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2022 Impact Report

Leeds Illuminate invests with the conviction that impact and investment success are inextricably interwoven at all stages of education and workforce development.

We partner with companies focused on expanding, improving, and accelerating outcomes for learners and workers from the first day of school to the last day of work.

2022 has been a year of growth and opportunity for Leeds Illuminate and our companies remain resilient in the face of the uncertainty in the global market.

Leeds Illuminate launched in 2020 and we have made eight growth-stage investments to date—including three new investments in the past year. We invest in growth-stage companies with demonstrated efficacy and measurable outcomes because we believe this is key to building enduring, successful businesses.

Our companies are growing in this challenging macro environment, reflecting the value they deliver to learners and workers.  We are excited to share the results of their work in our second Impact Report.

In the report we celebrate the results our portfolio companies are accomplishing for their beneficiaries, who are mostly adult learners and workers.

We are proud to partner with these mission-driven companies 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 working professionals. The firm believes 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 we believe deliver positive improvements from the status quo for learners and workers. In addition to traditional diligence, Leeds Illuminate also conducts thorough diligence on the evidence of efficacy and outcomes pre-investment. Post investment, 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 the IFC Operating Principles for Impact Management (OPIM) and the Impact Management Project’s Five Dimensions of Impact framework.

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

Target Impacts
Focus on Outcomes
Measurement and Management
ESG Integration

Leeds Illuminate seeks to partner with companies creating meaningful positive impact in education, workforce development and workforce access, including:

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

We evaluate each potential investment’s alignment with our overall impact objectives in education, workforce development, and workforce access. We also evaluate a prospective investment’s alignment 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 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 promote transparency.

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
  • Seeks to assess, address, monitor, and manage 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. 

The Leeds Illuminate team is also in process of collecting portfolio ESG data to participate in the Data Convergence Initiative in 2023.

Target Impacts
Focus on Outcomes
Measurement and Management
ESG Integration

Leeds Illuminate Portfolio Snapshot

$300M
invested since August 2020
8
portfolio company investments
>3,200
individuals employed by portfolio companies
1,497
jobs created since Leeds Illuminate investment
>299,000
learners have benefited from portfolio-generated outcomes
>1.19 million
workers have benefited from portfolio-generated outcomes

SDG Alignment

Leeds Illuminate’s target impacts and portfolio-generated outcomes are 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:
4·7
By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
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

IntelyCare is increasing workforce access by giving healthcare professionals greater shift choice and flexibility with transparent pay rates. In creating a better working environment for healthcare professionals, IntelyCare is helping to end the nurse staffing crisis and ensure that patients receive optimal care.


>$650M
in income generated for nurses via IntelyCare to date
>46,088
healthcare professionals with increased workforce access in the IntelyPro network to date
2.3x
lower likelihood of nurses in a per diem role to leave their job versus those who are not, per IntelyCare research study
1.4M
hours of digital training provided to nurses via IntelyEdu since inception
Caring With Courage

IntelyCare is the leading digital nurse staffing platform for post-acute and other healthcare facilities.


Company Overview

IntelyCare is a leading tech-enabled nurse staffing platform for healthcare organizations in the United States. Through its predictive algorithms, IntelyCare schedules and matches nursing professionals with open assignments. In doing so, IntelyCare provides nurses and nursing assistants with substantially increased flexibility in their work lives while simultaneously empowering healthcare organizations to take complete control of how they manage full-time, part-time, and per diem nursing staff and providing facilities with 3x higher shift fill rates.

Problem

There is an estimated 1.1M nurse shortage in the United States,[1] and long-term care facility employment has fallen to below 2011 levels.[2] Many nurses have rejected the traditional staffing model, stresses and conditions of the full-time nurse profession, leaving the workforce altogether.

According to research published in the journal Health Affairs, pre-pandemic average annual post-acute staff turnover was 128% in 2017 and 2018.[3] The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the U.S. nursing shortage, and >400,000 nurses left the workforce given pandemic-related stresses and other nurse burnout in an understaffed work environment.[4] An estimated 500,000 nurses are projected to leave the workforce by year-end 2022.[5]

[1] https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/healthcare/us-must-produce-1-1-million-nurses-by-2022-to-meet-demand
[2] https://www.epi.org/publication/residential-long-term-care-workers/
[3] https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2020.00957
[4] https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/covid-travel-nurses/2021/12/05/550b15fc-4c71-11ec-a1b9-9f12bd39487a_story.html
[5] https://ascellus.com/healthcare-in-crisis-500k-nurses-plan-to-leave-the-industry-in-2022/

Target Outcomes

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

IntelyCare also targets improved patient care and health outcomes as a result of greater levels of nurse staffing, workforce participation and overall satisfaction.

