Sharon Li & Vanessa Chen: Empowering employees to be their healthiest and most productive selves

“People sometimes think the emotional and professional are conflicting, but what we believe is when people love their organization, the emotional value will actually make them productive. It will make them give their full self to the organization and make the organization grow for the long term.” —Sharon Li, co-founder and CEO of CHOYS

ali-fern

Ali Fern

Ali is a member of our Business Development team focused on bridging relationships between Antler, startups, and external partners. She brings experience from her previous roles in philanthropy, technology, and data. Based in New York, Ali enjoys reading, long distance running, and spending time with her dog.

Ali is a member of our Business Development team focused on bridging relationships between Antler, startups, and external partners. She brings experience from her previous roles in philanthropy, technology, and data. Based in New York, Ali enjoys reading, long distance running, and spending time with her dog.

As the pressures and stresses of the world and everyday life intensify, employees carry a tremendous amount on their shoulders when they come to work every day. Many employers understand the connection between wellness and productivity, but lack the tools and expertise to take care of their employees’ well-being—table stakes for many GenZers in their job searches.

Enter CHOYS, a Singapore-based insurtech company that Sharon Li and Vanessa Chen founded in 2022 to empower organizations to take care of their employees holistically—from a physical, mental health, social, and financial perspective. The team raised its first funding round from Antler in Singapore and recently received a non-dilutive Rising Entrepreneurs grant from Microsoft for Startups. The grant will enable them to improve their user journey and user experience. 

Powered by data analytics, the company’s platform serves a digital Chief Wellbeing Officer, creating a benefit experience for every employee based on their personal needs. The goal of their holistic wellbeing subscription service is to create a more human, work-life culture that enhances employee impact.

“What we really want to do is transform the relationship between employer and employee,” Sharon explains. “We want employees to love their workplace, love what they do, love their team, love their boss, love their organization. As Sigmund Freud said, love and work are the cornerstone of humanness.”

Before founding CHOYS, Sharon led the Innovation Mindset team within the Chief Technology Office at Barclays, partnering with startups, universities, and governments to incubate innovative fintech solutions. A qualified Chartered Global Management Accountant and ranked in the Tech Women 100 and the Women in Fintech Powerlist in 2021, Sharon’s inspiration for founding CHOYS was deeply personal.

“My mom is a chemical engineer and inventor herself, and she got cancer in her physical workplace. And that obviously had a big impact on me. Since I was very young and I always knew I wanted to do something about it.” 

The pandemic only increased Sharon’s resolve.

“One of my best friends had to leave the organization because of a mental health issue, and that's in the virtual workplace. That suddenly made me realize that although our workplace has evolved a lot from physical to virtual, the well-being support hasn’t changed that much. We haven't really fulfilled the personalized needs of employees.”

Before launching CHOYS, Vanessa’s experience working at several tech companies and founding her first startup—a mobile solution for tourist refunds—showed her how much workplace culture shapes people.

“The workplace is such a big part of all of our lives,” she observes, “yet the way employers take care of employees really hasn't changed much in the past 30 years, right?”

A passionate proponent of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Vanessa explains, “90% of employers want to improve their employees well-being, but only 19% actually have a plan implemented due to lack of expertise and tools. The current solutions are difficult to navigate, expensive for employers, and fail to meet the evolving needs of a multi-generational and multinational workforce.” 

In a post-pandemic world, when work-life bleeds into home-life and balance is harder to achieve, Vanessa and Sharon are more energized than ever about their mission. What motivates Vanessa most of all?

“Knowing that our product could potentially help change workplace culture and also make people healthier, make their family healthier, and in a way really change society and make people's life better. And it really puts a smile on my face.”

Strength your organization and empower your employees with CHOYS’ Chief Wellbeing Officer.

Learn more about Antler’s partnership with Microsoft for Startups to support women founders everywhere.

Read Antler’s second annual ESG and Impact Report to learn how VC firms can build diverse teams and create sustainable value from the outset.

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