Mother Honestly’s new commerce offering aims to give employees more freedom when it comes to caregiv • TechCrunch
work being done Parenting is a challenge. Being a working mother, according to many studiespresents an additional challenge.
Many mothers have had the unfortunate experience of having to choose between their careers and children because balancing the two can be overwhelming. Factor in aging fathers and the number of women caring for multiple people is greater than ever.
To address this, I launched Blessing Adesiyan mother honestly. Today, the company reaches more than one million working parents, caregivers, employers, and business leaders. It has generated around $1 million in revenue since its inception. And while his initial focus was on working parents, he’s expanded his reach to help caregivers of all types — regardless of gender. Now, to expand its reach, Mother Honestly is introducing a new commercial at TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield.
Adesian gave birth to her first child when she was in college and remembers taking her daughter with her to an internship at a multinational. After graduation, I immediately started working with Fortune 100 companies such as PepsiCo, DuPont, BASF and Cargill. Once in the workforce, she got bogged down in her work while managing caregiving responsibilities, concluding early on that it was “not designed” for her—“a single mother, a black woman who was a chemical engineer who really wanted to stay ambitious.”
She knew she wasn’t the only working mom who felt this way, so she created multiple Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) within those companies around parents and caregivers. Having been slightly scarred from her first foray into the corporate world, Adesian admits that she was actually “terrified of having more children” without her career being “solid”. In the end, she had her second child, nine years after the birth of her first child.
All the feelings she had when she started her career started to make a comeback – admitting the lack of reliable and affordable care infrastructure, the lack of support from her supervisors, and having to spend a small fortune moving her parents back and forth from Nigeria to look after her children when she had to travel for work.
“I eventually ran out of money, and I couldn’t keep moving them back and forth,” Adesian recalls.
The straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, was when she was consulting with a large chemical company and was asked to travel to Morocco. She called her boss at the time, inquiring if the company could provide a stipend in return for fulfilling some of its caregiving obligations.
Adesian told TechCrunch that her boss’ response shocked her.
“He told me it was important to separate my professional and personal life, and that a male colleague had been doing this for 10 years and had never asked for that kind of support,” she recounts. “So I said: No offense, my colleague is a white man with his wife a housewife subsidizing the cost of care.”
Two weeks later, Adesian got another job, but was still pissed off at the idea that she was “making millions of dollars” for a company she “thought to be too supportive” of her caregiving needs.
She added:I was out of the country for two weeks at a time, and was a single mother, an immigrant with no real network to support me.”
Frustrated, Adesiyan took to Instagram to ask others how they are managing business and family effectively.
“People started sending out direct messages and videos, and I’ve amassed about 10,000 followers in three months,” Adesian recalls. That turned into a conference in Detroit attended by hundreds of attendees from all over the country.
And by 2018, Mother Honestly was born — a startup that Adesiyan says is “sort of an outward ERG.” The website was initially created to provide content and community for caregivers who need support.
“I wanted to comprehensively support mothers in balancing their professional and personal lives, and I wanted them to do it honestly without comparing themselves to others,” she recalls. “It became clear that only one parent could comprehensively solve this problem, so I like to think of our product as ‘Made by Moms, for Everyone’.
By 2020, Adesiyan has left her engineering job to focus full time on her project.
Existing customers include Indeed, Care.com, Splendid Spoon, Bobbie, Nanit and more. Past clients include Lincoln, Google, JPMorgan Chase, Bright Horizons, and Passera, among others.
Booted from the start, Mother Honestly made money mainly from Brand partnerships with the likes of Indeed, Care.com and Splendid Spoon, to do things like co-create content for employee caregivers together.
Mother Honestly’s natural evolution has created something Adesiyan believes is missing, but much needed, in the workforce: Work-Life Wallet.
Mother Honestly would make money by charging a wallet provision fee that would give employees the freedom to spend on things like caregiving or medical travel. The mother frankly acts as an intermediary, either rejecting or agreeing to expenses based on pre-determined categories so that employees enjoy privacy and not reveal personal details to employers.
For Adesiyan, widespread adoption would be a dream come true.
“Employers, instead of wasting millions of dollars in EAPs (employee assistance programs) that employees don’t use, can redirect their money into the hands of their employees via our Work-Life wallet, which they can allocate who gets paid and in what period of time.”