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When a tiny startup called Entelo landed its first corporate customers, the team considered popping a bottle of expensive champagne. Instead, it decided to do something with a social purpose.

The team is launching a new initiative called “Hiring for good” to donate year’s worth of instruction to young girls from underprivileged backgrounds in the U.S. who want to learn to code.

Entelo, which has built software to help connect recruiters with technical candidates, has grown quickly in the past six months. Tech companies such as Box, Groupon, Square, and Yelp have signed on as paying customers since its beta test launched in October. Entelo has indexed over 300 million social profiles. It’s “big data” technology can determine where tech savvy types like to go online and can pick up on their interests and expertise, which is useful information for recruiters.

I caught up with cofounder Jon Bischke to learn more about this new “hiring for good” initiative. It’s well timed, given that tech workers have received criticism from the press for failing to participate in civic life. Vivek Wadhwa, an entrepreneur and academic, noted in the wake of the Google bus protests that startups and larger tech companies are not “sensitive enough to the needs of society.”

The program works like this: For every customer that makes a hire using Entelo’s platform, the company will fund the computer education of a middle school girl for a year. Entelo has formed a partnership with a nonprofit organization called CodeEd, which is hoping to change that only 18 percent of computer science graduates in 2008 were women.

“We think of it as ‘hire one, help two’, as you’re helping the person that you’ve hired by giving them a job and the girl who wouldn’t receive this training otherwise,” said Bischke.

“Because of the skills gap, generally, and more specifically the gap in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] education, we felt that partnering with an organization like CodeEd would be a perfect fit. We’re helping our customers fill their most pressing need and in turn, helping society in our own small way.”

Entelo makes its money by charging companies to use its software. Most of its customers pay six-figure salaries to their engineers (and spend thousands of dollars more on recruiting), so Bischke said they’re happy to make just one or two hires through Entelo.

San Francisco-based Entelo has raised $3.75 million in funding from Battery Ventures and Menlo Ventures.


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