Company Outcomes and Efficacy

Over 46,000 clinicians– spanning Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs) and other healthcare professionals– have used IntelyCare’s platform to find work that fits their needs and schedules and have earned over $650 million dollars to date.

IntelyCare provides IntelyPros (i.e. healthcare professionals on its platform):

  • flexible work and income opportunities;
  • transparent wages and access to potentially higher hourly wages;
  • DailyPay benefit where IntelyPros can elect to retrieve a portion of pay on the same day that they work a shift, weekly direct deposits and options to automatically save a portion of a paycheck;
  • bonus opportunities, overtime and holiday pay;
  • access to benefits, including medical, dental and vision insurance; retirement savings and worker’s compensation and malpractice insurance;
  • free, unlimited access to mobile-based personal counseling and group coaching sessions;
  • free skills training and continuing education via IntelyEdu; and
  • career pathways and training programs for increased income opportunities and higher wages.

IntelyPro surveys show around 73% of clinicians are individuals of color, 61% report being single parents and 70% report having children in their household.

IntelyCare studies have found that the flexibility offered by gig work has a major impact on job satisfaction. In April 2022 the company released the first major study analyzing the demonstrable impact gig work and technology are having on nursing professionals. The study, which aggregates findings from surveys conducted by Reputation Leaders and Oliver Wyman, found that more nurses and nursing assistants are seeking flexibility in their work lives and that those who have adopted gig working apps are more likely to feel that they are thriving in their careers. Nurses working in a per diem capacity are also 2.3x less likely to leave their current role (13%) compared to those who are not (30%), according to the findings.

The study found that nurses who are a part of the gig economy are less stressed, happier, and take better care of their mental and physical health than permanent staffers. And IntelyPro respondents were likely to feel more confident (42% vs 33%), happy (37% vs 26%), and as if they were thriving in their career (27% vs 9%) than the respondents outside of IntelyCare.

The company has provided 1.4 million hours of digital training to nurses via IntelyEdu to date. IntelyEdu’s library of post-acute care-focused continuing education provides affordable resources for upskilling, training, and career certificates needed to meet the demands of the changing healthcare workforce. The IntelyEdu platform includes a full library of 150 American Nurse Credentialing Center-approved continuing education hours, nine certificate programs, and exclusive access to discounted degree programs, scholarships, and educational events. IntelyEdu enables nursing workforce development and future career mobility by offering NCPD certificates to users who complete courses through the platform.

IntelyEdu’s certificate programs and stand-alone courses are among the first of their kind to be developed specifically for post-acute/intermediate direct care professionals. IntelyEdu’s Professional Scheduler Certificate, for example, is one of the first programs built to train qualified candidates to fill the thousands of open Scheduler positions at post-acute care facilities across the country.

IntelyEdu is also partnering with organizations to expand existing educational offerings. Excelsior’s new innovative and flexible Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BS) program helps working LPNs achieve their BS in nursing degree. IntelyPros can participate in the school’s unique bridge program at an exclusively discounted tuition, enabling learners to work in healthcare settings while attending nursing school to minimize student loan debt. The partnership meets the needs of adult learners by providing flexible self-scheduling for required coursework, clinical experiences, and work that has been missing from traditional nursing education and workplace requirements.

IntelyEdu is also helping to bring nurses back to the bedside. Through a partnership with Sigma, IntelyEdu learners can enter Sigma’s Return to Nursing Certificate program, which provides nurses who have been away from practicing with a supportive, on-ramp back to practice through high-quality, evidence-based education.

In 2022 IntelyCare announced the launch of The IntelyHeart Foundation, a charitable not-for-profit organization, which with support from IntelyCare, will provide need-based grants to healthcare professionals who apply and meet established criteria. IntelyCare intends to commit up to $2 million over the next two years to fund grants to those who need short-term financial assistance to help cover rent, mortgage payments, medical expenses, tuition, or other living expenses. The formal launch of The IntelyHeart Foundation is an extension of IntelyCare’s existing efforts to support healthcare professionals who are facing financial hardships. In 2021 IntelyCare established a $500,000 fund to provide financial relief for struggling healthcare professionals.

