Julie Wroblewski — Magnify Ventures

Posted on Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Julie’s new fund, Magnify, is writing $1.5M – $2.5M checks into companies that will transform life, work and care for modern families.
 
Julie talks about very relatable themes like the relentlessness of modern parenting and household optimization.

View Transcript

Today I am with Julie Wrowblewski. Julie is the co-founder and managing partner at Magnify Ventures. Magnify is an early-stage fund investing in the transformation of how modern families live, work, and play.

Prior to Magnify, Julie worked with Melinda French Gates to set up and run Pivotal Ventures, and she was five years at the Gates Foundation before that. Hi, Julie.

Hi, Minnie. Thanks for having me. 

Yeah, well, am excited to jump in. You were at Pivotal Ventures, which is Melinda French Gates’s office. When you develop the thesis for Magnify. So what were you doing at pivotal and how did that lead to Magnify?

Yeah. Yeah. I had the dream job, a great opportunity to launch and lead venture capital investing strategy at Pivotal Ventures for about five years. I was investing in funds, as part of our strategy as well as its companies and building partnerships. And, I was helping to launch and build a new body of work around caregiving innovation and American family homes. I started to see what I thought was a very exciting and still overlooked category of investment in venture capital around the care economy, and family-focused technology and was also seeing a lot of flow and founders. 

What all does caregiving entail?

Yeah. I mean, you know, the care economy as a whole really encompasses all the money that we put into caring for other people from the moment they’re born to the end of their life.   

Uh, the holding company, which is a partner of ours and pivotal recently released a report that we advised on, that sized the care economy that I just described at 648 billion in the United States, which is larger than the pharmaceutical market in the United States.

So really big, and growing area of market opportunity. 

What’s interesting is more of that childcare or is it elder care or anything in between.

Yeah, well, the care economy report really looked at a few of the largest areas, including infant and child care aging in place. the non-home long-term care market and then household management. Really cooking, cleaning, laundry, and all the aspects of managing, the home.

Well, let me just pick on a bunch of those. I have questions about all of them. First question. Parenting getting harder or is that just me, Julie? Is that just me? Because I have three little kids at home.

 No, I don’t think it’s you. I think that the data and the research show this. I mean, The term that was coined several years ago is “the relentlessness of modern parenting”. People are having fewer children, but they’re spending more money and more time on them when they do, even though they’re working more, women in particular have increased their participation in the workforce. And at the same time have increased the amount of time that they’re spending caring for children and managing.

Responsibilities in the home.

So I think it is, has gotten harder, especially for women. Um, but the good news is hopefully we’re investing in some technology and innovation that’ll help to address some of those challenges and the burden that parents are facing. 

Can I just ask more about. Personal, uh, subject of interest. Why are we mothers investing more time and more money in our children? Like, could we invest less?

Yeah, it’s a good question. Well, unfortunately, I mean, I think historically in the United States and around the world, unpaid caregiving work has often fallen onto the shoulders of women and we really have. Valued that work, um, as a society and, as the economy, as a whole, um, and women’s, you know, end up having to take on the majority of that responsibility.

So I think, you know, why is that the case? I mean, I think that’s just historically been seen as. You know, women’s work and there’s cultural and social norms that, um, expect women to do that sort of work. I do think that, there are tools and solutions and, you know, we’re increasingly seeing, everyone step up and, really look at this as a problem and ask why is this the case and why hasn’t this changed even though, you know, it’s 20, 21 and we’ve evolved in so many other ways as a society. 

And what are some of the tools that you’ve seen as effective for parents? 

What are some of the tools you’ve seen effective for parents?

so we are particularly interested in tools that empower and equip parents with content and expertise, including at the really early stages of parenting. we’re investors in a great company called seven Starlin, which is a digital health platform that supports expecting and new mothers. Both as they prepare for childbirth, but then even beyond, um, through membership-based cohort, support and access to experts.

