student population.

>250,000
students have completed courses
85%
course completion rate
>80
countries reached to provide high-quality education access
>90%
students report met or exceeded learning outcomes
72%
students achieved career transitions post-program

Emeritus partners with leading universities to offer online courses, credentials and degree programs to students around the world.

Company Overview

Emeritus has built a massive global upskilling platform that is designed to prepare today's professionals for tomorrow's rapidly-changing workplace, with over 250 professional learning programs developed in partnership with a network of more than 50 top tier universities and delivered to more than 250,000 individuals across 80+ countries.[1] The company pioneered Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs), creating industry-driven certification programs, professional certificates and workforce leadership development initiatives in collaboration with its university partners around the world. Emeritus' programs are defined by personal engagement between faculty and students, course customization, mentoring, coaching and career counseling.

Problem

By 2025 half of all employees around the world will require reskilling and according to the World Economic Forum, upskilling efforts have the potential to create 5.3 million net new jobs by 2030. Moreover, the projected growth in key sectors such as healthcare -- projected to grow 14% by 2028 -- and technology – projected to grow 31% in the cybersecurity field in the next decade – amplify the demand for reskilling. [2]

Further, high quality professional education through leading universities has historically required professionals to travel to campus which can be costly and unattainable for global professionals.

[1] Eruditus Executive Education does business as Emeritus.

[2] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/10/top-10-work-skills-of-tomorrow-how-long-it-takes-to-learn-them/

Target Outcomes

  • Improved education access to a global audience of learners
  • Improved education affordability
  • Skills and training acquisition gains
  • Greater job and income opportunities
  • Broader Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) education access and skills training for middle and high school students via its iD Tech division

Company Outcomes and Efficacy

Since its founding, Emeritus has built a massive global upskilling platform that prepares professionals for tomorrow's rapidly-changing workplace, with over 250 professional learning programs developed in partnership with a network of more than 50 top tier universities.

Over 250,000 individuals across 80+ countries have completed courses powered by Emeritus.

Emeritus results include:

85%
course completion rates for its professional learners
94%
of students report Emeritus had a positive impact on their career and professional development
>90%
of students report that their learning outcomes were met or exceeded
72%
of students made career transitions post-program
51%
of students who made transitions report salary increases post-program
80%
report Emeritus’s program format allowed an easy balance across work, personal life, and studies

Voice of the Beneficiary

“Choosing to start my own business, the program gave me confidence on the various approaches to take while armed with key learning from other businesses. When evaluating strategies, I do so from an informed point of view.”


– Ugandan student in Digital Disruption: Digital Transformation Strategies

“This pandemic has limited all of us in motion, but the existence of this program allows us to gain useful knowledge and experience. Many of the strategies taught in this program are relevant to current conditions. So that I can stay in my current job well.”


– Widya, Indonesian student in Product Strategy: Discovering, Developing, Managing, and Marketing Products as a Business

“[I loved] the flexibility to allow participants to take their own pace in completing the course, the always available resource centre if we have questions for lecturer to discuss; [and] the case studies presented and the interaction during tutorials.”


– Malaysian student in Python for Data Science

Impact Recognition

Read more ↓

Mursion is driving practiced behavior change; enabling 21st Century leadership, communication and management skill development; and addressing diversity, equity and inclusion issues in the workplace.

>15,000
individuals have completed at least one simulation
>10,000
simulations in 50+ countries and 20+ languages are conducted each week
88%
of student clinicians reported Mursion’s simulation was beneficial in preparing them for real-life clinical situations
>2X Improvement
on teaching effectiveness and student learning for teachers who received professional development on the Mursion platform
Roundtable (Clip): "Building a Culture of Safety From the Inside Out," Efrain "Efry" Ayala-Johnson

Mursion is an online virtual reality training platform that uses a combination of artificial intelligence and human actors to deliver scenarios for learners to practice essential human skills. Examples of simulation scenarios’ focus include clinical soft skills, leading through crisis, management communication and sales skills.

Company Overview

Mursion is an online virtual reality training platform that uses a combination of artificial intelligence and human actors to deliver scenarios for learners to practice essential human skills. It provides an immersive platform for practicing these essential skills so adult learners can perform better in the real world.

Mursion simulations are designed for the modern workforce, staging interactions between learners and avatars to achieve the realism Mursion believes is needed for measurable, high-impact results. Drawing upon research in learning science and psychology, Mursion harnesses leading technology and human interaction to deliver outcomes for both learners and organizations.

