Seattle startup NextStep raised an additional $3.6 million to help fuel growth of its tech platform that recruits and trains healthcare workers.
Founded in 2018 and spun out of Pioneer Square Labs in Seattle, NextStep aims to address what it describes as a national caregiver shortage — a problem even more acute due to the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting economic crisis.
The company targets people in low-wage jobs who are threatened by displacement and trains them for in-demand healthcare positions, including certified nursing assistant, home health aide, and personal care assistant.
With millions of people filing for unemployment over the past month and a growing demand for healthcare workers, NextStep sees a big opportunity to fill some gaps.
“By tapping the potential and strengths of displaced talent, we can bolster the healthcare workforce and offer millions of workers a pathway to sustainable and fulfilling careers — at a time when our country needs it most,” NextStep CEO Chris Hedrick said in a statement.
The startup operates a mobile-based training platform and a job placement program for long-term care workers. Its primary source of income comes from selling its services to employers who need healthcare workers.
NextStep ran a pilot in Colorado and has enrolled more than 2,000 people in the state.
The company also recently debuted a National COVID-Ready Caregiver Certificate, which trains frontline caregivers on health guidelines that reduce the risk of infection and on caring for the elderly and people with disabilities.
Hedrick previously led a higher education program in Rwanda called Kepler and a learning technology and outsourcing company Intrepid Learning. He was also the first employee of the Gates Library Foundation, the predecessor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and managed national philanthropic programs for Microsoft.
Hedrick co-founded NextStep with healthcare industry veteran Charissa Raynor, the former executive director of The Benefits Group, where she led the development of the nation’s largest home care training initiative. Raynor is also a registered nurse.
Springrock Ventures led the round, which included participation from JAZZ Venture Partners, Learn Capital’s LearnStart fund, and the managing directors of Pioneer Square Labs. The company has raised nearly $10 million to date.