So seven Sterling is a great example. I think we’re also increasingly seeing solutions in specific areas like sleep, for example. Um, there’s a great startup. We’re not in an investor, but, uh, I know the founder called huckleberry, which is really helping to, bring the best in sleep. And expertise to parents.

So I think we’re seeing like very specific solutions there. and then, you know, more broadly we invest in a category that we called household optimization, which is all about tools and technologies that make households more efficient and joyful. And we’re investors in a great company called Milo led by.

I mean, Patel Thompson, that’s really taking all of the work of coordination and planning and managing a household and putting it into a tool that helps to distribute that work across, parents and families, and also injects joy. The process of planning, whether that’s meal planning or activities or managing the work of the home.

So there’s just a couple of examples of things we’re seeing both on specific tools and then, you know, things that are really bringing joy into households. 

Do I have to become an expert? Like you said, you were investing in tools that help parents become, of their expertise. Do I have to increase my expertise? Like it’s cause that sounds to me, like I have to invest more time.

Yeah, no, I mean, I think this is the great role of technology, you know, really in being able to bring that expertise and knowledge to you. But, in a way that helps to, uh, you know, fit your preferences and needs as a parent and help you find and access that information, you know, more efficiently and at particular times, right?

Like what you need to know when you’re planning, to, uh, first engage in your parenting journey and give childbirth is very different than when you’re sending your product to elementary school and maybe, yeah. Figuring out how to introduce, um, cell phones and other sort of technology engagement into their lives.

Right? So I don’t think you have to become an expert. I think hopefully we’re going to see more tools and technologies that will help to bring you the expertise and content that you need at your particular stage of parenting. 

Hmm, anything else I should be doing to optimize my household? That’s another one I could use help with.

Yeah. I mean, I think look up, it’s still in beta stage and early in growing. also a very big fans of a wonderful author named Eve Rodsky, who has a great book. That’s all about building relationships. In your house and redistributing that work of household labor, the book is called fair play.

so that’s a great resource as well as you’re, you know, working with your partner or family, whatever that structure looks like and really figuring out how to be, um, share the work across the homes with just doesn’t fall on, one, person and, and, uh, really, really great, great book and set of resources there too. 

 Great. I will take the tip. What do you think is the right role for employers in supporting caregiving? It seems like the younger generation is expecting more to be provided by their employer. 

great. 

Okay. 

the role of employers being in supporting caregiving? And also just, it feels like employers are, I think the younger generation is demanding that employers step up more and more in different ways. How do you think that plays out? And what, what do you think is the ideal relationship?

Yeah. I mean, I think I think unfortunately the, you know, the pandemic put a bright spotlight on the challenges that working caregivers are facing in this country and the costs that are faced by individuals and families, employers, and the economy as a whole. So I think as a result, we’re starting to see more employers step up and invest in new solutions and really.

Recognize the need and the opportunity for them. both in addressing the productivity, loss, uh, talent loss, um, and health and wellbeing across their workforces. So that for employers, it’s becoming not just a perk, but really. Central benefit to think about how do you support, caregiving? We just ran a partnership with EHR, which was the employee health innovation round table, which is a large membership based coalition of employers from Delta to apple, to Disney.

And we brought some of the great companies that we’re seeing across the family caregiving space, into them to present and share solutions. So, fortunately, I think we’re at a moment where employers are recognizing the cost and the need, and there’s a growing marketplace of solutions, that are serving the employer landscape. 

it’s interesting how employers are, being asked to do more and more. in terms of overall employee health and wellbeing, I would say.

Yeah, I mean, I think that, uh, this is a shift that we’re seeing and how people view work and the relationship that they want to have with work. I think this was happening long before the pandemic, but the lines between home and work are increasingly blurred. and people are. Really wanting to show up at work and, you know, be their full selves and be accepted and supported as that.

