VIDEO: Provider Pool Saves Lives During the Pandemic

As a registered nurse, Janna Westbrook was quick to see the flaws of conventional nurse staffing agencies. With her venture Provider Pool, Janna is revolutionizing the healthcare staffing crisis that has been intensified by the pandemic.

Provider Pool is an on-demand online labor marketplace connecting hospitals to nurses. Janna, CEO and co-founder, has demonstrated an exemplary impact during the pandemic. Her marketplace has helped facilities save hundreds of thousands of lives by improving the staffing crisis which has become more widespread than ever. Provider Pool has a COVID response team that has set aside nurses to solely work in COVID negative facilities. Meanwhile, nurses that are immunocompromised or who have young children are only working in COVID positive facilities. With the pandemic calling upon even those nurses who have left the workforce, Provider Pool has helped offer a better transition back to the healthcare field by providing them with information regarding what is going on in the facility and what other nurses are saying about it. 

Janna also says COVID-19 has been a huge catalyst for the business. Her healthcare venture is one of the few companies with over 100% month-on-month growth since the epidemic outbreak. With over 500 nurses active on the platform, Provider Pool is paving its way to becoming the ultimate solution for the healthcare staffing crisis. The total addressable market size is estimated at nearly $18 billion. “Even though healthcare is extremely innovative, there are many processes that are still pretty antiquated–staffing and recruitment is one of those processes,” Janna explains.

Provider Pool is a select online community built by nurses, for nurses. By connecting long-term care facilities with per diem nurses for on-demand staffing needs, it introduces a new way to work for both parties. Facilities using Provider Pool can easily fill shifts with their choice of healthcare professionals. They’re free to set their own rates and choose their own nurses without hassle because Provider Pool vets the nurses and handles invoicing.

Nurses registered with Provider Pool have the flexibility to pick and choose where and when to work. The platform offers a competitive pay rate, and nurses who sign up have access to a community of healthcare professionals. Since the community is nurse-run, nurses on Provider Pool pride themselves on reliability and ensure to register only the best onto the platform.

Janna’s vision for Provider Pool came after a personal struggle with nurse burnout and talent acquisition challenges. “I became an entrepreneur out of sheer frustration. I felt like current options were only patchwork solutions. And I wanted a centralized and streamlined process,” Janna said. “I was at the point where I was willing to walk away from healthcare completely and I wasn’t alone. 400,000 nurses have walked away from healthcare over the years. And it’s not fair to suffer burnout while doing something that you love.” 

As a female entrepreneur, Janna hopes Provider Pool will be a source of inspiration for future entrepreneurs. “Representation is definitely important, but I hope to inspire people to move on their ideas or to execute on their ideas,” Janna said. “I built this company out of a passion that I had, went ahead and executed. Hopefully, others will be inspired on the actual company side.”

Despite recent progress, less than 3% of female founders receive venture capital, according to PitchBook. When it comes to Black women tech founders, the resource gap widens. Between 2009 to 2018, tech startups led by Black women raised $289 million. That is only 0.06% of the $425 billion in total tech venture funding raised in that same time period according to Black Women Talk Tech’s research, which is the largest published study about Black women tech founders.

After Janna envisioned an online marketplace for nurses, it only took her just six months to pitch the idea, secure investors, acquire customers and top talents, and generate revenue. In 2019, Janna was one of the Arch Grants recipients. By February 2020, Janna and her co-founder Rodney McGill received investments from both Chloe Capital and ECMC Foundation during Chloe Capital’s #InvestInWomen tour. 

Chloe Capital is a seed-stage venture capital firm that invests in women-led, high-growth companies. The firm leads a movement to Invest In Women not only because studies have shown that companies led by women generate more revenue, exit faster and produce greater returns for investors, but also because they believe that creating an inclusive ecosystem in entrepreneurship and venture capital is the responsibility of every community. By investing in women, Chloe Capital provides investors with the opportunity to do well by doing good. 

During the “Invest In Women” events in Los Angeles, New Orleans and virtually in 2020, Chloe Capital and ECMC Foundation invested $1.25 million in women-led companies at the forefront of work and education. In addition to Provider Pool, Chloe Capital’s Work & Education investments include Beth Porter of Riff Analytics, Bec Chapin of and Jamee Herbert of BridgeCare. 

