When two guys from Goldman Sachs built a website to help minorities get jobs in tech, it attracted a lot of attention and money.
Porter Braswell and Ryan Williams, founders of diversity recruiting platform Jopwel, met at the prestigious Wall Street firm. They were hired straight out of college, Business Insider reported. There they learned they had a similar interest: mentoring other young black people.
Two of the few black men on the Wall Street trading floor, they said they realized they’d gotten where they were professionally because of their involvement with diversity programs, Jailene Adorno wrote in Color Magazine. They also knew that not everyone had the same opportunities.
Tech companies are beginning to realize a diverse staff pays off. Ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns greater than industry medians, according to a 2015 McKinsey report.
Braswell and Williams recognized — and found a way to monetize — the opportunity presented when companies started releasing information about the diversity of their staff — information that’s traditionally been opaque, Lydia Dishman wrote in Fast Company.
“Other industries really struggled with diversity recruitment,” Williams said. “Companies are seeking diversity because they know it makes the company more innovative.”
While they were still working on Wall Street, Williams and Braswell spoke to recruiters and college students to see if there was a market for their entrepreneurial venture. Then they had to figure out how they were going to build the software.
“(We were) two non-technical, finance guys trying to do something in technology,” Williams said.
Launched in January 2015, Jopwell participated in the summer 2015 class of the Y Combinator accelerator in San Francisco.
In January 2016, Jopwell raised a $3.25 million seed round from Magic Johnson Enterprises, Andreessen Horowitz, Kapor Capital, Omidyar Network, Valar Ventures and others to scale its operations and product capabilities, Telecrunch reported.
Combined with this round, Jopwell has attracted total funding of more than $4.22 million, Braswell in a statement at Jopwell.com.
“Taking part in Y Combinator’s summer 2015 class gave us access to the network and know-how to turn our idea into a 20-plus person startup with $4.25 million in funding and more than 50 investors,” Braswell in an Oct. 31, 2016 statement at Jopwell.com. “Many of the funds and individuals backing us – from Kapor Capital and Omidyar Network to Earvin Magic Johnson – are among those actively working to change the landscape of diversity in venture capital.”
Here’s how Jopwell works:
Job seekers create profiles and upload their resumes to show who they are, what they know, and what they are passionate about. Company recruiters create their own pages where they can tell their company’s stories and show their values.
Corporate customers have included Facebook, MasterCard, BuzzFeed, Jet, Etsy, Box, Trello, and Khan Academy.
“We are incredibly selective on the companies we partner with,” Braswell said in a Telecrunch interview. “We partner with companies that want to increase workforce diversity across divisions.”
Recruiter searches result in an average 250 qualified candidates from underrepresented ethnic minority groups, with 50 percent of the people using Jopwell identifying as female, 49 percent as male and 1 percent as non-binary.