Kapor Capital, in partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs and Village Capital, hosted a pitch competition earlier today in Oakland, California, for startups that are working on revamping the old-school human resources industry and on technology to mitigate bias in the hiring process.
The judges, Kapor Capital Partner Freada Kapor Klein, Shauntel Poulson of Reach Capital and Laurence “Lo” Toney of Google Ventures, ultimately selected three winners: job candidate analysis solution Atipica and mobile job-matching app Blendoor each received a $25,000 investment from Kapor Capital, and Painless1099, a tool that automates tax withholding for freelancers and independent contractors, landed a $50,000 investment. Other participating companies included GapJumpers, Glassbreakers, GoToInterview, LaborX, SkillScout, Stemmed and Virgil.
The event, dubbed “People Operations Reinvented,” kicked off with a presentation by Kapor Klein, in which she touched on the current state of diversity in tech, and pointed out that diversity is not just gender. That’s been the way that many tech companies and investment firms in Silicon Valley have kicked off their diversity efforts, Kapor Klein said on stage, but when they say they’re going to start with gender, “by that they mean white women,” she said.
“So I think it’s really important to understand when we’re talking about diversity, we’re talking about women and we’re talking about the intersectionality with race, as well as other characteristics.”
Kapor Klein also referenced diversity data about how if you have a gender-diverse company, there’s a 15 percent greater financial performance, while ethnic diversity at the leadership and board level leads to a 35 percent greater financial performance, according to McKinsey. People operations technology is also a $5 billion market opportunity.
“We’re really interested in people ops because if you can change the makeup of the company and who has the ability to work at the company, I think you start to see better products built, which is something we believe should really happen,” Brian Dixon, Kapor Capital’s newest partner, told TechCrunch.
Diversity is a core part of Kapor Capital’s investment strategy. In its current portfolio, 48 percent of the startup founders are either have a female founder or someone from and underrepresented group. The goal right now, Dixon said, is to get that figure above 50 percent.
“As partner, that’s what I’m trying to continue to do,” Dixon said. “We’re still looking for the best companies. We’re still looking for companies that are going to be impact companies, but also have VC-like returns, so I think that’s what unique about Kapor Capital, is that not many early-stage firms have that focus, and we think we do it pretty well.”