Organizations turn to Mursion for a safe place to practice human skills, such as emotional intelligence, adaptability and resilience, in an authentic risk-free environment where the danger of harming the individual’s performance and company’s reputation is eliminated. Examples of simulation scenarios’ focus include clinical soft skills, leading through crisis, management communications, reducing racial bias and sales skills.

Problem

97% of employers surveyed said that soft skills were either as important or more important than hard skills. However, 46% of new employees fail within 18 months and of these, 89% fail because of a lack of soft skills, such as professionalism or the ability to get along with others. [1]

Additionally, the need for training on diversity, equity and inclusion is apparent in the falloff of diverse talent in senior company management and leadership positions. According to McKinsey’s study, women represent 48% of the entry-level workforce but only 35% of mid-level managers and 24% of Executive and C-Suite level leadership. For people of color, the numbers for these roles are 34% for entry-level roles, 24% of mid-level managers and only 17% of Executive and C-Suite level leadership. [2]

[1] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/humanity-into-hr/pages/covid-19-soft-skills-at-work.aspx
[2] https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/women-in-the-workplace

Target Outcomes

  • Learning gains in 21st Century leadership, communication and management skills
  • Improved behavior change on specific targeted situations
  • Improved capability of adult workers to address difficult issues in the workplace
  • Improved diversity, equity and inclusion practices in the workplace
  • Improved teacher, clinician and other professional readiness for jobs

Company Outcomes and Efficacy

10,000 simulations in 50+ counties and 20+ languages are conducted each week on Mursion’s platform. >15,000 individuals have completed at least one simulation. Each simulation has a specific use case and target outcome with teacher training, management training and diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I) corporate training as top use cases.

89% of individuals who completed Mursion simulations report the experience to be a valuable use of their time, and 86% found the scenario authentic to real-life situations. 80% report they learned something they can use within the next 3 months.

The following are examples of Mursion’s demonstrated outcomes for various use cases of its platform:

88% of student clinicians reported Mursion’s simulation was beneficial in preparing them for real-life clinical situations, and 93% reported simulations as valuable as part of a university clinician training program supported by Elsevier.


T-Mobile wanted to build leaders' “self efficacy” at handling change management conversations. Upon completion of Mursion’s simulation program, nearly 90% of employees showed competency in handling change management scenarios. The company expanded the scope of the training to include leading difficult team meetings and supporting a traumatized employee through incidents of racial injustice.


>2X improvement was demonstrated on teaching effectiveness and student learning for teachers who received professional development on the Mursion platform. Two earlier studies from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also found that as few as four Mursion simulations can change teacher practice in the classroom.


Mursion customer Coca-Cola tripled its level of learning engagement (learner NPS) in the span of nine months. Coca-Cola’s program sought to scale its global leadership training and practice for 1,300 managers in its HIPO leadership program aimed at high-performing employees who had previously reported experiencing dissatisfaction with traditional peer-to-peer role play. The effects have been long-lasting; spaced, self-paced immersive training is now available to all participants in the entirety of the company’s regional workshops.


TennCare, Tennessee’s statewide Medicaid program, enlisted Mursion to assess and certify employees. Mursion created a comprehensive model targeting 64,000 home healthcare workers located throughout the state. During the pilot, more than 900 learners experienced training evaluations, and seven competency-based assessments were designed and built for use in The QuILTSS Institute.


Nationwide sought to empower its managers to handle typically tough conversations around providing performance feedback to employees. Mursion supported and scaled Nationwide’s leadership development throughout all levels of the company. The company saw increased learner net performance scores, as well as improved efficiency and cost-extraction from reduced training time, time spent away from work, and decreased travel.


Impact Recognition

Read more ↓

Product School is upskilling and reskilling adult learners for greater income opportunities in high-demand jobs.

>1 Million
Product Management professionals engaged to date and provided ongoing resources in Product School’s global community
>10,000
individuals have graduated with Product School credentials & certifications and now part of its global alumni base
88%
course completion rate
4.4 out of 5
average student rating, with every student cohort averaging a 4-5 score
Students testimonials

“Our company was founded on the basis that traditional degrees and MBA programs simply don’t equip Product Managers with the real-world skills they require on the job.”

– Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia, CEO and Founder

With over a million-strong community of PMs, Product School’s certifications are a leading standard in the industry. Aside from certificates for individuals, the school also provides employer training and upskilling programs.

