Parents Are the Future of Work

We raised $10.5M from Greylock Partners to continue supporting modern families to succeed at work and home

At Cleo we’re on a mission to help women and men through one of life’s toughest journeys: becoming a parent, then being a new parent, then finding success as a working parent. The Cleo app and network of experts helps parents be successful at both work and home as they go through this journey.

Today, we are announcing that we raised $10.5M in Series A funding from Greylock Partners, along with our existing investors, Forerunner Ventures and Felicis Ventures, and Sarah Guo from Greylock has joined our board. (Fun fact: Sarah gave us a term sheet when she was 7 months pregnant! Read more about her investment in Cleo here.)

Left to right: Sarah Guo, Greylock Partners, Shannon Spanhake, CEO, Dr. Chitra Akileswaran, Chief Medical Officer. Check out that cute baby bump on Sarah!

With this new funding, we look forward to supporting an ever-growing group of companies who see that supporting parents is a great business move — impacting employee recruiting, experience, productivity, retention, and health — as well as the right thing to do.

We are excited to see accelerating traction — recently Box, Cooley, Pinterest, Slack, Reddit, BPM and dozens more have joined the ranks of our early adopters.

Lastly, in addition to the new customers, new funding, and our new board member, we are also launching a new name. We have changed our name from Lucy to Cleo. As Cleo, we’ll continue our mission to empower all working parents to grow their families and their careers.

Families are different today

At Cleo, we work with thousands of parents across 35 countries, at companies in tech, legal, finance, retail, and consulting — and many of them don’t resemble the family in this photograph:

We see three trends with families that use Cleo:

  1. Most households are dual income, meaning both parents work.
  2. Most don’t live near their extended families, so it is much more challenging to find extra support for help at home and with their children.
  3. Families are diverse and babies are welcomed into families through birth, adoption, and surrogacy to same-sex parents and single parents, as well as moms and dads. (I am adopted and there are many families like mine.)

While family dynamics have changed, support structures have not kept pace and working parents are often left with only difficult choices between work and home.

Working Parents are The Future of Work

Today, moms are the fastest growing segment of the US labor force. Fathers are spending over 2x more hours on childcare and housework, while mothers are spending nearly 3x more hours at work, according to the Pew Research Center.

We work with some of the most innovative companies, of all sizes and in all sectors. These companies know that if they want to attract and retain top talent it’s not a “perk” to support new parents, it’s a necessity.

It Takes Village to a Raise a Child…and Succeed Professionally

It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child successfully as new parents. To raise a child today as working parents, we believe it takes a village that is enabled with intelligent technology that guides families through a time of rapid change in a personalized and responsive way.

The Cleo platform pairs an app with a network of experts who become a family’s personal care team, their village, guiding them from considering to conception, and then from bump to baby, and back to work.

Our experts can help parents navigate challenges like, “What are my options for sleep training the baby, so that us parents can get sleep too?”, “How do I pump at work?”, ‘How should I talk to my manager about my transition back to work?”, and “I am an LGBTQ parent. How do I prepare for the baby?”

Cleo helps parents with problems along the way, from the small everyday questions to the ones that feel insurmountable. Danielle Wheeler, a corporate attorney at the law firm Cooley and new mom, told us:

“Cleo was such asset to us in those crucial first months after our son was born. As we struggled through life as first time parents, the Cleo team was always there to answer our questions, no matter how small — from lactation questions to sleep struggles to even just that reassurance-seeking ‘Am I doing this right?’”

Greg Taylor, an Engineering Manager at Reddit and first time dad, shared his first-hand experience as a working dad going through this journey:

“We were 2,500 miles away from the rest of our family when Alex was born. To makes things even more interesting, he came to us five weeks premature. It was invaluable to have Cleo’s support and advice as we stumbled through early parenthood far from home. Many thanks to Reddit for investing in our well-being!”

And another Cleo family, where the mom, Anne Marie Farrell, leads the Small Business Marketing team at Google, and the dad, Joe, was an engineer at Reddit, said:

“Without a doubt, Cleo helped us return to work after our parental leave feeling confident in our roles as new parents.”

Cleo supported them with sleep training, positive disciplining, and infant CPR. Anne Marie was able to have peace of mind at home so she could focus on work. She told us:

“None of these support structures were available through the hospital or our healthcare plans.”

Our Impact

Cleo helps CEOs, COOs, and HR leaders build inclusive workplaces that impact employee experience, recruiting, productivity, retention, and health (and therefore cost).

93% of Cleo moms return to work. I am proud of this success because without Cleo only 57% of highly qualified women with children stay in the workforce.

Working parents are being forced to make hard choices, we know that nearly 80% of working parents consider not returning to their company after having their first child and half of new parents say they’d take a job for less money at a family-friendly employer.

In the ongoing war for talent, employers are realizing they must invest in parents to recruit and retain them. Losing a highly skilled employee costs the employer more than 2x the annual compensation, according to the Center for American Progress.

For self-insured employers, pregnancy-related health claims can break the bank. In 2014 AOL famously spent millions of dollars on two premature births and in many companies pregnancy-related health expenses are in their top 3 health spends. Investing in healthier pregnancies, births, and newborns can significantly improve outcomes and reduce medical cost.

Cleo also provides support for managers and execs to be sensitive and manage biases they may have against parents. Often parents are left out of the diversity and inclusion conversation and today we’re seeing lawsuits against employers by working parents on the rise. In the past decade, the number of caregiver-discrimination lawsuits has tripled, according to the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, San Francisco.

Lisa DiGisi, Benefits & Wellness Specialist from the accounting firm BPM said,

“Cleo is the missing piece that our new parents need and want, something that employers aren’t well positioned to create. At BPM, the biggest endorsement of Cleo comes from our employees who recommend Cleo to each other. They have helped our parents feel more confident in asking for what they need when they return, creating a culture of sensitivity to working parents.”

Myself and the Cleo team is excited for you to join us on our mission to reimagine support for one of life’s toughest journeys!

Sincerely,
Shannon
CEO & Founder of Cleo


If you are an employer and want to offer Cleo, contact: jenny@hicleo.com
If you are a parent and would like Cleo at your company, contact: jenny@hicleo.com
If you’d like to join the Cleo team, contact: info@hicleo.com