March 2nd, 2023

Blazing a trail as a double outlier with Dana Levin-Robinson (Upfront)

Dana Levin-Robinson, CEO of Upfront, joins me to discuss how she went from cleaning half of the country’s childcare data using an excel spreadsheet to licensing her system, a SaaS platform to the state of Maryland and NYC.

In this episode, Dana and I dig into how she built (and eventually monetized!) a system that cleans childcare data sets at scale. We also cover the unique challenges of being a VC-backed childcare startup selling to the government, and Dana’s advice on when and how to join an accelerator.

  • Dana introduces herself and explains how Upfront became the first data company in the childcare space (0:40)

  • Dana lays the foundation for the company and what set the stage for her wanting to hold this industry to a higher standard (3:02)

  • Moving from a service business to a SaaS platform, and pivoting from consumer to government (7:13)

  • Figuring out where the money is (14:21)

  • B2G: Long sales cycles, RFP’s and being in the relationship business (19:42)

  • The challenges of being a double outlier (22:54)

  • Setting expectations when going into an accelerator; thinking about your application as a political campaign (26:20)

  • Dana shares some wonderful organizations and communities that are increasing representation in the care category (32:25)


Dana’s LinkedIn:


Techstars Equitech Accelerator:

FamTech Collaborative:

VC-Backed Moms:

Parenthood Ventures:

Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program (Techstars’ Early Education and Childhood program):