Company Overview

Product School is a global leader in Product Management training with a community of over one million product professionals. The company’s certificates are industry-recognized credentials by employers hiring product managers.

Product management jobs are in high-demand and involve flexible positions that connect consumer needs and interests with product development and delivery. Unlike traditional graduate school business programs designed for students seeking roles within the finance and consulting fields, Product School’s certificate programs are highly relevant for the next generation of software product leaders, and offered at a fraction of the cost.

Students can select part-time course offerings on weeknights or weekends or fast-track their education with an intensive full-time course of hands-on training. Product School’s instructors are real-world Product Leaders working at top Silicon Valley companies including Google, Facebook, Netflix, Airbnb, PayPal, Uber and Amazon.

Problem

Traditional MBA programs can be costly, lengthy and often lack the application of real-world skills, particularly in newer and dynamic job categories, like product management. Meanwhile, jobs in Product Management command strong salaries and are in high demand with employers seeking to find applicants with relevant training and skills.

Target Outcomes

  • Learning gains in real-world career skills
  • Increased employability and job access
  • Increased income opportunities
  • Strong student return on investment in career training

Company Outcomes and Efficacy

>1 Million
Product Management professionals engaged to date and provided ongoing resources in Product School’s global community
>10,000
individuals have graduated with Product School credentials & certifications and now part of its global alumni base
78%
of students in tuition-based courses are self-funded career switchers and upskillers, and 22% have employer-sponsored upskilling
1,000+
hiring partner companies are now part of Product School’s network
88%
course completion rate
4.4 out of 5
average student rating, with every student cohort averaging a 4-5 score

Product School also offers free career and training resources to a global audience, including:

  • >1,000 live and on-demand courses & industry events
  • Product Analytics Certification (PAC)
  • Career guides and resources
  • The Product podcast
  • Downloadable books, videos & guides
  • Product management templates and tools
  • Active digital communities

Voice of the Beneficiary

“The class highlights exactly what it takes to become a great PM, helping you figure out what strengths and experiences you can leverage in a product position — as well as the areas where you need the most improvement.”


– Bryce Lewis, Product Manager (hired at LinkedIn)

“Attending the PM part-time course is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. They helped me put together a clear plan for the transition. Definitely something you should give a shot.”


– Anabelle Zhang, Product Manager (hired at Salesforce)

“The instructors were all clearly very experienced. I learned structured problem-solving techniques that helped me get multiple job offers even before the course ended.”


– Chien Yu, Product Manager (hired at Facebook)
Read more ↓

The Mom Project is providing economic opportunity for women on their own terms.

>$300M
economic value generated for moms via TMP to date
>540,000
individuals in the TMP talent community
45%
women of color in TMP’s talent community
88%
of moms placed in flexible work opportunities via TMP report they’d use the platform again
The Story of The Mom Project

The Mom Project is a digital talent marketplace and community that connects professionally accomplished women with flexible work opportunities and full-time positions with family-friendly employers. It has become the leading talent platform for working moms and a leading solution for companies seeking to improve their gender diversity and retain female talent. Women can sign up to join The Mom Project community and gain access to work, skills training, career development and networking opportunities at no cost to them.

Company Overview

The Mom Project is a digital talent marketplace and community that connects professionally accomplished women and mothers with family-friendly companies for both flexible, project-based work opportunities and full-time positions. The Mom Project has become the leading talent platform for working moms and a solution for companies seeking to improve their gender diversity and retain female talent.

Women can sign-up to join The Mom Project community and gain access to work, skills training, career development and networking opportunities at no cost to them. Companies have identified The Mom Project's suite of hiring, upskilling and retention solutions as an effective way to solve pressing labor shortages while also addressing longer-term concerns around attrition, skill gaps and the need for greater diversity and empathy in the workplace.

In addition to talent placements, the company’s offering also includes research and industry publications via its Werk Labs division and longer-term diverse talent pipeline building and contribution to RISE, its affiliate nonprofit, which offers upskilling programs for technology certifications specifically for women of color.

The Mom Project has a stated goal to connect moms on its platform with more than $1 billion in economic opportunity in the next two years.

Problem

An estimated 43% of women leave the workforce within a year after having a child, and many face significant challenges when seeking to re-enter.[1] 

More than 1.6 million women are still missing from the paid labor force in the U.S. following the COVID-19 pandemic.[2] The United States now has the lowest levels of women in the labor force since the 1980s, prompting Vice President Kamala Harris to declare "a national emergency."

