Silicon Valley’s favorite next-gen email organizer has moved from buzz to reality.
Front has been a buzzy company for years now. Silicon Valley’s favorite next-generation version of email, the San Francisco-based startup pulls all your favorite messaging systems into a single inbox. The past year has seen co-founder and CEO Mathilde Collin finally turn that buzz into tangible growth. Her startup’s Series B round of $66 million (total funding now: almost $80 million) let Front make its first acquisition last October, a calendar-scheduling platform called Meetingbird. “We raised way more money than we needed,” Collin says. “We were actually not looking to acquire a company. But this company built on top of Front to make it available to our users.” Three months later, Front completely redesigned, repriced, and relaunched its app from scratch, leading to a boost in paying customers: 5,200 companies now, up from 4,500 at the beginning of the year. Front has also opened a new Paris office--a foreshadowing of Collin’s plans for international expansion, and a comfort zone for the native Parisian. --Cameron Albert-Deitch
Builds modern software for child welfare agencies.
Pandemic regulations have made it just about impossible for social workers to conduct child welfare home visits, and conventional reliance on paper files and outdated technology have made remote agency work that much harder. As a mobile, cloud-based solution, Binti has enabled social workers to transition to safe, effective remote work to ensure that more children find caring, permanent homes. Since its launch, Binti has scaled to serve over 120 agencies across 19 states and has enabled over 30,000 families to be approved to adopt or foster. On average, agencies using Binti approve 80 percent more families per year in 16 percent fewer days.
Non-violent offenders under community supervision can use her app to keep track of court dates and stay out of jail.
After a career in startups and the music industry—one job was helping Prince secure his digital rights—Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins saw a loved one go through a complex and harrowing experience after missing a court date. He had bounty-hunters after him mainly because he didn’t know who to call to reschedule his appearance. Ellis-Lamkins teamed up with longtime lawyer Diana Frappier to remedy a flawed system that saw nonviolent offenders pay fines and await trial behind bars because they couldn’t afford bail or a lawyer. They called it Promise; its pitch was to take over parts of the local criminal-justice apparatus and provide individuals with an app and automated check-in process that keeps track of court dates and paperwork. Before even graduating from startup incubator Y Combinator in 2018, this audacious little company had raised $3 million in funding from the likes of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and First Round Capital. Recently it has been working with Alameda County in California, as well as localities in Kentucky and North Dakota, and appearance rates--essentially, showing up when you’re supposed to in court--have increased by nearly 25 percent. “The system is fundamentally broken based on race and class,” Ellis-Lamkins says. She’s aiming to even the field, and help fix a system that penalizes those without means. --Christine Lagorio-Chafkin
Teach-Now Graduate School of Education
Dr. Emily Feistritzer
She’s making it easier to be a better teacher.
Emily Feistritzer, a 78-year-old former nun, learned as far back as the 1970s that she didn’t like traditional teaching methods, like talking at students as if she were the expert, and organizing learning around planned lessons. A more collaborative approach, she came to believe, was far better. She founded two education foundations that sought to conduct and distribute the most up-to-date research in the field, and, in 2011, she founded Teach-Now, which trains and certifies teachers online. “We focus on preparing tomorrow's teachers for tomorrow's learning world,” she says. “so that the program will never be old.” This year the Washington, D.C.-based Teach-Now started offering master's certifications targeted at programs that are growing quickly, such as early childhood, multilingual, and special needs education. Since its founding, Teach-Now has enrolled 4,000 aspiring teachers in 125 countries. “I owe everything to my mother,” says Feistritzer. But of course she does: “She was a teacher.” --Anna Meyer
Her health-technology platform puts mothers first.
“When I was younger, I swore that I was never going to work in this field,” says Melissa Hanna. “I didn’t want to work in my mother’s shadow.” That’s understandable: Linda Hanna pioneered the world-class maternity programs at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente. But once there was an opportunity to “digitize her work,” says Hanna, they knew they could fundamentally change the structure of health care in this country. Mahmee, recently backed by Mark Cuban and Serena Williams, describes itself as a "data-driven maternal and infant health tech company”; it pulls a mother and her baby’s health records together so the burden isn’t on them to keep physicians on the same page about their care. Families get a personalized dashboard, and physicians can identify critical-care issues like post-partum depression sooner. Says Hanna: “We become that trusted resource where moms can let us know what’s going on.” --Jill Krasny