Voice of the Beneficiary

“As a single mother, I have to make sure I can support my kids financially and still be there for them when needed, without worrying about my work schedule. That’s something only IntelyCare has been able to offer me. I now have the flexibility to work when/where I want and at a great rate.”


Maggie B., LPN

“I like working for IntelyCare because it gives me the freedom of making my schedule while being rewarded and appreciated. I get to choose where and when I want to work, and make more money than I ever did, all while working for a company that seems to really care about it. It can’t get better than this!”


Mary B., CNA

“I love the IntelyCare app! Picking up shifts and uploading required documents are both very easy. I also love that the rate for every shift is listed so I know how much I’ll make every time I work.”


Keisha R., RN

Impact Recognition

Read more ↓

SV Academy is upskilling young adults and connecting them with employers to launch their careers and expand their income opportunities.

>2,000
adult learners have graduated from SV Academy
>76%
of graduates are women or people of color
80%
job placement rate for graduates from October 2020 to January 2022
2.4x
graduate income expansion
SV Academy Graduates

SV Academy’s training and mentorship programs prepare job seekers for entry-level positions in Sales or Business Development and Customer Success.

Company Overview

SV Academy is an online vocational school for non-coders that was founded to help under-resourced and underrepresented communities, including women and people of color, break into the technology industry. Through its rigorous online employment programs, SV Academy offers jobseekers from diverse communities access to sales careers at more than 400+ partner technology companies across the U.S. It provides intensive training for entry-level positions in Sales, Business Development and Customer Success as well as other skill-building, mentorship, job placement assistance, and post-hire support, such as alumni networking events and coaching.

Problem

The World Economic Forum anticipates that more than 1 billion people will need to be reskilled, and by 2022, 42% of the core skills required to perform existing jobs are expected to change. Further, the WEF estimated of the 133 million new jobs created by 2022 most of the job growth will come from seven professional categories, including sales.[1] LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report noted that Customer Service and Sales Development Representative roles are in high demand in the SaaS industry and cannot be automated due to the industry reliance on people skills for successful new technologies.[2]

Nearly 80,000 tech jobs were added to the US in 2021, yet access to these roles has been limited, especially for women and people of color. Relative to the private sector as a whole, major tech companies’ workforces have a greater proportion of white (68.5% vs 63.5%), Asian American (14% vs 5.8%), and male (64% vs 52%) employees. Underrepresented groups in tech include African Americans, Hispanics, and women. These disparities hold in all roles within tech firms, but are particularly pronounced at the executive level: 83.3% of tech executives are male, and 80% are white.[3]

[1] The World Economic Forum, “We need a global reskilling revolution – here’s why.” January 2020.
[2] LinkedIn. “2020 Emerging Jobs Report.” December 2020.
[3] https://www.eeoc.gov/special-report/diversity-high-tech

Target Outcomes

  • Greater economic opportunity for women and underrepresented jobseekers
  • Improved equity in job access, placement, and workforce participation
  • Increased individual and family income post-program
  • Greater long-term career and income advancement for graduates

“SV Academy is on a mission to create $100B of wealth expansion for under-represented jobseekers.”

Company Outcomes and Efficacy

>2,340
adult learners have graduated from SV Academy
>76%
of graduates are from an underrepresented group
80%
job placement rate for graduates from October 2020 to January 2022
2.4x
graduate income expansion
60%
of graduates are promoted within the first year of their employment
67 NPS
Overall Net Promoter Score of 67 from program graduates
>400
hiring partner companies are now part of SV Academy network

Voice of the Beneficiary

“I might be the first person of color that’s been in this room, but I don’t want to be the last. Wherever I am, I want to set a tone for people who look like me to intentionally improve their lives and open the door for others. If you are first interested in SV Academy, I would first ask you to take a deep look at your life and make a decision if this is right for you. The second you have enough conviction to jump into SV Academy is the second that you will succeed in life.”

Lionel, SV Academy Graduate

“For me, what really set SV Academy apart from all the other programs out there is the personal attention that’s given at each step. It gave me networking opportunities I couldn’t find anywhere else. They ensured that I would be placed in a job where I would feel successful and supported.”

Janayn Evans, SV Academy Graduate at NoRedInk

“SV Academy is a beautiful way to get your foot in the door into the tech world. What SV Academy did for me was prepare me for the real world and prepare me for a real job because school can only teach you so much but SV Academy brings real-life situations to light….They teach you exactly what you need to know for that SDR role on your first day, so you’re ready as if you’ve been doing the role for 3 months, on your first day at your real job.”

