Modern workers, especially Gen Zers, are demanding accommodations from their employers for their physical and mental health – from extra time on tasks, to more flexibility, to meeting their needs given disabilities and neurodiversity. Some employers have responded through initiatives such as mental health days, four-day workweeks, and psychotherapy benefits.
But often this isn’t enough, and companies are struggling with how to get the most out of their employees. While 30% of the existing workforce meets the federal definition of having a disability, only 3 to 5% disclose this to their employers. Also, an astonishing 91% of workers believe company culture should support mental health. Yet according to a Harvard Business Review study, 68% of Millennials and 81% of Gen Zers have left jobs for mental health reasons. This means a large portion of the existing workforce is not as productive or successful as they could be.
Today, Inclusively, a workforce inclusion platform, announces that it has closed a $13 million Series A round to fund a new workplace personalization product, Retain. The round was led by Firework Ventures, with participation from existing investors, including Benson Capital – the venture arm of Gayle Benson, owner of the Saints and Pelicans. These NFL and NBA franchises have engaged approximately 10% of their full-time employees with Inclusively since the beginning of the partnership.
“Inclusively started as an employment platform for people with disabilities, and we are excited about their ability to continuously innovate and respond to the changing workforce, expanding their product offering to help aid companies address the individual needs of all their employees,” Benson said in an exclusive interview with me. “Increasing our investment at the Series A was an easy decision.”
“I was very intentional in this fundraise about finding mission-aligned investors who also saw the magnitude of the financial opportunity we were solving in such an underinvested in space,” said Charlotte Dales, the CEO and cofounder of Inclusively, in an exclusive interview with me. “I had built a relationship with Firework for over a year, and the time I invested resulted in them pre-empting my round. Only 15% of founders are women, yet Firework boasts over 60% of its portfolio with female founders. As someone who has done a lot of fundraising over the past 10 years, I finally saw firsthand how important it is to find people who understand your market potential and your mission, and then patiently build a meaningful relationship with them. It will pay off far larger sums in the long run.”