PowerToFly Raises $6.5 Million To Bridge Hiring’s Gender Gap

Bridging tech’s gender diversity gap one job placement at a time, PowerToFly, the online hiring platform for women, has raised $6.5 million in its latest round of funding.

The company — founded by Katharine Zaleski, a former manager at The Huffington Post and The Washington Post, and Milena Berry, the former chief technology officer at Avaaz — aims to place experienced women in jobs where they can work remotely.

After raising $1 million in a seed round led by Lerer-Hippeau Ventures in July, the company has managed to land its latest round from institutional investors led by Crosslink Capital with participation from Hearst Ventures and its previous investor.

Initially, the company focused on the technology sector that Berry knew well, but has since expanded into other areas including writing and editorial; marketing and public relations; sales; and operations, according to the two founders.

“We weren’t planning on raising money when we raised,” said Zaleski. Rather, with so much room to run ahead of the company, the two founders thought they’d accelerate their growth.

The company has already processed about $2.5 million in pay for women since its launch in August 2014, and has placed at least 54 women in positions over that time, according to a cursory study of the company’s website.

PowerToFly founders Milena Berry and Katharine Zaleski

PowerToFly founders Milena Berry and Katharine Zaleski

Women can post profiles for free on the site and companies can likewise search for potential candidates freely. PowerToFly is only paid when a woman from the site is hired for a position. The company takes care of handling payments and managing the contract, the two co-founders said.

Though the company has expanded beyond the technology vertical, roughly 75% of its placements are in the tech category (and, arguably, few verticals are in as dire need of gender diversification as the tech industry).

“When they’re investing in diversity, they come to PowerToFly to get some of their pipeline,” says Berry of the nearly 1,000 companies that are already listing jobs on the site.

“When you get to be most experienced in your 30s, and that is when you start having a family and it’s difficult to be in a company culture that judges you on your hours at a desk vs. how much work you do,” says Zaleski.

In addition to its online job-placement platform, the company’s founders also tout its community of commenters and developers — the “virtual water-cooler” that PowerToFly has put together to keep its users coming back to the site.

“Since we started in August 2014 we’ve seen incredible demand from hiring managers to bring on more women in technical roles, as well as other positions. At BuzzFeed [founded by PowerToFly investor Jonah Peretti], alone, we’ve placed over two-dozen women because the company understands that to bring on top female talent, you shouldn’t judge them on hours spent in the office” said Katharine Zaleski, Co-Founder and President of PowerToFly, in a statement.