VIDEO: Provider Pool Saves Lives During the Pandemic2021-04-21T22:47:29+00:00

Upstate NY Investor, Mentor Champions Movement to Advance Women Entrepreneurs

Rochester community leader Jean Kase joins Chloe Capital to drive growth among women entrepreneurs and investors. Kickoff women-only pitch event December 4, 2018 in Rochester, NY!

Things are changing for women in the startup and venture capital world – and a network of women in Upstate NY have stepped forward to join the movement.

According to Pitchbook, all-women teams received just 2 percent of the $85 billion total invested by venture capitalists last year. All-male teams received roughly 79 percent. While there’s still no single definite answer behind the gap, female founders point to the lack of female VCs.

“Only about 5% of partners at top VC firms are women.” –Crunchbase

The silver lining is that the world has started to take notice of this inequality, and more leaders have emerged to champion the effort to decrease the gender gap in entrepreneurship and venture capital.

Last year, three Upstate NY women tech-trepreneurs (Elisa Miller-Out, Kathryn Cartini and Erica O’Brian) launched Chloe Capital, a venture capital firm with a mission to invest in women entrepreneurs, and increase the pipeline of women investors.

Chloe Capital debuted with a Women’s Investor Accelerator that united investors with world-class women leaders in angel investing and venture capital for three days of learning and community building. Five women-led innovation companies were also invited to pitch their ventures for funding.

“We were successful in creating a hands-on learning experience for investors, who by the end of the Accelerator, joined Chloe Capital in making our first investment in Mi Padrino, a high-growth tech startup,” said Chloe Capital Founding Partner Elisa Miller-Out. “Since, we have helped Mi Padrino founder and CEO Kim Gamez raise ~$2 million in additional funding in partnership with Astia Angels, and secure major deals, including partnering with Mattel to promote the Quinceanera Barbie!”

Upstate NY entrepreneur mentor, angel investor and super connector steps forward

Monroe County and Imagine Monroe understand the importance that innovation based economic development and its positive impact on wages and job creation in other sectors.  Their commitment is solidified by putting funding in place to drive this strategy. Jean Kase, Executive Director of The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN) plays a strategic role connecting people and resources in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Jean is a member of the Rochester Angel Network (RAN) and supported Chloe Capital’s accelerator for investors from the onset.

Jean has recruited and mentored hundreds of startups founders and owners of scalable businesses throughout her career. In these roles, having witnessed the gender gap first hand, Jean was enthusiastic about collaborating with an Upstate vc firm catalyzing solutions to the problem. She joined Chloe Capital as an inaugural investor, and became a member of the firm’s Board of Directors earlier this year.

Inspired by the movement, Jean helped TEN launch the first Women’s Business Accelerator in Upstate NY. This exclusive experience for women started in September. The program’s focus is to drive profitability, and help scale companies focused on selling products and services beyond the Finger Lakes Region.

“The Entrepreneurs Network is an intense program that helps entrepreneurs build scalable companies through a proven curriculum, experienced coaching and powerful connections,” said Kase. “Out of over 20 successful cohorts, this is our first accelerator solely for women.

Chloe Capital partners Elisa Miller-Out and Kathryn Cartini will participate in TEN’s business accelerator for women entrepreneurs as mentors, speakers and judges.

Accelerators for women investors and entrepreneurs catalyze next initiative

The Entrepreneurs Network, powered by Imagine Monroe, is leading the Rochester collaboration with Chloe Capital. Activities include a pitch event for women-led companies, and unique workshops designed for women investors and male allies.

“This collaborative initiative fosters economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs across New York State mentoring, connections and access to capital,” said Miller-Out. “We’ll also continue to educate and inspire investors to take action.”

Five women-led innovation companies will be selected out of an applicant pool of 1000 startups. Each will pitch their venture live to a panel of investors, who represent capital providers committed to gender parity in entrepreneurship. Tickets to the event are on sale now at

“Our approach with Chloe Capital is unique in that unlike a business plan competition, women-led companies will actually pitch Chloe Capital and our co-investing partners for funding,” added Kase. “TEN and Imagine Monroe will also collaborate with Chloe to increase the number of women investors at the table, and provide access to future funding for women startups.”

