Stephanie Lampkin launched her first startup during her years in business school. She spent two years putting her concept to the test. When it became clear that the concept just wasn’t going to take off, she decided it was time to throw in the towel and go back to the corporate world, where, much to her surprise, she was turned down for a position.
Her recruiter validated her fear that this company had never “hired a non-white individual for the position,” despite the fact that she’d been coding since age 13, had received a BS in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University, her MBA from MIT Sloan, and had 13 years of experience at companies such as Lockheed, Deloitte, Microsoft and TripAdvisor.
That experience inspired Lampkin to start her second venture, Blendoor, a mobile job matching app that masks an applicant’s name, photo and age to circumvent unconscious bias so companies can match with the most qualified and diverse candidates possible. She started to delve into research that supported her thinking.
“This happens quite frequently to individuals who are underrepresented,” said Lampkin. “What’s worse, companies are missing out on hiring top talent.”
The studies demonstrated how two identical resumes with only a change in the applicant’s name (i.e., Joe to Jose) could yield a 100 percent difference in the response rate. Through Blendoor, Lampkin’s goal is to highlight the skills and experience that’s most relevant to determining whether or not a candidate is a “good fit” for the hiring company, independent of race, gender, ability, military history or sexual orientation. The applicants are able to view employers’ resource groups, inclusion programs and diversity in the companies’ executive leadership teams.
In June 2015, Lampkin started working with Pipeline Angels in San Francisco. Pipeline Angels is a network of new and seasoned women investors working to change the face of angel investing and create capital for women social entrepreneurs. By August 2015, a commitment had been made and Lampkin closed her deal in November. The deal gave her the much-needed $40,000 in capital to take her app to a UI designer and backend developer to polish it up for future users.
“In addition to the funding, what came as a huge bonus was the power behind Pipeline Angels’ public relations efforts that allowed Blendoor to hit the market in a big way,” said Lampkin. “We held a launch party at SXSW, got recognition in Forbes, NPR, Fast Company and TechCrunch.”
Pipeline also secured several speaking engagements for Lampkin, all of which helped get Blendoor to its second round of seed funding.
This fall, Lampkin will continue to attend multiple conferences.
“I like to go where the people are and share my personal story and how I’ve evolved Blendoor as a solution for people who are facing the same challenges that I did,” said Lampkin. “It’s interesting to discover other entrepreneurs out there as well. I encourage them to find a problem and solve it really well locally, then begin the process of scaling your concept.”
According to Pipeline Angels, in 2014, only 26 percent of U.S. angel investors were women and only 8 percent were minorities, according to the Center for Venture Research. Pipeline Angels holds a signature bootcamp for new investors and a signature pitch summit for startups looking for funding. More than 200 women have graduated from the bootcamp and have collectively invested over $2 million in more than 30 companies through Pipeline’s pitch summit process.
Blendoor is based in San Francisco. Learn more at blendoor.com.
Contact the Center for Social Enterprise Development at [email protected] to learn more about current Pipeline Angels initiatives that are underway in Central Ohio, or visit pipelineangels.com to learn more.