And I think, you know, that is true for working parents and caregivers who really want to work in, places where. Um, you know, the needs and challenges that they’re experiencing at home is something that they can balance manage in the workplace. So it’s becoming not only, you know, something that’s a nice to have, but I think a really important differentiator, especially as in the war for talent, um, as people are looking to attract and keep talented, uh, workers. 

what are some of the other macro trends that you’re looking at and maybe specifically with regard to. Student population.

Yeah, no, I’m glad you asked. Cause aging innovation is a big area of focus for us. I mean, from like a macro trend perspective, you know, the United way. population.

is aging. I think 11,000 Americans turn 65 a day. by 2034, there will be more older adults in this country than children. So we’re really in this very epic, uh, shift and growing aging population in the United States.

And at the same time, like coming with that, Older adults are powerful and overlooked consumers   in the marketplace themselves. I think they’re going to continue to be a force on the consumer side. And with that growing aging population is a huge need for new forms of care, in this country more and more.

Older adults are aging in place at home.  and with that’s going to require new technologies and services to help them do so safely and to maintain independence and, wellbeing. So a lot of, um, opportunity in the aging space. I think one thing, many that we’re really. Interested in, healthcare in particular and how the shift to value based care in this country is opening up the need for new technology and models to improve health outcomes for older adults, including related to isolation and loneliness and things that we’ve seen, really of course worsen during the pandemic.

So that’s, that’s one area we’re thinking a lot about.   

Interesting. I hadn’t actually realized it makes sense, but I hadn’t realized that more aging adults are aging in place. As you say.

Oh, yeah, a huge trend. I mean, that of course, you know, started well before the pandemic as well, but, there’s really this longterm growing trend for people to want to stay in their homes longer as they age, as opposed to going into, a care facility. You know, that’s leading to just the growth of the aging in place market, which, uh, about 151 billion right now.

And just projected to continue to grow as people’s preferences change. And they want to stay at home longer. 

Hmm, has anything in our society like attitude wise changed with regard to aging and sort of the dignity of aging.

Yeah, I think that’s starting to change. I hope it changes, um, myself. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of ageism in our society. I think we’ve seen that through the pandemic. Um, of course, like, you know, as we’ve seen older adults and the vulnerable population, and how their needs have really been, um, neglected during.

So I hope we’re seeing a shift toward, aging, really being seen as a time where you can continue to live in independent and happy life, um, in this country. And, uh, I think that we’re going to see new products, services, and platforms that really enable that in the future. So I’m hopeful, but I think that, um, you know, we’re still at the beginning, I think of the transformation of aging.

in this country and really around the world. 

So tell me a little bit more shifting from trends to more about magnify. Tell me what your investing in sort of what size checks and also, you know, how you’re seeing technology relate to these trends. We’ve been talking about.

Yeah. Yeah. So we invest primarily at the seed and series a stages. we also have a small bucket for pre seed investments. We recognize that. Category around technology and the care economy and family tech really in early stages. And so we want to, um, invest in some pre-seed really early founders who have big ideas to transform markets and industries.

But the bulk of our focus is at the seed and series a stage at the seed stage. We’ll write, an average of around $1.5 million checks at the series, a stage, you know, larger. uh, you know, average between around $2.5 million, so early stage for sure. uh, your second question, many around how we’re seeing some of these trends show up.

You know, we have,  six companies in our portfolio so far that are really demonstrating. Opportunity that, you know, we’re seeing in the care economy, I’ll mention just maybe two of them. As, as examples. The first is a company called Papa, which we, are proud to be partnered with. Papa provides non-medical care and clinical support for older adults who are aging in place.

So everything we were just talking about, they started by. Bringing, nonmedical, support primarily, you know, gig workers, college students, and then increasingly, um, working parents and others into the home to provide help with, transportation, grocery shopping, or just companionship and partnership with health plans and through the pandemic, they launched a, health care center.