Prior to the pitch event, investors will be invited to a full day of enrichment programming. Participants will receive insight on how to find deals, the power of building community and the ins and outs of term sheets. Accredited investors can apply for the workshop at

“The power of having TEN champion the Rochester Event is sustainability,” said Kase. “New initiatives planned for 2019 will increase our reach and impact, by tapping new partners to ensure underrepresented founders and companies have access to the people, training and resources to spur innovation led growth throughout the Finger Lakes Region.”

The journey continues to get more women entrepreneurs funded

Chloe Capital will venture forward on its National Tour throughout 2019. Pitch events and investor workshops will be held in Boston, MA (January 11), Denver, CO (February 7), Chicago, IL (April 4) and Binghamton, NY (May 1).

Frontier tech companies will have the opportunity to pitch for funding and connections to our network of advisors, investors and business pros -> view startup application details. Sponsors will gain regional and national visibility. Investors will receive returns and insight on how to pay it forward. Together we’ll all further the movement to decrease the gender gap in entrepreneurship.

Upstate NY Investor, Mentor Champions Movement to Advance Women Entrepreneurs2019-09-04T05:31:08+00:00

The Power of Community – The story behind Chloe Capital’s new look

Meet the driving force behind Chloe Capital’s new website and branding!

Ewelina HoldredgeEwelina Zajac-Holdredge is the founder and creative director of IdeaKraft, a website development, packaging design and digital marketing agency with offices in Binghamton, NY and New Orleans, LA.

The Chloe Capital team met Ewelina through our work with nonprofit Upstate Venture Connect, when collaborating to strengthen entrepreneurial activity in the greater Binghamton area. A friendship was born, and soon after Ewelina joined Chloe Capital’s mission to reduce the gender gap in entrepreneurship. Idea Kraft has been a major supporter of Chloe Capital since our Women Investor’s Accelerator, and continues to help advance our movement through the redesign of our website:

Idea Kraft is a WBE, WOSB and EDWOSB Certified Woman Owned Business that works with a variety of clients, from early-stage startups, to global Fortune 500 companies. In addition, Idea Kraft is changing communities one branding at a time through Re-Kraft, a bi-annual event where the Idea Kraft team volunteers their time to rebrand a startup, non-profit or small business in New Orleans or Binghamton within 48 hours. Idea Kraft also hosts meetups for creative entrepreneurs, and recently launched Baseline Type, a resource for anyone looking to easily improve the typography on their website.

We applaud Ewelina’s unique vision and entrepreneurial spirit. Her award-winning design work has been recognized by many influential design organizations and media publications. How lucky are we to have such talent in our corner. Thank you Idea Kraft!

Chloe Capital | featured in Forbes

Chloe Capital Update

We’re feeling the love, friends! Since Chloe Capital announced our plan to travel around the country in search of the most promising women-led innovation companies, requests from community leaders interested in us stopping in their city has been tremendous. We’re currently in the planning stages with leaders in Binghamton, Boston, Chicago, Denver, and Rochester, with conversations moving forward with Austin and San Francisco. Thank you to everyone who has reached out. We welcome your partnership and look forward to making the Chloe Capital Tour a true milestone in our mission to reduce the gender gap in entrepreneurship and venture capital.

Chloe Capital will be announcing our first tour location soon. Investors, Startups and Sponsors can apply to participate in the national tour now. You do not need to be located within a tour city to participate. Join the Chloe Capital Tour

The Power of Community – The story behind Chloe Capital’s new look2020-04-02T12:56:03+00:00

Invest Outside Your Networks

Many Angels and VC’s invest in people they know, but what if your network isn’t diverse enough?

Originally published in Women 2.0.

 Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of

There’s a phrase I hear in the venture capital world all the time: “Invest from your network; invest in people you know.” I get it. There needs to be a huge amount of trust between investors and entrepreneurs and what better way to establish trust than by reaching out to people in your networks through referrals and existing relationships? The problem is: what if your networks aren’t diverse enough? How many talented founders are getting overlooked, simply because they’re operating outside of certain networks?

