Provide, a SaaS solution for childcare providers won the top prize of $60,000 at University of Chicago’s Social New Venture Challenge Tuesday.
The startup offers childcare providers a web-based platform that helps with tedious paperwork for enrolling in government subsidy programs, managing licensing and credentials, and expense tracking. Their goal is to cut down on childcare providers administrative burden, free up time for educational activities and improve providers’ income (without certain licensing, providers can miss out on an additional $5,200 per year, for example).
Already they’re running a pilot of the platform and have a referral partnership with Accion. Provide will use the funds from their win to build out their minimum viable product, a more automated version of the platform, while working out of the Polsky Center Accelerator this summer.
The startup was founded by four Booth evening students, Chelsea Sprayregen, Hannah Meyer, Rob Seery and Eve Poczatek, as well as Rebecca Karasik, a user experience designer at ThoughtWorks.
The $60,000 top prize was a bit of a surprise. Halfway through the competition, Polsky donor John Edwardson announced the prize money would increase from $50,000 to $100,000.
“The unexpected doubling of the amount was amazing,” said Sprayregan, who previously worked to help family childcare providers enroll in public benefits. “We’re excited to actually deliver this value to childcare providers. We think it will have a meaningful effect on their lives.”
They weren’t the only winners at the Social NVC. Two startups tied for second place, each winning $20,000:
- Flipside, a media startup that presents its users with different political points of view, tailored to the user’s communication style
- JuryCheck, a legal tech startup that helps public defenders combat jury bias with the larger goal of reforming jury selection
Four other startups made the finals: VeteranStay, a homeshare network for veterans; Jetson Benefits, a startup providing benefits packages to gig workers; and GoodWerk, an online platform that converts online engagement to political donations; and Direct Giving Lab, a platform providing direct cash transfers to low-income households.
It’s been a big week for the social impact side of Booth. Tandean Rustandy, a 2007 Booth MBA grad and founder of Jakarta-based ceramic tile manufacturing, just donated $20 million to support social impact startup and innovation at the school, and rename the Booth Social Enterprise Initiative to the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation.