New York-based startup Jopwell announced today that it closed a $3.35 million seed round to help build its recruitment and hiring platform, which aims to increase diversity in the workforce.
Backed by Magic Johnson Enterprises and Andreessen Horowitz, Jopwell wants to give members of minority groups a boost in the job application process. Once users complete 60 percent of their profile, they get access to job postings in Jopwell’s partnered companies. After they apply for a position, Jopwell serves as an intermediary by highlighting the applicant’s profile.
All users must be at least 18 years old and must be enrolled in college or have a degree.
Jopwell only displays jobs openings in its partnered companies, which include some of the biggest names in tech: Facebook, Goldman Sachs, BuzzFeed, Adobe, and MasterCard.
This partnership benefits the companies involved, as well as the applicants. Facebook, for example, has long struggled to put together a more diverse workforce — as have most Silicon Valley companies. Partnerships with recruitment startups like Jopwell help solidify some of the industry’s efforts to change the race and gender ratio.
“Diversity is a commitment. It just doesn’t happen in an organization overnight. And for larger businesses, it can be difficult to stay true to that commitment across divisions, teams and departments, if it isn’t a corporate mentality, enforced from the top, with available tools to support their goals,” said lead investor and former basketball player Magic Johnson.
“[Jopwell] allows the organization to optimize the process for both the employer and potential employees,” he said.
As a Latina, I wanted to give the program a try myself and see how much Jopwell could do for someone like me. The application process is just as tedious as on any other job application site I have approached. However, the focus on diversity is evident. When it asked me to select which race I identified with, Jopwell made one thing clear:
“Jopwell is dedicated to helping the most underrepresented minorities connect with companies. At this time, our platform is only open to individuals who identify as Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American.”
This message, as minor as it sounds, reminded me that it was okay to embrace my ethnic identity — something I’ve hesitated to do on previous job application sites. I also had the option to add any additional races I identified with.
Targeting even more minority groups, Jopwell also includes a feature that gives multiple options when it comes to gender identity. This, at least for me, is huge; most diversity reports I have encountered lack a breakdown of what percentage of black and Latino workers are of a gender minority. Hiring tools like Jopwell could serve as a pipeline to count how many more women and queer people are entering the sector.
Though I applaud the effort involved, Jopwell still needs a lot of work in two major areas: search filters and partnerships. The first can be fixed with some IT work — perhaps using the money from the investment. The latter seems a little harder; it requires commitment from more than the 37 partnering companies, nothing short of a serious change in the industry mentality.
Kapor Capital, Omidyar Network, and Valar Ventures also participated in the round. Jopwell has raised a total of $4.22 million in funding.
Correction 2:31 p.m. PT: Magic Johnson Enterprises did not lead the round with Andreessen Horowitz.