The never ending reverberating sound of diverse tech talent pipeline issues has finally met its match. Edlyft, the digital platform of study tools and online cohort-based support of the most sought-after student tech talent, is taking the $100 million diversity and inclusion tech market by storm. The company’s Co-Founders Erika Hairston and Arnelle Ansong are disrupting the industry by being the first place companies go to find, engage, and hire diverse technical early talent.
The Breakdown You Need To Know:
The tech industry has been exclusive and severely lacking in diversity. In order to effectively tackle this issue head on EdLyft has raised millions of dollars in venture capital funding. Some of the inventors include Kleiner Perkins, Village Global, Concrete Rose Capital, and notable angels like Jeff Weiner, as CultureBanx noted during its “Igniting Cultural Capital” session with UBS.
Hairston and Ansong became two of the youngest Black women to raise over $1 million and the road to getting there wasn’t paved in gold. “We expected fundraising to be difficult because Black women raise less than 1% of venture funding. We knew that we had to work twice as hard to get twice as much” said Hairston. She and Ansong persevered because they knew how great the need was for their platform EdLyft to increase diverse hiring across the sector.
Tech’s Hire Learning:
The diversity hiring in tech has been abysmal and stagnant. In the U.S. tech sector, 62% of jobs are held by white Americans. Black Americans hold 7% of tech jobs, Latinx Americans hold 8% of tech jobs, and Asian Americans hold 20% of tech jobs. Specifically, in 2019, Black Americans accounted for 14% of the national population but occupied just 7% of tech jobs. Not to mention that compared to industries in general, the high-tech industry employs a smaller proportion of Black Americans (7.4% versus 14.4%), Latinx Americans (8% versus 13.9%), according to Zippia.
In 2021, 44.5% of the people hired at Google
One of EdLyft’s early investors Sean Mendy, Co-Founding Partner at Concrete Rose Capital, spoke about the uniformity of tech being a big problem in the industry. “ Homogeneity of tech is the product of 400 years of institutional and structural bias and disctiniation.”
Ansong echoed similar sentiments and acknowledged the important role cultural capital plays in the tech sector. “We believe really strongly that who you know, who you’re seeing really impacts things. We want the students that we’re working with to be connected to the right people, and this network reinforces itself.”
Many big tech companies have promised up and down to do their part in changing these troubling statistics, fewer have made good on their word. As of 2020, 67% of tech companies are comprised of less than 5% Black employees. Most of the largest and most powerful tech companies around have only managed to improve their diversity statistics by a percentage or two in the past five years which is why companies like EdLyft are desperately needed in this industry.
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