Gender equality has been at the forefront when discussing inclusion in the workplace. NYC startup, Fairygodboss provides prospective employees the inside scoop on how prospective employers value diversity. It’s a marketplace for professional women to find jobs and receive advice while employers can recruit candidates who value equality. Whether you are curious about maternity leave policies or just the overall atmosphere, Fairygodboss is making the professional environment more transparent when it comes to equality.
AlleyWatch chatted with cofounder and CEO Georgene Huang about the Startup and their process raising their first round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Fairygodboss raised a $1M seed round led by William Greenblatt, the founder and Chairman of Sterling Talent Solutions, one of the largest background screening companies in the world.
Tell us about your product or service.
Fairygodboss is a marketplace where professional women looking for jobs, career advice, and the inside scoop on companies meet employers who believe in gender equality.
We offer women in our community access to free, anonymous job reviews from other women about their companies, as well as job listings, company rankings, and career advice.
For employers, we offer recruiting services and the ability to showcase their policies. Additionally, organizations have the ability to showcase their culture and benefits through our unique employer branding profile – all targeted exclusively at women.
What inspired you to start the company?
I started the company when I was job-searching while two months pregnant (and hiding it). I was surprised at the way existing job review sites didn’t address the specific questions and needs she had. Fairygodboss is meant to help individual women find the jobs they love by giving insight and transparency into what it’s like for other women at their companies.
How is it different?
Every member of the Fairygodboss community shares very specific information about whether she thinks the company treats, pays and promotes women equally to men. We also ask women if their companies are family-friendly, and whether their leadership is committed to gender equality. Finally, we crowdsource taboo and difficult-to-ask information about benefits ranging from maternity leave policies, fertility benefits, paid time off (PTO), and flexible working options.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We aim to reach every single woman the labor force and the companies that employ them, so that’s a pretty large market!
What’s your business model?
We sell recruitment and employer branding services to employers.
Are certain industries better towards women than others?
Yes! We collect a ton of unique, proprietary data about employers and what women want, like and hate. This enables us to rank companies by where women are happiest, and also rate industries. This summer we plan on releasing the 2017 best industries for women. Last year, you can see our 2016 best industries for women analysis showed industries like professional services (e.g. public relations, consulting, information services, etc.) were rated very highly by women. At the bottom of the list were industries such as transportation and aerospace.
What was the funding process like?
We were quite reluctant to begin fundraising, mainly out of concern that it would be a large operational distraction for a small team. We had started generating revenue in 2016 from some of the world’s largest employers (e.g. Apple, Dell, Fidelity, GE, Salesforce, etc), and were trying to self-fund our company for as long as possible.
We had a many casual conversations with investors and fellow founders about when to start, and changed our minds a couple times in the process about when to start fundraising. When we ultimately set out to fundraise in the fall of 2016, we were able find a great partner in William Greenblatt.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
It’s always hard to get financing as a first-time entrepreneur because everything is new. I had some experience in venture capital early in my career, but it is very different to be on the entrepreneur’s side of the table! In sum, it was a huge learning experience.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
I believe our investor believed in us an operating team. My co-founder Romy Newman is a stellar saleswoman who previously ran the global, digital salesforce at the Wall Street Journal. I previously oversaw a very large P&L and global product and operations team, as well as built incubated businesses from the ground up.
We treat our business proposition with gravity and we’ve built an authority in the gender diversity space. That allows us to be able to connect with the top leadership at key companies, which has led us to our early revenue success.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We plan on making a couple strategic hires and investing in both sides of our marketplace: we want to improve our employer offering as well as grow our audience substantially.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
I would tell any fellow founder to bootstrap as long as humanly possible. Bootstrapping creates a discipline and forces you to look very closely at your product-market fit and demonstrate traction. If you can demonstrate traction for a good idea, the capital will come at some point. But no amount of capital can solve the problem of poor product-market fit and execution.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We believe Fairygodboss is going to be a resource that every woman in the workforce uses. Our goal is to support every employer who cares about retaining and recruiting women.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
I love eating at the bar at Mary’s Fish Camp.