Lara Arabi Customer Engagement Specialist at Google

Impact Recognition

Read more ↓

Verto Education is transforming higher education by making education abroad a foundational and accessible part of a four-year college plan. It is giving students the confidence, self-awareness, and global perspective needed to thrive in college and in life.

>1,799
students have participated in Verto global education programs since inception
>70
colleges and universities partnering with Verto
76% persistence
Verto students are continuing college at rates comparable to the national average
The Verto Fund
Scholarships and grants are made possible through Verto’s non-profit arm
Introduction to Verto Education

Verto partners with universities to support global experiential learning programs for entering college students and partners with universities to create a seamless transfer process for students.

Company Overview

Verto Education is transforming higher ed by making education abroad a foundational and accessible part of a four-year college plan. With Verto, students can begin college with world-class academics in destinations like Italy, Spain, and Costa Rica-- while gaining direct admission to Verto’s 70+ partner colleges, earning transferable college credits, and staying on track to graduate. All semesters include student support services, allowing Verto students to walk away with the confidence, self-awareness, and global perspective needed to thrive in college and in life.

Problem

Research shows “emotional preparedness – defined by the organizations as the ability to take care of oneself, adapt to new environments, control negative emotions or behavior and build positive relationships – is a major factor to students' success during their first year of college.” And 60% of students report they wish they had received more help with emotional preparation for college.[1] The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that completion rates for Pell Grant recipients at 4-year institutions also lag behind non-grant recipients, by up to 10% for the most selective institutions.[2] 

Also, according to the National Association of International Educators, minority students are still greatly underrepresented in study abroad programs relative to their postsecondary enrollment numbers. Minorities account for 45.8% of post secondary enrollments but only 30% of U.S. students abroad in the 2019-2020 school year.[3] 

[1] https://www.nafsa.org/policy-and-advocacy/policy-resources/trends-us-study-abroad
[2] https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/tta
[3] https://www.nafsa.org/policy-and-advocacy/policy-resources/trends-us-study-abroad

>1,799
students participated in Verto global education programs since inception
76%
of Fall 2021 program class were still enrolled in college during the spring 2022 semester

Voice of the Beneficiary

“I found out about Verto Education at a time in my life when I really needed to know that there was another way for me to begin life after high school. Not only is it great for earning college credit and learning in new and strange environments, but it’s extremely fun and you’ll meet so many great people that become so important to you.”


- Sarah, Verto Student, Latin America Spring 2020

“Being with Verto has equipped me with the skills and strengths I need to navigate through the challenges of life. I feel a newfound sense of excitement to explore the world, am adaptable to whatever life throws at me, and am ready to grow from every opportunity.”


- Mariana, Verto Student, Hawaii Spring 2021 and Costa Rica Fall 2021

“I found my senior year of high school to be quite stressful and discouraging. I felt as though I was the only one who didn’t have a concrete idea of what they wanted to do or where they wanted to go. I didn’t get that “feeling” that every college tour guide describes, I had felt lost. When I was just about ready to give up on my ideal college experience I was introduced to Verto Education. Hearing about Verto, I felt that it was way too good to be true and that there must have been some kind of catch. However, almost a year and 2 college semesters with Verto later, I can confidently say the reality of Verto is better than I could’ve imagined..not only have I found confidence and clarity in myself but the world around me as well. I cannot thank Verto and its staff enough for giving me my excitement for the future back.”


- Jade, Verto Student, Latin America Fall 2019 and South Pacific Spring 2020
Read more ↓

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

>$400M
economic value generated for moms via TMP to date
>1M
individuals in the TMP talent community
50%
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.

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] Women represent 48% of the entry-level U.S. workforce but only 32-36% of senior manager/VP positions and only 26% of C-suite positions.[2] 

McKinsey & Co reported in October 2022, “Now companies have a new pipeline problem. Women leaders are leaving their companies at the highest rate we’ve ever seen…to put the scale of the problem in perspective: for every woman at the director level who gets promoted to the next level, two women directors are choosing to leave their company.”[2] 56.7% of women participated in the U.S. labor force in 2022.[3]

[1] https://www.thebump.com/news/record-low-womens-labor-participation
[2] https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/women-in-the-workplace
[3] https://www.dol.gov/agencies/wb/data/widget

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

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.

