For seeing the huge potential in a category -- granola -- that seemed to be played out
The Urban Grape
For advocating for a more progressive, inclusive, and accessible wine industry
The Urban Grape, in Boston’s South End, set out to be more than just another wine store. “Our mantra is really to build community through wine,” says Hadley Douglas, who quit her job to start the business in 2010 with her husband, TJ, a restaurant-industry veteran and one of the few Black people in Boston’s wine scene. While wine stores usually arrange bottles by region or varietal, The Urban Grape uses a less-intimidating “progressive shelving,” which places red and white wines on a scale from one to 10, representing light- to full-bodied wines.
The business has grown steadily for a decade, reached $4 million in sales, and has never had a down year, according to Douglas. The Urban Grape got a headstart on e-commerce last year, creating an online shop from scratch with a built-in customer service function. This personalized approach has helped maintain customer loyalty during the pandemic, Douglas says--and allowed the store to keep its sales in-house instead of paying for a service like Drizly. The Urban Grape has successfully moved its wine-tasting events business online, too, says Douglas. And when the store was vandalized in June during Black Lives Matter protests, the Douglases used the attention to raise money for a new fund that launched this fall: a wine-studies award and internship program to help students of color break into the industry. – Sophie Downes
For being a leader in high-performance government contracting
Twenty One Toys
For showing that play is the route to emotional intelligence -- yes, even for adults
For building a job-search platform that empowers nurses
With Incredible Health, Iman Abuzeid has created the fastest-growing career marketplace for health care workers. And she's done it by empowering nurses, who are right up there on the pedestal with Mom and apple pie--and too often have about as much negotiating power.
Abuzeid was well-positioned to see exactly what was wrong with the employment market for nurses. As an MD, and then as a management consultant working in hospital operations and strategy, Abuzeid understood the impact of the nursing shortage. In her personal life, many of her family and friends are doctors, and would complain about understaffing. Yet her co-founder's sisters are both nurses--and would often lament that although they are experienced and qualified, it would take them months to find new jobs.
Abuzeid raised $17 million to build a platform that lets employers apply to nurses, rather than the other way around. Nurses create a profile, and then sit back and decide whether to accept interview requests. Incredible Health automatically vets and screens nurses, helping to match them to specific employers. On average, this cuts the time it takes to find a new job by two-thirds, and the jobs are often better: They come with a 17 percent increase in salary, on average, and a 15 percent decrease in commuting time. Incredible Health works with more than 200 hospitals nationwide, including academic medical centers such as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Stanford Health Care. There are more than 150,000 nurses on the platform--a number that is growing by 15 percent each month.
Abuzeid knows the financing strategy she's chosen--venture capital from traditional firms, such as Andreessen Horowitz, which led her most recent round--requires such unusual growth. She's good with that, she says, because the growth and the money match her business strategy and her ambitions. Says Abuzeid: "We want to be the one platform and the one company out there that's giving nurses the best experience." –Teneshia Carr