On Thursday, July 16, dot.LA kicked off the first in our series of "Female Founders Stories," with the aim of holding candid conversations with the minds behind some of the city's most innovative startups.

Chief host and correspondent Kelly O'Grady spoke with WeeCare Co-founder & CEO Jessica Chang as well as DropLabs Founder & CEO Susan Paley about their "aha" moments and experiences as women leading L.A. startups.

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Erika Metry is trying to figure out how to pay the mortgage on the tidy, three bedroom Inglewood home where she and her mother run a small childcare center that's now looking after kids of frontline workers.

The children she took care of pre-COVID-19 no longer come, but she's one of the lucky small-business owners who can keep their doors open during the pandemic. Metry has stayed afloat thanks in part to her partnership with WeeCare, a Marina Del Rey, venture-backed company that has been connecting essential workers to childcare providers.

As the pandemic has worn on, about half of the nation's childcare centers have closed and about a third of childcare homes have shuttered, according to a survey by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Meanwhile, half of the employees that made up the industry are furloughed or out of a job.

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