Company Outcomes and Efficacy

>1M
The Mom Project serves over 1 million moms on its platform
50%
are individuals of color
32%
have some form of employment gap or are seeking to return to employment after leaving the workforce
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
>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
$9,564
average first year salary increase for RISE training program graduates

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

“The Mom Project was an incredible asset to my job search! The Resume Rev tool was great, it helped me create a clean and easy to view resume to use for applications. Through The Mom Project, I landed multiple interviews and eventually got a dream job with an incredible company that I would have never found! I can't say enough good things about my experience.”


– Ashley V., Customer Success Manager

The Mom Project thinks of everything and more, every step along the way to empower women to find their path. The Mom Project really flips the script.”


- Bridgette F., Sales Specialist

“The Mom Project is a wonderfully user-friendly, community-driven platform, full of advice and workshops to grow and become a better professional, a better mom, and simply a more developed and accomplished individual. I feel really happy to be part of this amazing community of women leaders.”


– Senami C., Attorney

Impact Recognition

Read more ↓

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

>1.55 Million
Product Management professionals engaged to date and provided ongoing resources in Product School’s global community
>13,000
individuals have graduated with Product School credentials & certifications and are now a part of its global alumni base
88%
course completion rate
4.2 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

>1.55 Million
Product Management professionals engaged to date and provided ongoing resources in Product School’s global community
>13,000
individuals have graduated with Product School credentials & certifications and are now a part of its global alumni base
56%
of students in tuition-based courses are self-funded career switchers and upskillers, and 44% have employer-sponsored upskilling
1,000+
hiring partner companies are now part of Product School’s network
88%
course completion rate
4.2 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

“This course covers everything you need to know about Product Management to jumpstart your PM career. It covers the absolute fundamentals of a PM role… But it doesn’t just leave you there – they also teach you how to apply for PM jobs, how to position yourself as a PM, and help you prepare for interviews. They can also make intros to the companies they work with.

The best part is that it isn’t all theory – you get to apply everything you learn every week to your own side project, and the instructors provide VERY DETAILED, brutally honest feedback to help you learn and improve over the course of 8 weeks.”


- Medha Ghatikesh

Product School is a great fit whether you have zero product management experience and want to make a career shift or you’ve recently started your PM journey and need some guidance. You will leave this course knowing how to ship a product that makes your users awesome.”


- Kathy L.

“I recently finished my course at Product School and it was a very enriching learning experience for me. The combination of experienced faculty members (Working Product Managers) and enthusiastic peers makes learning a lot more fun. The curriculum provides you a well rounded knowledge of both theoretical and hand-on knowledge. 

You have to finish a project by the end of 8 weeks of course, wherein you go through the entire lifecycle of Product Management right from distinguishing your customers to creating the best-fit product for them. Overall a great experience.”


- Shreya Bhushan
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 to a comprehensive set of portable benefits.

>$300M
total wages paid through the Wonolo platform from inception
>1M
individuals have used Wonolo to look for and access flexible job opportunities to date
94%
of Wonoloers rate their job experiences at 4 or 5 stars out of 5 stars
>30,000
job opportunities created to help people with previous criminal justice system involvement get back to work in Wonolo’s Path Forward program
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 the 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 if they want to work, when and how often they want to work, what work they’re willing to do, where they’ll do that work, and how much they’re willing to accept for that 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 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

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.  An estimated 40% of workers on the platform are women.

94% of Wonoloers rate their job experiences at 4 or 5 stars out of 5 stars.  Wonoloer Net Promoter Score (NPS) is 80.

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 offer jobs to Wonoloers who have only passed more-permissive criminal background checks or, in many cases, not passed any criminal background check.  

In April 2022, Wonolo reported that since its Path Forward program launch it has helped customers to post over 30,000 jobs that people with previous criminal justice system involvement can accept. Wonolo also collaborated with researchers from the Harvard Business School and other institutions entitled, "Increasing the Demand for Workers with a Criminal Record.” The paper, which was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, studied Wonolo’s Path Forward program.  Wonolo continues to collaborate with these same academics on further research into improving access to work. 

"In our research, we find that 39% of businesses in our sample are willing to work with individuals with a criminal record at baseline, which rises to over 50% when businesses are offered crime and safety insurance, a single performance review, or a background check covering just the past year," said Zoe B. Cullen, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. "With cost-effective policies, platforms can integrate workers with past involvement in the criminal justice system without deterring employers. This is a promising approach to expanding labor supply, and simultaneously addressing a pressing social challenge."