I grew up in New Orleans, one of the more diverse cities in America. I lived in multi-ethnic neighborhoods and attended diverse public schools growing up. I’m lucky to have a big, sprawling family with members that span the gender, race, and sexual orientation spectrum. However, I still face challenges in making sure my network is diverse enough. As I’ve advanced my career in the technology, entrepreneurship and investing space, it’s been more of a challenge to maintain the level of diversity that I was accustomed to in my childhood. This is a journey and I’m the first to admit that I have more work to do.

In a global, digital economy, there’s no question that diversity is critical to success. I think that as investors, we need to find more creative ways to reach outside of our existing networks to find deals. The next wave of innovation may come from overlooked talent in unexpected places. This will mean stepping outside of our comfort zones more often. Most of us in the entrepreneurship space are already used to being bold, taking risks and trying new things, so this shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

There are many organizations working on diversifying the entrepreneurship and innovation space and lots of opportunities to engage, whether it’s Women 2.0Digital UndividedLesbians Who TechBlack Girls CodePipeline AngelsLatina GeeksGirls Who CodeCode 2040 and more. We’re starting to document some of these resources on our site as well, so please feel free to share others with us and we’ll add them to our list.

There is still a need for groups that focus on moving the needle for certain demographics, but it’s important to keep in mind that you don’t have to identify directly with one of these categories to engage with these groups. Most are very inclusive of allies who want to be supportive of the diversity movement and who want to expand their networks. So, go to an event, or better yet, sponsor an event or offer to volunteer your time.

There’s still a lot of work to be done in achieving diversity in the entrepreneurship space and it’s everyone’s problem and everyone can and should be a part of the solution. I’ve been hearing from white men on our mailing list recently who are wondering if our movement is for them and are grappling with their role. The answer is simple: Yes — we all can play a role.

  1. Start expanding your networks.
  2. Step outside of your comfort zone.
  3. Hire more diverse talent.
  4. Fund diverse founders.
  5. Fund organizations working towards diversity in entrepreneurship.

There are now 56 ways to list your gender on Facebook. We live in an era in which gender, race, sexuality, and ability are more fluid than ever before. Breaking down these boundaries is exciting and can help us to build a thriving, innovative future for all. Enough talk. Let’s start with our actions and our money. #FundingForAll.

Join our program this fall to learn more about making an impact by investing in women entrepreneurs of all colors.

Invest Outside Your Networks2020-04-02T12:57:24+00:00

Why invest in women?

Originally published by Women 2.0.

After a recent acquisition deal that freed up some of my time for new ventures, I thought a lot about where I want to put my focus and energy next. One idea emerged clear and strong: Invest in Women.

Multiple exposure shot of a young businesswoman superimposed over a city background at night

Why is this meaningful to me and why should it be important to all of us? By investing in women, we can make money, make an impact and create a better future for everyone.

A huge, untapped financial opportunity

The first goal of most investors is to make a financial return. The data shows that diverse teams perform better and yet, less than 10% of venture capital funding goes to companies with women on the founding teams. Even investors who are purely focused on financial gains, such as Kevin O’Leary from SharkTank admit that the data favors companies with female founders. Furthermore, women lead consumer spending and having their perspective on a founding team can be invaluable.

It’s projected that women will control 75% of discretionary spending around the world by 2028. (Boston Consulting Group)

I believe in diversifying our portfolio in the truest sense of the word. It’s time to transcend unconscious bias and build a portfolio that’s consciously inclusive of founders from different genders, races, sexual orientations, backgrounds and more.

Venture-backed, women-led tech firms bring in 12% higher revenue than male-owned tech firms. (Kauffman Foundation)

A lack of diversity in many of today’s high growth companies is creating culture problems that are having an adverse effect on the bottom line. We’ve all heard the stories about Uber, Zenefits, and the list goes on. We can address that proactively by building and investing in companies that focus on diverse, healthy, thriving cultures at all stages.

