Company: The Mom Project is a digital talent marketplace and community that connects professionally accomplished women with world-class companies for rewarding employment opportunities. The Mom Project is changing the way women work and redefining career structures by providing women with real work opportunities that are in balance with their personal goals. This evolution will keep more talented, professionally accomplished women in the workforce.
HQ Location & Year Founded: Chicago, 2016
Founder: Allison Robinson, Founder and CEO, found herself asking if it was possible to have both family and a career. She founded The Mom Project, proving that mothers can find professional success on their own terms. The leading digital marketplace for moms, The Mom Project connects one million+ talented professionals to 3,000 companies through robust hiring, education, and retention solutions. As CEO, Robinson led The Mom Project to raise $116 million in funding to date, the largest global investment in female workforce development. Additionally, The Mom Project’s non-profit RISE helps women of color find greater economic opportunity through multifaceted support and upskilling. Previously with Procter & Gamble for seven years, Ms. Robinson is a graduate of the University of Dayton.
Funds Raised and VC Investors: $116 million from 7GC & Co., Citigroup, Grotech Ventures, High Alpha Capital, Initialized Capital, Leeds Illuminate, OCA Ventures
Where did the idea for The Mom Project originate?
While on maternity leave from Procter & Gamble with my first child, I read a jarring statistic that an estimated 43% of highly skilled women leave the workforce after becoming mothers. I started to imagine a future where women would not have to choose between parenthood and their careers, and could not stop thinking about what a real solution might look like. Inspired by the birth of my first son and on behalf of moms everywhere, I founded The Mom Project in 2016.
What is the key problem that The Mom Project intends to solve?
Our mission has become even more important and the urgency in which we must help solve the issue has been compounded with the Pandemic. Since 2020, coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, women accounted for a staggering 11.9 million in lost jobs. The public health and childcare crises put a particular strain on working mothers, many of whom left their roles to act as full-time caregivers. We, at The Mom Project, have long-recognized that working mothers face multiple obstacles in terms of economic advancement – from combating professional biases, lack of flexibility and family friendly policies to confronting racial discrimination as moms of color, and much more.
Simultaneously, businesses are challenged to attract and retain talented employees and struggle to find the experienced talent they need to grow. The Mom Project bridges the gap, creating opportunities for companies and professionals to grow and thrive while having the ability to not choose between career and family.
How are you most differentiated as a service?
Our mission is to create meaningful economic opportunities for Mom where they do not have to choose between career and family. By partnering with companies, from Fortune 500 to small and mid size businesses, we bring together new ways of working that centers on flexibility, family friendly policies and environments, and diverse talent that is a win / win for moms, families and companies.
What are the company’s key accomplishments to date?
Our proudest milestone is reaching over one million moms and caregivers on our talent platform that offers a robust suite of hiring, education and retention solutions with our 3000+ companies.
I am also extremely proud of our $80 million Series C raise in October 2021 which translates to $116 million in funding to date, the largest global investment in female workforce development. This continues to show strong commitment to our mission: to build economic opportunity for moms. In fact, our goal is to create $1 billion in economic impact in the next two years.
Finally, RISE, our not for profit, equity-focused upskilling arm of The Mom Project, has awarded more than 6000 scholarships across 1,400 cities to individuals. Founded in 2020 in a response to COVID-19, RISE is committed to accelerating equity for moms and women of color by providing access to highly-desirable upskilling tech certifications—in six months or less, and at no cost to participants. It was also named Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas and named #8 on Inc.’s 17/17 list of 17 Ventures that embody the U.N.’s 17 sustainability goals.
What lies ahead in the plans for The Mom Project?
We will continue to expand our partnerships with our customers both at enterprise companies and small to midsize businesses, there is still so much opportunity to connect moms with flexible and meaningful work. We will also continue to expand our RISE program with new certification partners to help more women of color with upskilling opportunities.
With more than one million moms and caregivers on our platform today, we remain steadfast in our mission - to create economic opportunities for moms. We believe that moms should not have to choose between family and career success. We work tirelessly with companies, ranging from Fortune 500 to small businesses, to create economic opportunities for moms that provide flexibility, family friendly policies and career growth -- all aimed at our goal to create over $1 billion in economic impact for moms and caregivers.
How DO working moms do it? Having witnessed firsthand the challenges of raising a family while also maintaining a full-time career, I am still in awe at those who strike a balance. However, I am also flabbergasted by the obstacles that must be overcome to be successful at one’s job while also having obligations as a caregiver to kids, elderly parents, or whomever it may be. It has taken far too long for the corporate world to start recognizing the reality of this situation and not penalizing, either explicitly or implicitly, the working parents who must juggle multiple career and family obligations. A glass ceiling indeed.
Thankfully, employers are waking up and those that are working with companies like The Mom Project, are positioning themselves to support the needs of a large chunk of their workforce. Working moms need flexible options, but they also need employers who care holistically about their wellbeing and are willing to ensure that they don’t sacrifice opportunities at promotions, bonuses and other advancement, simply because they cannot put in the same quantity of hours as staff members who are free of such constraints. It is imperative for employers to treat all of their staff fairly and startups like The Mom Project will be helping to facilitate this.
They layed off 19% of their work force including moms on top of the 15% on July 2022
It is heartening to hear that this kind of company has been able to raise money. And I like that your take recognizing that caregiving obligations can take many forms. Some people care for their kids and their parents.