Wonolo aspires to have all Wonoloers get paid a living wage. The company encourages businesses to post jobs that offer competitive pay, well beyond what the worker would make if they were earning the minimum wage for employment in their area.

Wonolo surveys of U.S. workers reflect current inflationary impacts on workers. The company’s August 2022 survey found the vast majority of both corporate workers (92%) and gig workers (85%) said the cost of their bills have increased in the last six months, but only 41% of corporate workers and 42% of gig workers have received an increase in pay in the last six months.

Wonolo gives workers access to:

  • flexible work and income opportunities;
  • transparent pay rates and 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 job opportunities; 
  • job access for people with past involvement in the criminal justice system via its Path Forward program; and
  • other creative benefits and cost savings programs.

Voice of the Beneficiary

“Wonolo has helped me tremendously. It has allowed me to pay my rent during these times of inflation. Without Wonolo, I would have had to move to a more affordable place to live. Moving would mean my children would have to change schools to a not-so-good school district. Keeping my kids in the great school that they are in means the world to me.”

- Quinton (Wonoloer)

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

– Omar
– Elwood
– Jeffrey

My name is Omar and I’m a Wonoloer in Texas. I heard about Wonolo and started accepting jobs on the app back in December. Funny enough, I remember the exact moment. I was scrolling on my phone while I was getting an oil change. I was looking for a new job and Wonolo popped up on my Google search. I was in a place of wanting to try something new and the ability to try news jobs through an app really appealed to me. 

Getting started was incredibly easy. I downloaded the app, signed up, and started accepting jobs the next day. Making money this easily is the best part of Wonolo. Somedays, I accept early jobs and if I have enough energy, I accept another job for later that day. I’ve been able to make enough money in the last few months to financially feel better again. I’m caught up on my bills, I can save, and money is not a stressor anymore. 

I’ve also met awesome people, like Ava, while working jobs I find on Wonolo. Everyone knows each other and we help one another all the time. The community is very strong here in Texas. The only thing I wish was different was having the Wonolo app available when I was 18. This would’ve been a great way for me to gain experience, try new things, and network with people. But, I’m glad I found Wonolo now! 

– Omar
Other Wonoloers ↑

My name is Elwood and I am a Wonoloer in the New York area. I heard about Wonolo through a friend, but didn’t sign up right away because I had a job and was working. However, after the pandemic, I didn’t have any work and I needed to find something fast. I remembered Wonolo, downloaded the app, and have been working ever since! 

Using the Wonolo app, I accepted jobs posted by different businesses that interested me. Through working at many different locations, I’ve been able to gain a lot of experience and learn new skills. Gaining the experience has helped propel me where I’m at today too. Eight months ago, I was able to find a full time position with a business I previously engaged with through Wonolo. I’ve worked really hard, have shown leadership, and am now being promoted, too. 

Wonolo has been able to open a lot of doors for me and I’m grateful for the experience I’ve gained. If you’re looking for something new for work, download and check out the Wonolo app. You may find an opportunity that fits you!

– Elwood
Other Wonoloers ↑

My name is Jeffrey and I’m a Wonoloer in NYC. I’m a person who’s social, active, helpful, independent, and observant. I bring these skills to every Wonolo job I accept. 

I first heard about Wonolo back in 2020. I had lost my job due to the pandemic and I was on the job hunt. I saw an online advertisement for Wonolo and originally thought it was too good to be true. However, I downloaded the app, signed up, and was able to start working right away. Being able to find work on my phone is amazing. I can look at jobs based on location and pay, so I can make the best choice for myself. I also love that there’s no application, resume, or interview. It makes finding work simple!

Wonolo is helping me have freedom in my schedule. I am my own boss and I now have the ability to have flexibility in my life. This has never been the case before. My goal over time is to save up to invest in my own business. I’ve been told that I have the skills to run my own business, so I want to make that dream a reality. 

If you’re on the fence about diving into Wonolo, I say don’t think twice about it. It’s a life-changing experience, especially if you’ve had difficulty in finding work. Wonolo was here for me when I needed it, so now I am a loyal Wonoloer! 

– Jeffrey
Other Wonoloers ↑

Impact Recognition

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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.

