Technology Interviews Business

Tech startup 'Jopwell' raises $3.25 Million with the help of Magic Johnson

Searching for a new job? Look no further than Jopwell, a diversity hiring and recruiting platform that wants to help Black, Hispanic, and Native American candidates find the perfect job or internship for their skill sets. Launched in 2014 by Porter Braswell and Ryan Williams, Jopwell has recently raised $3.25 million in seed funding from Magic Johnson Enterprises, Andreessen Horowitz and other venture capitalist firms. We spoke with Braswell, Williams and Mr. Magic Johnson himself about what makes Jopwell different from LinkedIn, challenges in the tech industry and advice for job seekers. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing companies in terms of creating successful diversity initiatives? Porter Braswell (Jopwell CEO & Co-founder) and Ryan Williams (Jopwell President & Co-founder): What we noticed about the recruitment process was that companies relied heavily on their current minority employees and interns to draw on their networks and bring other underrepresented talent into the company, which is really ineffective. Magic Johnson: Diversity is a commitment. It just doesn’t happen in an organization overnight. And for larger companies, 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 tools to support goals. PB and RW: The three biggest barriers to increasing diversity at companies are a limited pipeline to find and identify candidates, a lack of resources for diversity-driven recruitment, and inadequate marketing of available positions. MJ: That’s why I’m investing in Jopwell. They’ve built a digital pipeline that companies can use to realize their diversity commitment faster and more effectively. Magic, what was it about Jopwell’s platform that convinced you to invest? MJ: I’ve helped major corporations with their diversity challenges for over 30 years. Investing in Jopwell fits into my mission – to support, empower and strengthen under-served communities. It gives people the tools they need to become successful. I’m excited to support the founders, Porter and Ryan, and believe in their vision. Photo: Crenshaw Communications Photo: Crenshaw Communications How can we get more minorities interested in the tech industry? MJ: The interest is there. But the industry has to support diversity in the workplace to be able to take advantage. An authentic sense of diversity and inclusion helps you attract, recruit, hire and keep the best and brightest talent. To this point, the under-representation of black and Hispanic communities in tech has been disappointing. But I’m encouraged by the awareness and dialogue that’s happening. More importantly, I’m encouraged by the creation of companies by diverse founders, like Jopwell and Walker and Company, and seeing startups hire Chief Diversity Officers and publicly stating diversity goals. Jopwell is different from sites like LinkedIn and Indeed in that it asks very specific questions of its users- everything from what you like to do in your free time to a personal statement that’s displayed on your profile page. How do these details affect the strength of a candidate in the eyes of a recruiter? PB and RW: Your profile does more than just showcase your resume- it allows you to tell your story and differentiate yourself to a potential employer. We’ve found that the more detailed a profile is, the more successful the user is in attracting company interest. Remember – employers always want to know who you are. Jopwell profiles are a powerful tool in that they give employers a complete and holistic look at each candidate, which ultimately creates more opportunities for users. The companies Jopwell matches users with are very high profile – you place candidates at companies like MasterCard and BuzzFeed. What makes a company “Jopwell approved” and how do you decide on your partners? PB and RW: We only work with companies that are truly committed to building a more inclusive workforce over the long-term. These are organizations that understand the value of diversity within and for their business and want authentic relationships with underrepresented minority communities. So, if you’re a Jopwell user, you can be confident the employers you connect with know the value you bring to the table. What advice can you offer someone looking for a new job? PB and RW: Go to jopwell.com and sign up for free. We’ll connect you with the world’s top companies to help you find a job you’ll love. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date on the latest in diversity recruitment and hiring.   Photo: tumblr Photo: tumblr

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*Magic Johnson's interview originally appeared on Linkedin.  

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