A chance to make a real impact

Technology is creating tectonic shifts in nearly every industry and the pace of change is accelerating. If we’re going to create a thriving world that’s just and peaceful for all, it’s critical that we have diverse voices at the table defining what we create next and determining our approach. Are we entrusting humanity only to white college men in hoodies? Shouldn’t we have all genders, races and cultures building the future together? Who would want to live in a world in which mothers and grandmothers did not also have a voice?

A woman multiplies the impact of an investment made in her future by extending benefits to the world around her, creating a better life for her family and building a strong community. (USAID)

Diverse teams create better products and user experiences. For instance, here is a recent story about a soap dispenser sensor that doesn’t recognize darker skin tones. Also, when women are not in the room, their needs are often overlooked and mistakes can be made that prove costly and in some cases, fatal. For decades, crash test dummies were only modeled after male bodies and more women were injured and killed in car accidents as a result.

As technology plays a more powerful role in healthcare, and as we add cyber enhancements to humans, what other mistakes will we make if we don’t have diverse perspectives in the innovation sector?

The thesis is simple: by investing in diverse teams now, we stand the best chance of building a prosperous and thriving future for all.

Why invest in women?2020-04-02T12:57:31+00:00

Behind the scenes with angel investor and podcast star, Joanne Wilson

Originally published on Women 2.0 here.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down with Joanne Wilson, one of the most prominent and prolific angel investors in the startup space to discuss how she’s championing women entrepreneurs through her podcast.

W2: What inspired you to start the Positively Gotham Gal podcast?

I have been writing a blog post every week called “Woman Entrepreneur of the week” for the past 6 years. It was time to tell the story of the countless women entrepreneurs out there in a new format.

W2: Why do you feel that it’s an important time to support women entrepreneurs?

The only way that we will see true gender equality is when more women become household names from growing companies that will either get sold, go public or make a difference in how we live our lives. When that happens it gives the next generation of young women the ability to look to role models and say “I can do that because she did” and never once believe that the world isn’t their oyster.

W2: What’s one of the most surprising things you’ve learned while creating the podcast?

I really enjoy chatting with people about their history, their insight, their businesses and more, so it is the perfect medium for me.

W2: As an investor, what’s one thing you’d like female founders to keep in mind when going out for funding?

When someone isn’t paying attention to your pitch and it is obvious that they could care less about your business, then pack your bags and leave the meeting. You want people to invest in you that are as excited about your business as you are. I have heard countless stories of women being treated in ways that are unacceptable and it is up to us to cut off that type of negative behavior and walk out of those meetings…and then of course spread the word. There wouldn’t be investors if there weren’t entrepreneurs. There should be respect on both sides of the table.

W2: What’s next for you and how can our community offer support?

I am always growing and changing. I’d be thrilled for people to tune into my podcast and read my blog. I care about the women entrepreneur community and I hope that the thoughts that I put out there resonate and make a difference.

Joanne Wilson is an Angel Investor, Blogger, Co-Founder of WeFestival and runs Gotham Gal Ventures. Listen to the Positively Gotham Gal podcast on Soundcloud or iTunes. Twitter: @theGothamGal

Behind the scenes with angel investor and podcast star, Joanne Wilson2020-04-02T12:57:38+00:00

What you should know about fundraising for your startup

Originally Published on Women 2.0 here.

On a recent NYC trip, I was delighted to have an opportunity to interview the brilliant and exuberant Meghan Cross from Red Bear Angels. As an active startup investor, she was generous in sharing her perspectives and fundraising tips with the Women 2.0 community.

W2: What was your path to becoming an investor and what inspired you to get involved with Red Bear Angels?

When I graduated from Cornell in 2008, I dove right into technology as a part of Skype’s public relations team. Bringing this Jetsons-like technology into the mainstream was a fascinating experience, but it wasn’t until working on the PR for Foursquare – in the beginning days of the Bloomberg-driven NYC startup boom – that I became completely enamored with early-stage venture. So much so that I joined a then even earlier stage company StyleCaster to help build the company’s marketing team. Through several inflection points many media startups faced during that time, our investors always approached conversations with that keen eye, pattern recognition, and unique perspective one could only obtain from investing as a profession. So once StyleCaster got to a point that it was ripe for acquisition, I decided to transition over to the investing side. While working as a NY-based representative for a large fund out west, I received word that a few Cornell alums were starting an angel group dedicated to harnessing the entrepreneurship of Cornell’s network. I knew I had to jump on the train. With investing and entrepreneurial day jobs of their own, they brought me on as the firm’s manager to kick Red Bear Angels into full gear. Fast forward 18 months, and thanks to the RBA Advisory Board – Deb Kemper, Sam Sezak, Thatcher Bell, Gus Warren, John Alexander, Harvey Kinzelberg, Drew Bagin, & Eric Young – we have invested $5.1M across a wide variety of 20 early-stage ventures founded or led by Cornelians with a group of 500+ members to support this growing network!

