Jopwell’s Funding Round Underscores Growing Interest in Diversity Recruiting Tech

Jopwell’s Funding Round Underscores Growing Interest in Diversity Recruiting Tech

Jopwell, a recruiting startup focused on connecting hiring managers with racially diverse candidates, has raised a $7.5 million Series A funding round led by Cue Ball Capital, Megan Rose Dickey notes at TechCrunch, giving it a total war chest of $11.75 million:

Founded by Porter Braswell and Ryan Williams, Jopwell has an impressive group of investors, including Magic Johnson Enterprises, Andreessen Horowitz, Kapor Capital and Joe Montana. This new round of funding will enable Jopwell to scale and take on more companies, Braswell and Williams told me. Jopwell’s primary focus has been on Fortune 1000 companies, but over the past two years or so, the company has seen demand from younger companies.

VentureBeat’s Bérénice Magistretti takes a closer look at the company and its product:

Candidates create a profile on the Jopwell website, much like on other job recruiting sites — the difference being that they are asked to select their racial identity. … Once the profile has been created, the system uses algorithms that analyze a candidate’s resume, skills, past experiences, and preferences, thus allowing Jopwell to tailor the pool of qualified applicants for hiring managers at partner companies. These include Airbnb, BlackRock, Facebook, LinkedIn, Lyft, Pinterest, and the NBA (Magic Johnson is an investor in Jopwell).

“Jopwell acts as a personal referral for the community,” wrote Braswell, “meaning if a candidate is qualified for a position at one of our partner companies, our team works to ensure that their resume or application receives the attention it deserves from the appropriate recruiters or hiring managers.”

Jopwell is one of a range of diversity recruiting solutions that have popped up in recent years to help employers, particularly in the tech sector, source the diverse talent they often say they have trouble finding on their own. Last year, Fast Company’s Ruth Leader profiled this emerging diversity industry and the different approaches on offer.

Jopwell’s early success, especially with larger organizations, it great to see. It shows that the mission of the organization is one that resonates with many organizations as they look to continue diversifying their workforce. Some important factors that Jopwell will need to continue to keep in mind as they expand past Fortune 1000 companies includes the time commitment required from recruiters and hiring managers, as well as applicants.

We hear from many diversity and inclusion recruiters that they aren’t always convinced that having another platform to source applications from is the best option for them. The reason why is that recruiters have so many different job portals and candidates, but also limited time. Therefore if they have to choose a portal, they will pick the one that results in the highest number of applicants and then new hires. Larger organizations often have larger recruiting and hiring teams and may be more willing to have an additional platform to increase diversity in hiring, but smaller organizations may need to be convinced of the benefits of investing in yet another recruiting platform.

Similarly, at the CEB ReimagineHR conference in London earlier this month, we heard Rob Williams from Indeed share how top applicants have job options and often are deterred when the application process is too long or complex. This can prevent top talent, including top diverse talent, from applying to jobs. To ensure that their platform is successful at reaching top diverse talent, Jopwell will need to ensure that the process is easy for these potential employees.

Another consideration for Jopwell and other diversity hiring platforms to keep in mind is that their platforms may not be capturing as diverse a range of candidates as they intend. Many of the candidates who use these platforms are, like their founders, high-achieving people of color with degrees from top-tier universities. Especially as employers pay more attention to diversity of class and background as well as race and ethnicity, the other component of the diversity and inclusion challenge is to get these less obvious candidates into the recruiting mix.