While tensions over diversity have long been an undercurrent of American society, this summer’s protests underscored the need for institutions to genuinely commit to elevating all voices. One of the most urgent areas to improve diversity is at work: members of marginalized groups struggle with reduced economic power due to bias, conscious and unconscious, in the hiring process. And the current pandemic has only worsened this problem. Women, particularly women of color, have lost the majority of jobs in the last six months. The industries hardest hit by COVID were those that employ disproportionately female and non-white workers.
ThisWay Global has created a solution for workplace bias in the hiring process. This Deal to Watch has created a platform that enables applicants to be matched to positions based purely on their previous experience and skills — helping eliminate biases based on factors like name, education, and prior employers. The platform also greatly reduces the time recruiters and hiring managers must spend manually sorting through resumes. We interviewed ThisWay Global founder Angela Hood who told us why crowdfunding was a natural match for the company.
Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Can you give us a brief elevator pitch for your company?
ThisWay matches people to jobs instantly and without bias and helps to improve diversity in teams. Our technology sits inside applicant tracking systems and processes applicants from online platforms, like job boards and CRMs.
What inspired you to take the leap and build this company?
There are few things more important than having a level playing field regarding work. It’s a hard problem to solve, but an easy problem to be passionate about. Solving this problem has never been more important than it is today.
What past experiences prepared you to start, build, and lead your company?
As a woman who works in male dominated fields, I have experienced bias. And as an entrepreneur I have benefitted by having diverse teams help me bring solutions to market. Being able to leverage my own experience in a $470 billion market is an ideal circumstance when you are an entrepreneur.
What is your vision for the future of the industry you are operating in?
It’s important that businesses use math and science, through technology, in areas where it can have a meaningful impact — like in talent acquisition. Our tech also helps provide a better work/life balance for the recruiters, hiring managers and business owners that benefit from our matching. Improving the lives of our users is an important part of our vision and serves as a strong guide for our product team.
Who is on your team and how did you come together?
My CTO and I were introduced by three different technology mentors of mine. They were excellent recommendations. Alex is an expert technologist as well as incredibly intelligent, and I genuinely love working with him. Nearly everyone else was found through the use of our technology, and they are all uniquely qualified to help solve this problem.
Do you have any competition, if so, how do you differentiate?
Our most significant differentiation is our focus, accuracy and ability to sit natively inside our users’ workflow. Focus is important because it enables you to be the best at what you do.
We are accurate because matching without bias is our sole focus, and we meet our user where they are already working because that is what causes them the greatest amount of delight.
What does your business model look like?
We have two business models: annual SaaS and pay as you go. The first provides the best solution for employers that hire in larger volumes — so staffing, mid-market and enterprise level organizations. The latter provides startups and smaller employers with lower use products.
What brought you to equity crowdfunding and how do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?
During a quarterly off-site with our company we identified that although we have always focused on leveling the playing field within the job market, we had done very little to increase the diversity of our investment partners. The majority of our company is owned by women, but we lacked ethinic and geographic diversity. And when I learned about the demographics of equity crowdfunding investors, it aligned well with our goal of diversification.
We now have investors from over 40 countries and from every state in the US. While I don’t know the specific demographics of our 1000+ investors, I do know that we have a much wider range of supportive investors. It’s a great outcome.
The additional investment is being used to ramp up sales and marketing and develop a piece of technology that will transform the speed and ease at which companies can integrate new technologies. It’s a very exciting time for us!
What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?
Our team is intentionally small with incredible expertise. But all the expertise in the world can’t account for the passion and resiliency required to grow a meaningful, early stage venture. Above all else, our resiliency has led to current success and will continue to do so as we grow and dominate that market.
As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? Have you set any future goals for the company?
Our company receives acquisition offers on a regular basis but so far none have aligned with what I, our leadership and our investors are seeking as the desired outcome. We have both revenue and job matching goals that we align to our success metrics. Ultimately, nothing short of being the ‘go to’ for unbiased matching in the job market would be acceptable. I do believe we will achieve this through strategic partnerships and/or eventual acquisition, but an IPO strategy is now being developed.
We at KingsCrowd are excited to see where Angela and her team take the company. ThisWay Global is currently raising on Wefunder.