Junko Tabei, the first woman to summit Mount Everest in 1975, serves as an apt namesake for one fast-growing startup in Birmingham.
It certainly does take grit and perseverance to improve how tech companies source great talent.
Joonko, the brainchild of Ilit Raz, is a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) HR recruitment platform that helps match companies with women, minority, and veteran candidates.
After spending years in the Israeli army, Raz studied computer science and business and has worked across the tech field. She says she saw first-hand the hiring challenges presented in traditionally male-dominated tech industries.
To tackle this recruiting problem, Joonko plugs directly into an applicant tracking system (ATS) and gives companies access to a growing talent pool that matches candidate profiles based on artificial intelligence. The goal is to limit the time and stress around finding top talent while “eliminating bias in real-time.”
Recruiting companies can also create a white-labeled candidate experience and gain important analytic insights into diversity recruitment efforts.
A Techstars’ Pivot
Raz went through Techstars Atlanta’s inaugural class in 2016, which she credits with helping bring Joonko through an important pivot.
Raz told Hypepotamus that listening to customers made the Joonko team realize they needed to build a platform that addressed diversity efforts earlier in the hiring funnel. Through a “network effect,” every company that joins the platform gives and gets” through a series of recommendations.
Candidates using Joonko can more easily find more job opportunities with similar companies after a rejection.
Joonko saw sales grow by 4x, according to Raz, as companies started to put a concerted effort into hiring diverse talent over the course of 2020 and 2021. She doesn’t see this as a fading trend.
That growth also propelled a $10 million Series A round, led by Vertex Ventures Israel. Its previous seed round in 2019 was led by Alabama Futures Fund. That brings the startup’s total funding to date to $13.5 million, according to Crunchbase.
Part of the funds will go towards internal hiring, as Raz adds that “hopefully we’re going to at least triple our team by the end of the year.”
Joonko currently has team members in Tel Aviv, Israel and Birmingham, Alabama.
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