citybiz+ Workplace Personalization Platform Inclusively Closes $13 Million Series A

Richmond, Va.-based Inclusively, which began with the goal of helping organizations gainfully employ the differently abled, has closed a $13 million Series A round, as it broadens its platform to accommodate broader workplace personalization.

The round was led by San Francisco-based Firework Ventures, with the participation of Gayle Benson, the owner of Saints and Pelicans, NFL and NBA franchises respectively in New Orleans, and other existing investors. Previous backers of the company include Jim Sorenson’s Enable Ventures, based in Alexandria, Va.

‘Tailored’ Work Experiences

So far, Inclusively has raised $19.9 million from investors, as it retools its workplace platform, called Retain, to create tailored work experiences.

Co-founder and CEO Charlotte Dales, a former American Express and Deutsche Bank executive, started Inclusively to shape personalized work environments inspired by Covid-era practices, as much as a cousin with Down’s Syndrome who became a licensed aesthetician in Florida. Her co-founder Sarah Bernhard previously worked for Forrester.

“During the pandemic, employees who worked from home had more control over their working environments than ever,” said Dales, who previously co-founded two other startups and sold one to American Express. “They learned exactly what they needed to be more productive and engaged, be that heads-down time for focused work, flexible schedules for childcare, or workplace accommodations like extra time to complete tasks.”

Besides the Saints and Pelicans, Inclusive has over 50 corporate clients, including Delta, Pfizer, Accenture, Charles Schwab and Edward Jones.

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‘Future of Work’
“We believe the future of work requires solutions like Inclusively – their AI-driven workplace personalization will enable all individuals to thrive at work,” said Ashley Bittner, general partner of Firework Ventures. “We are especially excited that Inclusively is expanding its offering to support caregivers, veterans and other underinvested in communities that are critical contributors to our workforce.”

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Inclusive’s workplace platform Retain provides a framework for enterprises to create personalization at scale. These could take the form of extra time on tasks, flexible timings, or accommodations for mental health. The tool uses advanced AI and other algorithms and goes beyond accommodating people with disabilities. It also promises cost efficiencies related to turnover and productivity.

Enable Ventures, based in Alexandria, Va., focuses exclusively on the disability “wealth gap” while aiming for competitive returns. It was started by civil rights leader Regina “Gina” Kline, with support from Sorenson. Enable Ventures contends that less than 1% of microfinance funds go to the disabled, and a whopping $1.9 trillion is lost globally because of the exclusion of differently abled from the workforce. Kline, who also founded SmartJob, serves as managing partner of Enable Ventures.