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/04/why-43-of-women-with-children-leave-their-jobs-and-how-to-get-them-back/275134/
[2] https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/03/moms-work-and-the-pandemic.html

Target Outcomes

  • Increased flexibility for working mothers to meet income and other lifestyle and family needs
  • Improved ability for women to achieve their career goals
  • Increased individual and family income
  • Greater economic opportunity over time for women
  • Improved equity in job access, placement and workforce participation
  • Improved working mother experience and livelihoods

Company Outcomes and Efficacy

>540,000
The Mom Project serves over 540,000 moms on its platform
45%
are individuals of color
32%
have some form of employment gap or are seeking to return to employment after leaving the workforce
3,000
The company has also helped over 3,000 companies improve their workplace diversity and inclusion through its robust suite of diverse hiring, education and retention solutions
88%
Talent surveys report impressive satisfaction levels with 88% of moms that were placed or hired via The Mom Project reporting they’d use the platform again

The Mom Project helps women remain active in the workforce in every stage of their journey by connecting women with employers who are committed to designing and supporting a better workplace. Today the company offers women the following free resources:

  • Flexible work and income opportunities to meet their individual work, life and family integration needs
  • Full-time job opportunities with family-friendly employers
  • Career pathways and career development advice for increased income and work opportunities
  • Resume tools to improve employability
  • Mentorship, peer communication and networking programs to assist career goal achievement, including its RALLY program, which is dedicated to providing mentorship to members of The Mom Project community
  • Skills training, including its RISE program that’s focused on building technical skills training (currently trainings for Microsoft Learn, Google IT, and Salesforce Administrator certificates) to upskill women of color
  • Other creative benefits and cost savings programs

Voice of the Beneficiary

“Because the position came through The Mom Project, I knew that the pay would be enough to support my family, the company had good values, and would be flexible and support my role as a mom at home. I felt confident applying because of that.”


– Rocio Goodney, Executive Assistant placed at Tripwire

“I cannot rave enough about The Mom Project! My experience was flawless throughout because of the wonderful people who supported me along the way. Thank you TMP - you made a challenging time a lot more enjoyable!”


– Debra Pogofsky, Account Coordinator placed at Uber

“I am so grateful to RISE for the opportunity to complete the Google Project Management course. I wanted so badly to take this course because I needed the opportunity to better myself mentally, occupationally, and financially. RISE renewed my belief in people wanting to see women of color, who look like me, do better and enter industries that sometimes shut us out. I look forward to stepping into a new role; prayerfully, with Google.”


– Kristan Gordon, RISE graduate with a certification for Google Project Management

Impact Recognition

Read more ↓

Wonolo enables workforce access by giving frontline workers the freedom and flexibility to choose where and when they work. Through Wonolo’s mobile app, workers can find jobs opportunities that pay at or above the local living wage and gain access a comprehensive set of portable benefits.

> 1M
individuals have used Wonolo to look for and access flexible job opportunities to date
87%
of Wonoloers report Wonolo "enables freedom to work"
73%
of workers report Wonolo provides skill growth and 59% report it enables resume building
> 80%
of job placements via Wonolo offer at least the local Living Wage to workers
Ashley found a full-time position through accepting jobs on the Wonolo app.

Wonolo is a leading on-demand staffing platform for hourly and frontline workers. Workers—called “Wonoloers”– can choose where, when and with what advance notice they book each shift of work, enabling more individuals to participate in the workforce on their own terms.

Company Overview

Wonolo is a leading on-demand staffing platform that connects hourly and frontline workers – called "Wonoloers"– to job opportunities. As a “gig economy” model, workers have total choice of what types of jobs, for what companies, where located, when and how frequently they work as they are presented with recommended opportunities in their local areas on Wonolo’s mobile application. Wonoloers have the freedom to select which jobs they want to work and choose their own schedule.

Problem

8.3 million of Americans are unemployed or underemployed and millions of workers are seeking more flexible work to better meet their lifestyle, family and income needs.[1]  73% of traditional temporary staffing agency workers are still placed in full-time, longer term committed work versus offering flexible scheduling options and allowing workers to choose when, where and how often to work.