Specifically targeted to older adults, health, uh, they recently earlier this year raised a $60 million round led by tiger, global and are now a serious seed company. Um, and really the leader in aging innovation in the United States. So we’re proud to be partnered with, them. Also on the healthcare side, we’re invested in, Nisa lewd, which is the first tele-health solution or the Hispanic population in the United States.

really looking to address, challenges and barriers that Spanish speaking families in the United States face in accessing, healthcare services and support. So we’re really excited about that and that fits in our family health and wellness, focus at night. 

They both sound great. What I was also wondering is how do you see technology integrating more deeply with our lives and becoming very personal into our home life? 

Yeah, it’s a good question. I mean, I think the technology is moving closer into our lives all the time and solving increasingly human complex, difficult problems, including, how we care for and manage. care for children and our loved ones–the things that are most personal to us.

Um, so I think that’s a trend that’s going to continue. And in the next 10 years, we’re going to see technology move into the home in new ways, you know, I think one of the things, my partner, Joanna and I talk about a lot is the fact that. We’ve seen such a wave of technology innovation in the workplace.

You know, we now use so many different tools to help increase our productivity at work, to improve our health and wellbeing in some cases in the workplace. And I think we haven’t yet seen the same sort of investment in innovation. Move into. Some areas of family life and household management. And so I think that that’s going to change.

and, and we want to invest in companies that are really pioneering new solutions in that space. 

Oh, Julie. I’m so ready for household optimization. I’m over. Ready. 

 Me too. 

So, okay. tell me a little bit, you had invested in funds,  let’s move backwards and talk a little bit more about pivotal because you’ve been exposed to a lot of fun. So I’m curious when you were thinking of spinning up magnify, how you thought about what are the best practices of setting up a fund, how you and Joanna came together to get this guy?

Yeah, definitely. you know, I had the great opportunity at pivotal of investing both in some leading established funds, as well as, emerging breakout managers and. first and foremost, you know, having sat in an LP position, I think I had a great appreciation for just like the importance of building a strong partnership and, you know, it really is a marriage.

And so, uh, Joanna and I, when we, you know, considered partnering, we spent nine months to a year just really planning and strategizing and going through deals. You know, I’m coming to magnify with, You know, thesis background, a domain focused network and set of experiences. And Joanne on the other hand is an operator she had, started and operated, multiple successful tech media companies in the nineties and then became a generalist investor.

So we had different backgrounds.  you know, really wanted to spend a lot of time thinking about. our partnership from the beginning and, beyond that, um, how we wanted to work with founders, I think Joanna and or both, investors who are hands-on. We like to spend a lot of time working directly with our companies.

And as a result, you know, we have a relatively concentrated portfolio, um, because we really wanted to be able to put in the time and bring our expertise and knowledge. To the companies that we were working with. um, and then the last thing I’ll say, you know, that really came from my. experience, at, pivotal that has kind of brought into magnifies.

We have a strong focus on partnerships and, really developing partnerships in the areas where we’re investing, whether that’s an aging or parenting. Specific markets, or areas like healthcare to add value to our portfolio companies. So I think as a new, early stage seed stage fund, you know, we’re never going to compete on certain sorts of, portfolio support with large firms who can comment.

Yeah. You know, hire your whole team or provide, you know, very specific areas of operating support. But as a thesis, thematic driven investor, we can show up with differentiated expertise and partnerships that are going to help companies in scale at the early stage. So those are a couple of things.

So would those partners be potentially customers of your startups? Like just advice for funds like mine that might be thinking, oh, is a partnership and interesting strategy for me. What do you, what do you recommend?

Yeah. I mean, you know, I think for us given that more thesis driven, then, you know, we’re really looking to partner with, thought leaders or, employer groups or healthcare groups that are going to help our companies grow and expand in particular areas. So whether that’s, isolation and loneliness and aging or, innovation in, maternal care support, So to answer your question.

Yeah. Sometimes that’s partnerships. I mentioned our partnership with the employee health innovation round table, and that’s a membership based coalition of employers who could certainly be, um, clients and customers of the startups that we’re investing in. But we’re also partners with groups like the holding company, which is a design lab inside of IDEO that focuses on the future of care, for families and the care economy.

