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Photo by Richard Bagan on Unsplash

Today, fertility technologies to support modern families are better than ever, but affordability stands in the way of accessibility. Prohibitive out-of-pocket costs and the limited scope of employer-sponsored fertility benefits severely restricts access (and hope) for the millions of individuals and couples who want to have children. While the fertility market is growing, unlocking affordability is the key to transforming and democratizing the space. This opportunity, coupled with my own personal fertility journey, made me hungry to fund a company focused on expanding financial access to fertility care for all people.

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Enter Carrot. Tammy Sun and the team at Carrot believe that every human being should have the ability to preserve or pursue the decision to bring children into their lives. I met with Tammy in 2016 shortly after she left Evernote and inspired to launch Carrot following her own frustrating and expensive experience with fertility preservation. I was so aligned with her vision and impressed by her early execution that I led Carrot’s seed round of financing in August 2017. Today, I’m thrilled to share news of their Series A led by CRV.


Merlin matches hourly talent with vetted employers who are looking to hire.

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Today, I’m excited to share our no-longer-stealth investment in Merlin, the fastest-growing mobile job board for hourly talent. Since I led Uncork Capital’s seed investment in April 2017, Merlin has helped more than half a million candidates and thousands of companies find each other and raised a Series A from Firstmark Capital and General Catalyst.

As a seed investor, I invest all along the traction continuum — from pre-launch through early tests to full-blown momentum. I could say my investment in Merlin was extremely early…. pre-launch, wireframes, product development just getting underway. But in many ways, my investment in Merlin was years in the making, as I had been regularly sharing deals and trading notes with Merlin co-founder Guimar Vaca Sittic since his early days as an investor at FJ Labs. By the time Guimar told me he was shifting from investing to founding, I knew firsthand he was extremely intelligent, no nonsense, data-driven, and a walking encyclopedia of marketplace best practices (by that time, he’d invested in 120 marketplaces and co-founded two more as well). …


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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

On Friday, our portfolio company Wonderschool announced its Series A fundraise… a $20M Series A led by Jeff Jordan at A16Z. It’s big news for a company tackling a huge problem for both families and teachers in an enormous space. But this post isn’t about why early childcare is broken in the US (it is) and how Wonderschool is looking to fix it by enabling educators to run in-home preschools and daycares. The media will cover that. I want to share some details the media won’t tell.

We’ve all heard the tale of the mystical pivot that saves a company. What we don’t hear enough is the pure willpower and series of tough choices founders make to survive through a tremendous pivot in order to thrive. You see, Wonderschool actually started out as Soldsie, a social commerce platforms that allows customers to purchase via commenting. What enables a pivot from a social seller tools to marketplace for preschools to happen? Here’s a quick look at five things that (combined with Chris Bennett and Arrel Gray’s grit and vision as founders) led to this new, exciting…

About

Stephanie Palmeri

tech junkie. travel addict. food fanatic. music lover. yoga poser. venture capitalist @UncorkCap. displaced NYC gal. loving life in SF. [opinions are my own]

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