This Startup Is Helping Condé Nast, Pinterest, the NBA and Other Brands Find Diverse Job Candidates

Jopwell helps major companies discover new talent

Investors see promise in the 2-year-old platform.
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Jopwell has been around less than two years, but it’s already being used by the likes of Condé Nast, the NBA, Pinterest, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and BlackRock. What’s the draw? Filling a cross-category industry void in helping large companies figure out how to become more diverse—that’s what.

The New York-based online careers platform specializes in helping black, Latino and Native American college students and professionals find new employers. And perhaps more importantly, Jopwell has helped 70-plus major companies  find more diverse talent tens of thousands of times in recent months. The service is free for candidates and charges employers an undisclosed fee to recruit from the site.

There’s a dose of smart tech at play, too. Jopwell’s algorithms analyze a candidate’s resume, skills, past experiences and preferences. This allows Jopwell to suss out qualified applicants for hiring managers, who then can have access to them by searching the platform for candidate profiles.

D.A. Abrams, the USTA’s chief diversity officer, lauded the service.

“With so many career opportunities out there, we can only achieve our mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis by reaching out to the best diverse talent,” he said.

Jopwell, which was part of the Y Combinator startups program, has raised $4 million to date. When considering the ad industry’s problems with diverse hiring, it’s easy to see why investors are intrigued by the opportunity Jopwell appears to represent. According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, 74 percent of 4A’s members surveyed last fall felt agencies were either mediocre or worse when it comes to hiring a diverse group of employees.

And take the example of recent Fashion Institute of Technology graduate Alysia Lewis, who felt the need to pitch her employment availability via Facebook in a provocative way just to get ad companies’ attention. Her promo proclaimed: “Your Agency Hates Black Women.”

“Agencies are very white, but I didn’t mean to tell them, ‘You’re a terrible person,'” Lewis told Adweek senior editor Patrick Coffee. “It’s more of a joke, like, ‘You’re awful, sure, but you’d be 10 percent less awful if you hired me.”

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.