MBA Program: ESADE Business School
Industry: HR/People Analytics
Founding Student Names: Sophie van Gool
Brief Description of Solution: We are a People Analytics startup on a mission to close the gender and diversity gap by supporting organizations that create truly equal opportunities. We use advanced analytics to identify gaps in recruitment, promotion, retention, and compensation. From there, we help organizations fix the gap by developing a diversity and inclusion strategy and implementing solutions, such as revised hiring processes to eliminate bias. We help organizations that want to attract, promote, and retain the best talent and tap into the huge untapped potential of the talent pool of women and underrepresented groups.
Funding Dollars: No external funding. Currently bootstrapping with initial revenue.
What led you to launch this venture? Before my MBA, I was working at the Boston Consulting Group. In my office, there was only one woman in leadership (4% of the total). The World Economic Forum estimates that it will take 106 years before the gender gap is closed, but I believe we can do it faster and I want to use my skills to do it.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with your venture? I am proud to have acquired two large clients (Volkswagen and a major law firm) and to run two (paid) pilot projects while also completing my MBA classes. These first successes inspired me to quit my job at BCG and become a full-time entrepreneur after my MBA!
How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? Our Entrepreneurship class inspired me to stop thinking and start doing, which is the best advice for any aspiring entrepreneur. I had the idea before coming to ESADE, but I would not have had the guts, focus, and determination to actually go for it without my MBA.
What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? Sara Blakely’s story on the podcast How I Built This has inspired me: She started Spanx on her own, without knowing much about business or fashion, eventually becoming the youngest self-made female billionaire in the United States. She did not get any funding and still owns 100% of her business, all because of her vision, hard work, and persistence.
Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? Definitely Entrepreneurship! Professor Jan Brinckmann taught me that rather than spending lots of time creating perfect ideas and business plans, I should just start speaking to potential clients. I took his advice to heart and made my first big sale soon after the class finished.
What is your long-term goal with your startup? Our mission is to close the gender and diversity gap in the workplace. We want to guarantee that employers everywhere provide equal opportunities and equal pay for equal work. We want to leverage the power of data, create more transparency, and become the Glassdoor for diversity and inclusion, helping women and other underrepresented groups find jobs and companies they love.