Dislo CEO and Co-Founder Hannah Olson I was diagnosed with Lyme disease while in college. At the time, she didn’t consider herself disabled, but that meant being hooked up to an IV for hours each day.
When she entered the workforce, she quickly faced difficulties navigating her condition, disclosing her condition, and seeking support. “I had no insight into the process, but I saw firsthand how uncomfortable it was.” That lack of knowledge fuels her entire entrepreneurial journey. . She spent time as an employment advisor for people with disabilities and started her first company, Chronically Capable, with her former boss Kai Keen.
Chronically Capable helps people with disabilities and chronic conditions find flexible work, and now, after nearly five years of scaling, the two founders are an early mover in a similar world. Founded another company to take a step in. Disclo, an Atlanta-based startup, builds software that helps employees seek reconciliation requests in the workplace, allowing employers to manage their health information disclosure and employee Enables collection, verification, and management of employee reconciliation requests.
With General Catlyst leading a $5 million seed round in Disclo, with participation from Y Combinator, Bain Capital Ventures and Lerer Hippeau, investors believe it addresses a real need in the market. In total, Disclo, who we know has raised $6.5 million in total funding to date, has also included his Chronically Capable under its umbrella, given the synergy between the two. While Chronically Capable aims to recruit talent with diverse needs, Disclo helps startups provide the right alignment process first to support hiring.
It’s not a question of whether the startup is thoughtful, says Chief Product Officer (Olson is CEO) Keane. It’s about following established rules.
“We don’t think it’s superfluous. It’s a compliance issue,” he says. “You’re following the law, but a lot of companies right now don’t know or just don’t know how to do it,” he says.
At the same time, Disclo hopes that its very existence will raise awareness about these regulations for the benefit of all concerned. “There are prejudices and silences about asking for something at work, [employers] Do not advertise how to seek accommodation at work. From Keane’s perspective, Disclo’s work helps employees understand what their rights are and protect their employers by documenting and standardizing often unstructured conversations. That’s it.
Hiring is especially important in times like this, argues Olson, and based on data from the last recession, the tech industry is likely to see employees suing more often and for more money. claims to be high.
Even as the economy recovers quickly, remote work is also creating pressure for employers to find better technology to support distributed teams. said to have increased by 61%. She believes the statistic shows that employers need to take disability requests more seriously.
The key to Disclo’s software is to anonymize what an employee’s disability is. Instead, tell the employer that the individual has filed a Disability Notice and that the following accommodations can be used to help them feel more supported at work. This can be helpful given that not all disabilities are visible and not all people with disabilities feel comfortable declaring themselves disabled.
Olson’s personal experience highlighted how difficult it is to both navigate the disclosure process and find a company that “accepts” what she needs. It doesn’t force you to provide accommodations, but it does provide a framework for companies to be more aware and supportive of their employees.
Speaking of the confusion that dominates many startups, one might wonder why so many HR tech startups haven’t tried to disrupt the disability-friendly aspect. Olsen says some startups are forced to use sticky notes or boxed drives. This is because restrictive laws do not allow information to be stored within HR platforms. Larger companies, on the other hand, use disability insurance companies.
“Many companies think of lodging in terms of insurance claims, but lodging includes much more than what is covered by insurance,” he said. Bringing in, asking for subtitling tools, etc., she said. “These requests often require a conversation with a manager and we are here to help.”
In that case, technology may just be behind the game. Former TechCrunch reporter Steve O’Hear wrote about technology companies’ failure to report disability in 2016.
“At its best, technology can act as an enabler for people with disabilities and help level the playing field, thus becoming a real force for social mobility,” O’Hear said at the time. writing. “However, because disability is not included in most tech companies’ public diversity reports, there is little evidence of how well the tech industry itself is doing in terms of the number of people with disabilities it employs, and how this is measured among companies. Noting the challenges posed by underreporting and a general lack of transparency about companies, he called on the tech industry to “find ways to be more accountable.”
Disclo believes to be the first software company to tackle this particular niche market. Let’s see if the technology is ready to become an early adopter.