The unemployment rate of individuals with criminal convictions is about five times higher than those without.[2] 

[1] https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm
[2] https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/outofwork.html

Target Outcomes

  • Increased flexibility to meet income and other lifestyle and family needs
  • Increased individual and family income
  • Greater economic opportunity over time
  • Improved equity in job access and placement
  • Improved worker experience and livelihoods

Company Outcomes and Efficacy

>1 Million
Over 1 million workers have used Wonolo's mobile app to pick up jobs that fit their needs and schedules and have earned hundreds of millions of dollars. Worker surveys show around 80% of workers are individuals of color and an estimated 43% of workers on the platform are women.
>80%
Over 80% of job placements via Wonolo offer at least the local Living Wage to workers. A Living Wage is an outcome threshold defined by MIT as the minimum “earnings necessary to meet a family’s basic needs while also maintaining self-sufficiency.” Wonolo was the first gig economy model to make a pledge to Living Wages on its job platform in 2021 and took out a full-page ad in The New York Times advocating for other companies to do so as well.
87%
87% of Wonoloers report Wonolo “enables freedom to work.”
73%
73% of workers report Wonolo provides skill growth and 59% report it enables resume building.
94%
94% of Wonoloers rate their job experiences at 4 or 5 stars out of 5 stars. Wonoloer Net Promoter Score (NPS) is 65, which ranks in the 100th percentile benchmarked against retail company workforces where the average worker NPS is 35.
Path Forward
Wonolo launched a “Path Forward” program in 2021 to help provide access to jobs for individuals who might fail a background check because of their past involvement in the criminal justice system. The company works with its customers to encourage them to forego criminal background checks for workers staffed via Wonolo’s platform as part of the program.

Wonolo gives workers access to:

  • Flexible work and income opportunities
  • Living wages
  • Wonolo Up - a comprehensive set of portable benefit offerings, from flexible health, financial tools, insurance and other safety net benefits
  • Wonolo U - free online courses that help workers develop portable skills
  • Career pathways for increased income opportunities and higher wages
  • Portable skills and credentials to build industrial work resume and improve employability
  • Job access and second chances for those with backgrounds in the criminal justice system via its Path Forward program
  • Other creative benefits and cost savings programs

Wonoloers have no minimum shift commitments as well as total flexibility of when and how frequently to work. The company has direct access to job completion data and payments made to Wonoloers and therefore knows exactly what each Wonoloer works (in hours and number of shifts) and earns via the platform.

Voice of the Beneficiary

“I lost my corporate job due to loss of business from COVID-19. I had no income since then and my savings were drying up. I was starting to lose hope. I was on the edge of being homeless. Then my sister told me about Wonolo. I was able to sign up and start working immediately. Wonolo helped turn my life around. I was able to pay my bills and I believed in myself again.”

- Wonoloer Coy Nguyen

Click on a Wonoloer photo to read more on each’s personal story.

Joseph
Sophia
Riffiale

I relocated to the Bay area from Los Angeles in 2009 and struggled for a while to get on my feet. I’m an underground rap artist and I perform occasionally, but rely on contract work to make ends meet. I learned about the Wonolo app from a friend of mine in early 2016 while I was in between jobs. My first Wonolo job was at a startup jewelry company. The culture there was awesome and over the course of 5 months, I formed many lasting friendships with other Wonoloers. These friendships led me to my next Wonolo gig at the Korean cosmetic company.

I started there as a preferred Wonoloer and later began working for the Requestor as a part-time employee. Within a few months, I was offered a full-time role and transitioned from their HQ to their warehouse in the East Bay. Working there taught me a lot about the startup culture. Like many startups that are finding their way, this company decided to discontinue their product line and my warehouse role was eventually eliminated. Luckily for me, I started my job search early and I landed another job where I am now currently working full-time as a Returns Specialist alongside a fellow Wonoloer whom I had previously met.

My journey through Wonolo has given me access to many companies, networks, and friends that are priceless. From the “O.G.” Wonoloers who I met during my early days who gave me invaluable insight into the process, to the newly onboarded Wonoloers with whom I now help whenever I see them on a job. I can truly say I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for the Wonolo app. Having Wonolo as a secondary and sometimes primary income source has given me the freedom and flexibility to work on my dream while maintaining a good standard of living. Last year I was able to visit Los Angeles multiple times and spend time with my immediate family. That really meant a lot to me. This year I am on track to grow my savings and become even more skilled in my job, while also expanding my musical presence throughout the Bay Area. You can catch me performing around the Bay under Ale-Jhay.