And they provide design expertise and support as well as just a tremendous amount of, research and knowledge on design related to the characters. Space. in some cases, their customers, and then in, in other cases, they’re, um, service providers or thought leaders who can really help our founders, um, develop their ideas and attract customers, over time. 

 let me stick with pivotal a little bit, because think. People who are interested in knowing, you 

know, who does pivotal invest in when you were 

looking at funds? What sort of funds did you invest 

Okay. 

and, you know, what is pivotal doing today?

Great question. Um, yeah. So when, when I was at pivotal, we were a part of the strategy is we were investing in women, led venture capital funds. That really represented part of the future force in venture capital, whether that was emerging manager funds, and maybe you were on fund one or two, or, funds who are, you know, more established and farther along.

and then we were also, developing, um, specific investment strategies on the venture side that worked a lot. Aside on Pivotal’s grant making and policy related portfolio.

So, um, a big, focus, uh, at pebble has been around caregiving innovation and American family homes. And so, pivotal continues to be a partner, uh, for my, fund and you know, part of that. Um, yeah, sorry, Minnie. I just remembered, I’m not supposed to mention that piece. So we’re going to have to edit that up. 

Sure. No worries.

Can you ask me the question again? I’m so sorry. 

no. Let me ask, I think you, you got Mo uh, me as a different question, but I’m not sure what 

it 

Yeah.   

do you have advice for managers from what you’ve seen, seeing across many different funds, things that you were sitting on magnify, you said I really want to take that or things that you thought pitfalls maybe to avoid.

I think that, first of all, especially if you are a seed stage new fund in this market, that is incredibly competitive. I think when you can show up at the table with the founder huh. unique perspective and value add. you’re not just going to give them a check, but you have a very clear idea about, what you’re going to add.

That’s differentiated from the other investors around the table and why, you know, they should give you put you on their cap table and bring you along in that journey. Really being clear about what are you offering and bringing to them sort of beyond the check.  even if you’re a generalist investor, you know, if your thesis driven investor like us, that, you know, suggests particular types of things, um, but  really being clear about, you know, why are you the best partner for, this company?

So that’s one thing. I think second thing, LP to say it all the time, but investing in, you know, your back office and really thinking early on in the development of your fund, around how you professionalize and invest either in, you know, systems or people who are really gonna help. Scale with fund over time.

  I think that’s something that oftentimes you see Benz who are really focused because, you know, raising that first fund is so difficult, right. Just like getting that done. But I think thinking not only about that first fund, but really building a firm, that’s going to be able to scale over time and investing in the, systems, people and tools that are going to help you do that.

one thing that was really important, for us as we get started and for other firms, as well as to really build a brand, I think venture capital has grown so much in the last decade, let alone the last, two years that, you know, stepping out.

Building a brand for your firm. Um, and for yourself personally is just more important than it ever has been because founders have, you know, increasing choices around who they want to go to for a check. Um, and So, really investing in that early on, and over time I think is, is really important.

So, um, I want to ask about the second one build investing in your back office.   Cause how do I make that more? I hear you say that, but I don’t actually know what it means. Exactly. Which is, you know, is that thinking about my reserve strategy? Is that thinking about how I send out my quarterly reports? What, pieces of it do people not get?

Right? I guess.

Yeah, no, I think, it’s all of those things for us, we the choice at the beginning to bring on a part-time CFO, than. Outsourcing everything to a service provider. and you know, that comes with choices of prioritizing that investment versus investing in other things. finding the partners both on legal and on, um, you know, financial systems, whether that’s, you know, hiring or finding a part time CFO, if you’re lucky to do that, or making sure that you select service providers who are going to be able to really.

Professionalize, both your financial reporting to your LPs, but also the management of your fund model and your portfolio construction strategy and your capital calls and everything like that.   upfront. So I don’t think it’s, you know, one particular thing it’s really figuring out how you’re going to build systems that are going to be able to scale with you over time.