W2: How do you find the best startup deals?

It’s too early to determine which of our investments will be the best, as we’ve only been investing for sub-2 years, but our investment activity shows that it is much more common for Red Bear members to take to a company if it came recommended by other founders in our portfolio, our more active investors with deep ties to the Cornell entrepreneurship network, or investors with whom I have worked closely in the past.

W2: What are you looking for in a startup?

Proof of product market fit. There are plenty of great companies built on spec, but I prefer to work with the founders who have deep domain know-how and as a result understand the nuances of the fields they plan to shake up.

W2: What tips do you have for women who are looking to get more involved in the angel or venture investing space?

Build a diligence network and leverage it wisely. There is no better way to analyze a company than by listening to close contacts with relevant domain expertise reveal their candid thoughts, and then synthesize those thoughts into an investment thesis. For instance, any time I look at an investment opportunity in healthcare IT and infrastructure, I discuss it with my friends who are doctors to determine whether it’s a needed problem-solver, a nice to have, or a logistical nightmare to onboard and implement. And any time I’m looking at a new AdTech play, I’ll loop in publishers and Ad Ops specialists to determine how much they would realistically spend on a feature like this. Collecting these data points is key, but the practice of synthesizing these points in an actionable way is what will make you a great investor. I would give the same tip to both female or male investors.

For female investors, in particular, I would simply forget any gender difference, sit in the same posture as other men in the room, speak in the same pitch, and straight up do your job. You too can wear AllBirds and jeans to meetings. Act as if, and the playing field will level itself out. Pick a female mentee while you’re at it, as that’s how we can make sure we’re not evening the ratio purely for the sake of numbers!

W2: What advice do you have for female founders who are seeking funding?

Approach every meeting like a founder; not a female founder. Adjectives can either diffuse nouns or clarify them. “Female founder” fits the former. Instead, use a descriptor to carve out a niche for yourself: A verticalized niche – if backed up by passion and experience – communicates you’re a founder with relevant expertise. “SaaS” “FinTech” or “Ecommerce” founders are far more compelling than “Male Founders,” for instance.

If you’re still looking to use a descriptor as a way to connect with the person across the table, check out a bio for a philanthropic, alma-mater, or athletic-driven interest that you might have in common.

W2: What’s next for you and how can our community offer support?

We are dedicated to building a support network for Cornell entrepreneurs, so any time you happen to meet great Cornell alumni, students or researchers – whether they are founders, investors, or simply experts in their domain –  please send them our way!

Meghan Cross, Red Bear Angels
As Managing Director, Meghan leads the operations and investment team at Red Bear Angels. She joined RBA with a decade of experience growing media & software companies in NY & SF. As an early Director at StyleCaster Inc., Meghan led the digital media conglomerate’s marketing team through the business’ exit to She Knows Media. Prior, Meghan was in PR, helping to build Skype and Foursquare into household names. She draws venture experience from working with Bowery Capital, Foundation Capital, Metamorphic Ventures, and StarVest Partners. She is the founder of Cross Venture Services LLC, a launch advisor to such commerce platforms as Sailo (TechStars ’15), Shareswell, and Thursday Boot Co. Meghan has appeared on CNN’s “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer and NBC’s “The Today Show,” and has contributed to TechCrunch. Meghan received her B.S. in Fiber & Textile Science from Cornell University and M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, where she was also Steve Blank’s TA. She resides in New York City and serves on the junior boards of Lincoln Center and the Facing History Organization.

What you should know about fundraising for your startup2020-04-02T12:57:45+00:00
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