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 NODE.eco and Jamee Herbert of BridgeCare.