And then. Professionalize you and allow you to show up in the market, in a way that really says that you’re going to be there for a long time and that you’re going to scale, as the fund grows,

Um, and how do you enjoy Hannah? about the work and your investments. Do you both have to agree on an investment decision? and also just who, what do you like, what does she like?

Yeah, that’s, that’s always such an interesting question in a two person partnership. Um, so we won’t do a deal if you know what person is putting their hands on the table, doesn’t want to do the deal. And so far in all the deals that the six deals that we’ve done, we have both come around to wanting to make the investment.

I think for us, um, in addition to actually making the investment, we wanted to develop a system to really track questions, reservations, hesitations, over time. So if one partner really wants to do the deal on the other one, maybe has a couple of questions. We actually have a system to say, okay, what are these outstanding issues?

Can we address them in diligence? Like, can we get to a point where you’re comfortable? And if we get through the diligence process and there’s still questions, we actually track those over time as part of our investment nominal process. So that when we come around to do a follow on investment, We go back and look like, how did these things play out?

How did we manage your questions and reservations over time? So that’s kind of our decision making process, which we’ve tried to take a little bit beyond just the initial investment, but like?

carry that through, into our follow on process as well. and then yeah, in terms of, you know, what we like, uh, as I mentioned, you know, I’m very much a domain and thesis driven investor and Germanic comes from more a generalist background.

Um, so it’s great. We have complimentary. Uh, kind of ways of viewing the world. Um, you know, I’m really thinking a lot about. uh, founder of fit with the market opportunity and does this particular investment match with our thesis and where we think the winds are going. And the market opportunities exists in areas like aging and parenting.

and Joanna given her operational background is often. Really digging into, um, the operating plan. how the team plans to grow over time and taking a little bit more of a generalist venture capital approach to investing. So that pairing in complimentarity works really well for us. 

Julie, how did you become sort of how I would characterize you as mission driven?  Have you always been someone who cared? Why, why is this a passion of yours?

You know, everybody in my family is, does some sort of like service and volunteer work, I guess that is kind of, uh, how, we were, brought up from the beginning. My, the majority of my family is first responders or works in healthcare. So I guess maybe that had, Something to do with, you know, from a young age, I was like, oh, what you should, what you do should have meaning and should be contributing in some way.

Um, so yeah, I guess, I guess maybe that comes from, um, the volunteerism, um, in my family, actually in, in high school, I was telling this to Joanna recently. I said to my dad, you know, I want to figure out what I want to do in my career. I’m not quite sure. Maybe I want to go. And my brother was going to medical school at the time.

My dad was like, well, you should volunteer for the ambulance. You know? And so I had a little pager on my pants that I wore in my senior year of high school. And when, when it went off, I went to the ambulance and I worked on the ambulance service actually kept doing that, um, through the beginning of college.

And yeah, just, I was, uh, was motivated by work that, um, you know, helped to. Give back to others and hopefully, you know, improve the community around.

And so like, when you think about for yourself success and you know, where you want to be, know, do you think of it with that giving back to others service mentality? Like how do you life?

Yeah, that’s such a deep question. Many. I love it. yeah, I think that. I want to be investing in people, ideas and things that improve quality of life for everyone.  Especially those who are, often, left out, from, you know, broader innovation improvements that we’re seeing across society.

And I think being a venture capital investor is one of the greatest opportunities to do that. You know, I get to sit and talk with incredible founders who have big ideas at the earliest stages that are good. Disrupt industries improve people’s lives and like change the world. And my job is to figure out like, can I, uh, invest in them and help with that in some way and get behind them as leaders.

And I just think that that’s like of the most privileged and fun jobs that I could imagine to have in the world. 

I completely agree, but so as being at a nonprofit where you can give money to people in a similar sort of fashion, do you have thoughts on. what’s more effective in, you know, if you’ve got a mission, you know, being at, uh, being a venture capitalist is very different than being at a nonprofit is very different than doing public service.