Wonoloing allows me to focus more on what makes me happy and less on the daily stresses of life.

– Joseph
Other Wonoloers ↑

My name is Sophia and I am a Wonoloer in the New York area. I was born and raised in Brooklyn. My passion is food and I’m a chef here in the city. This time last year, I was on track to open a restaurant or food truck, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit that all changed. I had to put my dreams of opening a restaurant on pause, so I could find work and support myself.

That’s right about when I heard about Wonolo and downloaded the app. I was able to still do some chef work on the side and fill the other free time with jobs I accepted on the app. I have previous experience in warehouse jobs and demo work, so it was a smooth transition for me.

I have so much gratitude for Wonolo. Being able to find consistent work during a pandemic has been tough for a lot of people. Being able to open the app, pick a job, and make money right away gives me so much hope.

I’m still saving to open my restaurant and plan to one day work with Wonolo as a customer. I would love to support other Wonoloers in their journeys and provide work for more people. My dream is going to be a reality one day and Wonolo will play a big part in it!

– Sophia
Other Wonoloers ↑

My name is Riffiale and I am a Wonoloer in the Dallas Fort Worth area in Texas. I was born in Louisiana, but have lived in Texas since I was a little girl. You could definitely call me a church girl. I’ve been in the ministry for 22 years.

When I heard about Wonolo, I was working a job that was offering less and less hours. I needed to make up those hours elsewhere, and a friend told me to download the Wonolo app. That was September of last year. Now, one year later, it’s been the best working experience I’ve had in a really long time.

I love trying new things and keeping variety in my life. I’ve been able to accept Wonolo jobs at Fossil, Crestone, Six Flags, Dickies, and more!

The biggest perk for me is meeting new people. Everyone comes from different walks of life. I’m naturally a learner, so I observe people’s actions, get feedback, and try to improve myself. For me, it’s about gaining different experiences, not necessarily the money. I prefer being challenged in new environments like Wonolo offers, rather than a traditional 9-5 job. The Wonoloer community I’ve built is like my family. We see each other at different jobs. We share new work opportunities on the app. It’s awesome, because we’re looking out for each other and have each others’ backs.

I’m in a place now where I accept Wonolo jobs consistently every week. It’s been a lifesaver, especially now during this pandemic. I always tell people about Wonolo, because the work is out there! You just have to be looking in the right places.

Outside of Wonolo, I am going to school for ministry work, I run a business, and I also help my husband run his own business. I definitely keep busy whether or not I’m working a Wonolo job. If it wasn’t for the flexibility, I don’t think I could do it all. I make consistent money with Wonolo, but I also make room for other things I’m passionate about. I am my own boss, and as my business grows, I want to maintain that independence and ability to do what I love with determined focus.

– Riffiale
Other Wonoloers ↑

Impact Recognition

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Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Leeds Illuminate believes diversity is a strategic and moral imperative. It seeks to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in its internal team of investment professionals, portfolio company management and board leadership, and student and workforce beneficiaries served.

We believe this priority of diverse perspectives and equitable access throughout our work enables long-term advantages and enhancement of our investment strategy.

Our Investment Team

100
%
Women
25
%
People of Color

Our Portfolio

64%
portfolio company employees identify as women
42%
portfolio company employees identify as individuals of color*
55%
portfolio company senior managers identify as women
34%
portfolio company senior managers identify as individuals of color*
36%
portfolio company Board members identify as women
31%
portfolio company Board members identify as individuals of color

*Data available only for companies that collect employee demographic data

Goals

Having invested in companies with demonstrated outcomes for learners and workers, we work with our portfolio companies to seek to further scale, improve and advance those outcomes during our investment period.

Leeds Illuminate is proud to support our portfolio companies in their respective impact goals over the next 3-5 years.

Hover over each company to see its 3-5 year impact goal:

Upskill or reskill 1 million individuals around the world
Improve essential human skills for >50,000 individuals via Mursion simulations
Upskill 50,000 individuals with Product School credentials & certifications
Generate $1 billion in economic value for moms on the platform
Create over $1 billion in economic opportunities and improve the lives for millions of workers by offering flexible and fulfilling jobs at livable wages

Industry Leadership

Leeds Illuminate is proud to be an active participant and member of leading organizations in our industry, including those supporting education, workforce development, impact investing, and women and diverse fund managers.

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