The Michelson 20MM Foundation is partnering with Village Capital to support their Future of Work & Learning 2019 program. Innovation in learning and workforce development has been a focus area for Michelson 20MM foundation since its inception, and we are excited to collaborate with a leader in the space.

According to a 2016 Pew Research Center Survey, 87% of workers believe training and developing new job skills is important to keep up with changes in the workplace, yet nearly a third of employed Americans haven’t received any formal training from their current employer.

Real solutions will require collaboration and systems-level thinking. With that in mind, the Future of Work & Learning program has selected startups that are helping adults bridge the skills gap through access to college completion tools and wraparound services, alternative credentialing, upskilling, and reskilling. Workers, especially those from underserved populations, will be able to attain sustainable wage jobs and be better positioned to adapt to the future of work as a result.

The first workshop kicked off in Austin in early October. Over the next few months, we’ll be providing updates about the program as well as spotlighting selected companies, starting with CosmoSafe.



CosmoSafe is a digital learning platform that bridges the gap between traditional cosmetology education and gig economy beauty jobs.

Every year, 200,000 beauty students attend expensive beauty schools believing they’ll land a high paying job. These beauty schools focus on artistic techniques, salon services, and sometimes salon management skills. However, that content does not prepare their graduates for the reality of the profession—85% of professionals are freelance or contract workers and 90% earn less than $20,000 a year. Those earnings coupled with student loans averaging $21,000 can cut a career short.

CosmoSafe tackles the problem from multiple angles. They modernize outdated curriculum and offer business and entrepreneurship content to help beauty professionals navigate today’s gig economy, deliver it online, and can provide digital credentials to streamline verification for states, employers and the public. These steps will both lower the cost of education and increase the earning potential for graduates.

$5.1B is spent on cosmetology education annually in the United States and careers in the beauty industry have grown by 38% over the last decade. The incumbent institutions haven’t adjusted program offerings to the future of work in the beauty industry. With the rise of gig apps, mobile beauty salons, and the growing rate of freelance opportunities, CosmoSafe is poised to fill that gap.


Why did we select CosmoSafe?

The beauty market has been overlooked and is ripe for disruption. Delving deeper into the market size, CosmoSafe estimates that cosmetologists pay as much as $5K per year on out of pocket on training, conferences, online courses, and resources. There are 1M active cosmetologists in the US, suggesting there is a $5B TAM for cosmetology training and upskilling.

We found Angela and her team’s origin story very compelling, and their intentional approach to product development and vision can lead CosmoSafe to become the go-to education platform for beauty professionals.


To learn more about CosmoSafe, visit their website at

Author: David Shu is an Investment Associate at The Michelson 20MM Foundation

The Michelson 20MM Foundation and its initiatives are made possible by the generous support of Gary K. Michelson, M.D. and his wife, Alya Michelson.