How do you see role of sort of our different entities and how they, where the most impact can be?

Yeah. Well, I think that technology and markets are very powerful forces for change and, you know, rapidly scalable solutions to some of the biggest problems that we’re facing. So I’m very motivated by that. You know, I’m pretty deeply, capitalists in that sense. And, um, I’ve always loved financial markets.

I’ve always loved technology. I’ve always loved investing. And so for me, that’s a really exciting area in place to make change. And I think can be a powerful force for good, not always the case. Of course. Um, at the same time, I’m like, I don’t think technology or private markets are going to solve all of our problems as well.

Like there’s a reason that we. need the nonprofit sector to, you know, uh, address, market failures. We need on public policy, you know, to address big challenges in our society as well. So there is a role for, non-profits. there’s a role for a public policy and there’s a role for private markets as well.

And like each, you know, are very different, uh, levers, that can be used, but myself, I’m, I’m very interested in, in the role of private markets and technology in improving people’s lives. In the ways it can do that. 

 it’s interesting to me. I sometimes feel like the private markets are encroaching some on what used to be done by the public sector.

know, I think it’s, uh, very important to acknowledge that technology and private markets cannot solve all problems and that, you know, some of the things. we’re facing as a society, like they need to be done through public policy and, you know, nonprofits can help motivate innovation and, address, big market failures as well.

for example, I strongly feel that we need comprehensive paid family and medical leave in the United States. and I think, you know, paid family medical leave is just one example. I think of, uh, a systemic, change, that we need to see happen in this country.

That’s of course happened in most other developed countries throughout the world.

I think that’s such an interesting theme I want to pick up on, which is else around the modern family in the U S really stands out to you when you look at as compassion. It’s going on in other countries, I think, you know, I live with my parents, which I think is probably reasonably common in other places, but is not extremely common in the U S what should the U S learned from other kinds?

That’s so great. So you’re part of this, like multi-generational, housing change that we’re seeing in the United States? I mean, unfortunately I think in the United States, we have not yet invested or prioritize. Some of the really basic policies, um, that are needed to support families, I think paid family and medical leave.

It is. But also if you look, get the childcare challenges and needs in this country, that it really been spotlighted through the pandemic. I think that’s another area,  that we are still falling behind a bit on in this country.  really figuring out how to care for young children. Um, whether that’s through university.

Or, you know, other kinds of ideas and solutions that are there out there. Um, so I think those are two that I would, that I would mention. Um, you know, we’re, we’re, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re still unfortunately lagging behind and how we, support parents, especially around the beginning of their parenting journey. 

I have one specific one. What do you think of Life balance. 

Yeah, it’s so funny. I, I no longer use that term, right. Because it’s just, it’s not a real thing that’s going to happen. Like, I think that we need to focus less on trying to get people to, have to like balance these things or somehow juggle these things in meat, in the air, but rather. The systems and workplaces that, work for a 21st century workforce and what people’s lives look like today.

you know, whether that’s, you know, more flexibility, you know, support for parents when they’re entering their parenting journey, support for people who are, dealing with, caregiving challenges as they care for the disabled or, or aging adults. So I don’t think work-life balance is something that we should necessarily be striving for, but rather.

The integration of, work and life together and really you know, making those things,  for people in a way that makes sense. Um, given, where we are as a society.

I really liked the notion of flexibility personally, like actually having parental leave. My favorite thing about parental leave 

was actually not committing ahead of time. Exactly. When I thought I would come back to work, I liked the flexibility.

Oh, right. Yeah, no, that’s great. And it’s so important as well for, child and, parents’ health as well. You know, if you look at the outcomes are pretty significant. Um, having paid family and medical leave really does make an difference, um, on health and wellbeing of families. So, you know,

So, do you do anything particular on your own? How do you approach your own sort of endless stream of emails and other things? And your time.