> 26,300
individuals have completed at least one simulation
89%
of individuals who completed Mursion simulations report the experience to be a valuable use of their time
90%
of leaders at Dow reported they felt more engaged, motivated, and better equipped to support their teams after a program that utilized Mursion simulations
>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, meaningful results. Drawing upon research in learning science and psychology, Mursion harnesses leading technology and human interaction to help 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

1,000 simulations in 10 counties and 10 languages are conducted each week on Mursion’s platform. >26,300 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 over 90% found the scenario authentic to real-life situations. 91% report they learned something they can apply to their day-to-day work.

The following are examples of Mursion’s demonstrated outcomes for various use cases of its platform; please see the Mursion website for company-published case studies and background details.

90% of leaders at Dow reported they felt more engaged, motivated, and better equipped to support their teams after participating in an inclusive leadership program utilizing Mursion simulations, and 82% of leaders said the program elevated their commitment to inclusion and made them more inclusive leaders.


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.


>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.


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.


Impact Recognition

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Using state-of-the-art technology and curriculum innovation, and hands on instruction, Emeritus is increasing access to high-quality, affordable education for a global student population.

>250,000
students have completed courses
80%
course completion rate for short programs across regions
>80
countries reached to provide high-quality education access
94%
of students report Emeritus had a positive impact on their career and professional development
77%
of students report they learned valuable tools and strategies they can immediately apply to work

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

Company Overview

Emeritus has built an extensive global upskilling platform that prepares today's professionals for tomorrow's rapidly-changing workplace, with more than 700 professional learning programs developed in partnership with a network of more than 70 top-tier universities, and delivered to over 250,000 individuals across 80+ countries. The company pioneered Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs), creating industry-driven programs in collaboration with its university partners around the world. Emeritus' programs are defined by personal engagement between faculty and students, course customization, mentoring and coaching, and career counseling.

Problem

By 2025 approximately 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

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

Emeritus results include:

80%
course completion rates for its professional learners for short courses
94%
of students report Emeritus had a positive impact on their career and professional development
82%
of total past learners are satisfied or very satisfied with Emeritus programs
77%
of students report they learned valuable tools and strategies they can immediately apply to work
Nearly 20%
average salary increase for learners taking a professional education course
90%
of students saw a positive impact within their organizations, and of that group, 61% saw improvements in technical areas to help close skills gaps amid digital transformation and advancing skills needs
71%
of students report the program helped prepare themselves or their team for the future of work
44
Student Net Promoter Score

Voice of the Beneficiary

“It [learning with Emeritus] can help me advance in my career, get a promotion or get better job offers from world-class, renowned corporations.”


– Jemm Cellan, Philippines student in Applied Business Analytics (MIT Sloan)

“I had no background in coding. I knew some HTML but had never tried C# which is mainly used for extended reality games. But, in spite of these challenges, I could actually follow the course work because the professors focussed on concepts, not just code. I could build my portfolio during the tenure of this course and have now got a job in Nvidia!”


– Ashley Goldstein, Professional Certificate in Extended Reality Development (New York University)

“The interactive assignments where I had to repeat the instructions by acting and speaking while recording myself were great. It gave me self experience and helped to build my self confidence.”


– Ernest Keleco Boakai, Mastering Sales: A Toolkit for Success (Kellogg)

Impact Recognition

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Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Leeds Illuminate believes diversity is a strategic and moral imperative. We seek to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in our 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

59%
portfolio company employees identify as women or non-binary
48%
portfolio company employees identify as individuals of color*
48%
portfolio company senior managers identify as women or non-binary
31%
portfolio company senior managers identify as individuals of color*
36%
portfolio company Board members identify as women
44%
portfolio company Board members identify as individuals of color*

*Data available only for companies that collect employee and Board of Directors demographic data

Goals

Having invested in companies with demonstrated outcomes for learners and workers, we work with our portfolio companies to help 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:

Deliver 100 million hours of high quality care, improving patient outcomes and providing flexible work that generates billions of dollars for nursing professionals
Create $100 billion of lifetime wealth expansion for under-represented jobseekers
Prepare thousands of global leaders and transform access to higher education through a coming-of-age first-year start to college abroad
Generate $1 billion in economic value for moms on the platform
Upskill 50,000 individuals with Product School credentials & certifications
Create over $1 billion in economic opportunities and improve the lives for millions of workers by offering flexible and fulfilling jobs at livable wages
Improve essential human skills for >50,000 individuals via Mursion simulations
Upskill or reskill 1 million individuals around the world

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.

www.leedsilluminate.com
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