Cleveland-based tech startup Unify Jobs raises $4.5m to enable diversity, equity and inclusion in hiring
Unify Jobs, an equitable hiring technology company, has raised a $4.5 million seed round led by North Coast Ventures with participation from Jumpstart and several other well-established Cleveland-based investors. The Unify Jobs skills-based hiring technology, FlashHired, was developed and patented by Unify Labs over two years and 35,000 R&D hours.
Unify Jobs is a spin-off of Unify Labs, a 509(a)(3) supporting non-profit founded and primarily funded in 2017 by Stephen McHale, Charlie Lougheed and Jim Hickey. Unify Labs was founded with the mission to power inclusive prosperity by researching systems and technology that drive inequality, redesigning and launching alternative equitable solutions. The Unify Labs impact venture model shares the equity created by its spin-offs with its supported organizations to further their charitable missions.
In 2019, after two years of researching systems and technology that drive inequality, Unify Labs released a research and analytics platform to their supported organizations known as Knowledge Product One (KP1). KP1 combines publicly available data and insights with local data to form rich content around the specific needs of Clevelanders. KP1 offers three key insights: not all economic growth is healthy, a knowledge economy can increase disparities, and there is a misalignment of labor to open livable wage jobs. This information led to a data walk with the community to review and discuss these insights via the Neighborhood Leadership Development Program, which seeks to uniquely develop the diverse leadership abilities of engaged Clevelanders committed to creating a city and region that works for everyone.
Led by longtime Cleveland tech entrepreneur Stephen McHale, Unify Jobs went into a six-month pilot phase after its formation in 2021. "As with any transformative technology, we've tested multiple iterations and focus on continual improvement. The insights garnered in our pilot were invaluable to making product adjustments that we attribute to the success of the limited market launch event held on March 31st and April 1st," McHale said. "It's clear there is another dynamic going in the labor market beyond The Great Resignation. Our analysis and success in getting people hired has unearthed what we believe to be The Great Realignment.''
Todd Federman, Managing Director, North Coast Ventures: "We are excited to see such a strong team taking an innovative approach to hiring. There are not many opportunities to back a multiple-time successful entrepreneur like Steve."
A select group of employers participated in the limited market launch event. The event demonstrated that job boards, which are volume-focused, cannot provide job seekers the access they need to key information about all the jobs that an individual can do and would like to do. This is especially important for those underrepresented and underserved in our communities. Unify Jobs is preparing for a full market launch later this summer.
FlashHired's skills and interest-based matching system for hiring eliminates the bias inherent in resume technology while masking job seeker identities until both stakeholders have expressed interest. This system enables hiring based on the most critical factors that are key to success at work: it is a job a person can do and would like to do.
Brian Heath, Chief Product and Analytics Officer, Unify Jobs: "The banks that participated in our hiring event filled teller roles with job seekers, of which 100% had no experience in banking and 80% were not looking for that role. Our match and fit technology not only showed seekers roles they had not considered but gave them the confidence to apply and be successful."