Yeah, no, I think, especially I think the pandemic was really the first time that I thought, okay, I need to, figure out how to, really shut down the computer and be working in my home all the time, but have time. And being a careful that, you know, on my Saturday is really trying to stay off of email and removed from technology.

Um, it just makes me more. Efficient, and effective when I am focused on work when I really force myself to have that time away. I think especially now that like work is in our homes all the time.

Right? Like putting down those rules. I also, you know, have developed, tools and strategies for sharing the workload of household management.

Like my partner would mind me saying, you know, we’ve really had to think. What do you manage? What do I manage? I have a busy career. You have a busy career and really had those conversations out in the open around, you know, who does what from to end. And I think, yeah, having constant communication and continuing to come up with strategies around that when it feels like the balance is, you know, shifting, I think is really important as well. 

Uh, yeah. Note to self. I need to do more of that. Uh, maybe my final question is a two-part question, which is what worries you, what trends are concerning to you.

And then the flip side, what makes you really hopeful about our modern work and life? 

Great. Maybe my final question might be a two-part question, which is what worries you, what trends are concerning to you. And then what makes you really hopeful of our modern work and life?

you know, one of the things that worries me a lot in that I’ve been, talking more with, a couple of founders about is this state of children’s. Well help in this country, especially given, you know, what, children and youth have been through throughout the pandemic being very isolated away from, social and learning environments.

Of course, the learning loss associated with that, but also just kind of like the state of mental health of kids in this country. And unfortunately, I don’t think that’s, moving in the right direction. And so I think, we really need to continue to have conversations around the role of technology in children’s lives and the impact on mental health as well as kind of how to help, you know, kids in this next year, as we deal with some of the impact of the pandemic on.

mental health in this country. So that’s just one of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I think we’ve seen a lot of investment in the behavioral and mental health space. especially for adults. I think we’re still in really early stages of, the next wave of innovation that will come around, youth mental health.

So, um, it’s really important. 

I had an interesting, I did an interesting episode with Mike Jones, who was the CEO of MySpace. 

And he really talked a lot about social media and mental health are really proving out to be, uh, a very dangerous combination for youth mental health, especially for women 

Yeah. Oh, definitely. I mean, the data is just really striking. There’s a great organization called common sense media that puts out a lot of great research and recommendations on this front. And it And it really good organizations like the Jed foundation, my old team at pivotal Bennet. While I was doing some great work around adolescent mental health too.

So, luckily I think that there’s more, people engaging, whether it’s on the policy side or on the innovation side to really think about how do we address the growing mental health problem that we’re seeing for youth and young adults in this country? 

How about the hopeful side?

Oh, yeah. Um, you know, I think it’s, it’s fine.

It’s good to comment from a venture capital investor to say what makes me helpful to spending time with the founders? Um, either that we’re investing in or, you know, who are pitching us, who really want to change the world and have ideas. And I think one thing in particular, That’s making  📍 me hopeful is that I’m seeing, you know, more founders who are coming with lived experience, who want to like harness that to make change in the world.

 Uh, one of the, co-founders of ni Salude, which is the tele-health solution for the Hispanic population on Bismarck left bay is a very prominent founder and he came to us when he was coming up with the idea for his new company. And he said, I’ve just watched what’s happened with healthcare access.

And health outcomes for the Hispanic population during the pandemic. And he has his own experience. having grown up as the son of migrant farm workers in Southern California, going between Southern California and Mexico. And he said, I want my next company. To really be, you know, about addressing those challenges.

And so that’s one example, uh, and we have several others like that, where we have founders who are coming to us and saying, I’ve seen this in my own life as a caregiver, as a parent, or as a older adult or caregiver for older adults. and I want to leverage that to, to make change and unleash a new wave of innovation around the care economy and family tech.

So that makes me hopeful. 

Aw, that’s great. I’m so excited about what you’re doing. I’m glad you’re in LA. I look forward to hearing more about what you’re doing and what magnify is doing.

Thanks for having me.