Q&A: InHerSight

by David Dean Menzies

DURHAM, N.C. -- SoarTriangle, a program of NC IDEA, has many stakeholders in the quest to help female entrepreneurs overcome the funding gap facing them in their quest to start scalable businesses. InHerSight, a unique company collecting anonymous company reviews from working women and matching them with work environments, is one of five promising female-led startups chosen for the 2016-17 SoarTriangle cohort mentorship program. Company Founder and CEO, Ursula Mead, shares some interesting details about her company in this Startup TechWire Q&A.

When was your company founded and why? 
We started InHerSight in early 2014 with the goal of helping women find great companies, and helping companies recruit and retain more women. There’s a lot of momentum these days behind improving the workplace for women, and companies have more incentive than ever to make sure they are building female-friendly, gender diverse environments. But I couldn’t see how we could get there without better, more actionable information for both women and companies.

That's why we built InHerSight, a company ratings platform for women, where we are measuring the opinions of women about their work environments. Through anonymous ratings and reviews, we’re measuring the reality of our workplaces and what company policies and cultures actually mean for the women who are experiencing them. When I started looking for these kinds of insights, I couldn’t believe it hadn’t been done before.

Where is your HQ and how many employees do you have? 
We’re based out of Durham at American Underground, a great fit given our shared focus on diversity, and while our core founding team is made up of three people, we’re joined by seven amazing women who have been working with us to help build the company.

What are your company’s core products or services?  
InHerSight is where women go for a better workplace. We help women find and improve workplaces using their insights into company cultures. More than 100,000 women (and men!) have contributed to InHerSight’s database. We have ratings for more than 18,000 workplaces and those numbers increase daily.

Our 3-minute rating process allows women (and men!) to quickly and anonymously score current and former employers on 14 different categories like paid parental leave, schedule flexibility, female representation in leadership, and more. We turn all those ratings into scorecards that show where companies excel and where they need to improve. By gathering individual evaluations together, we’ve created a searchable resource that speaks volumes about what’s working and what’s not at the industry and company level.

We also actively engage employers, giving them the ability to showcase their brands, highlight company benefits, and advertise open jobs to the thousands of women coming to InHerSight every day.

Who are some recognizable members of your leadership team? 
Before starting InHeSight, our founding team spent many years working together at The Motley Fool building products together to help the world invest better. Ursula Mead, our CEO, was the VP of Premium Services at The Motley Fool; Adam Hill, our lead developer, was CTO of The Motley Fool; and Daniel Stapleton, our Chief Product Officer, was the lead User Experience Designer for The Motley Fool’s premium services.

What are your differentiators from competitors? 
There’s something a lot of other platforms, best-companies-for-women lists and advice columns miss that our platform embraces, and that’s that all women are different! Let’s face it, success and “having it all” mean different things to different women at different times in their lives and careers — whether it’s making it to all of your daughter’s soccer games, being able to work your way to the c-suite, finding a culture of learning and development, or some combination of these. And we’ve built a platform that reflects that.

Women rate their companies on 14 different categories that were designed, through testing and research, to reflect what women care about and what companies can affect. This broad set of categories allows us to deliver a personalized top company list to each person visiting our site based on the categories she cares about most given the stage of her career and her personal life goals.

Does your company develop new technologies or re-apply existing technologies to solve a problem?  
Crowdsourced ratings technology is already being used to change and improve lots of things, from the travel industry to public policy, so we figured why not gender equality?

As we know from other crowd-sourced ratings platforms like TripAdvisor and Angie’s List, the more people who participate, the more valuable and useful the information becomes.This approach requires a lot of participation, which is why the most important thing we’re asking women to do now is to rate their workplaces and help us spread the word on social media, to organizations they’re a part of, and especially to other women at their companies.

Who are your customers?  
We built InHerSight to give women the tools and resources to make the right professional decisions for them. But our platform doesn’t just help women make better career decisions.  InHerSight is a valuable tool for companies looking to reach and connect with female talent. You can find out more about our employer offerings here: https://www.inhersight.com/employer

What problems does your company solve?  
The insights we’re gathering from our company ratings provide transparency for employees and employers alike:

- Our ratings help women make smarter decisions about what companies they want to work for based on issues that are relevant to their lives, whether it’s career growth, family-friendly policies, or something else.

- Our scorecards allow employers to see how their policies are perceived (good, bad and neutral); those that want to attract and retain top female talent can use the feedback and our collective data to develop a workplace that supports women.

Please share any examples of situations where your products or services achieved a positive result for clients. 
We get daily emails from women thanking us for providing this service. Just the other day we got an email from a woman who told us that she used our website to help her decide between job offers from two major consulting firms. And another one from a mom on unpaid maternity leave who used our data to target her job applications to companies that had positive ratings for “family support” in her area.

What new products or services will you be rolling-out in 2017?  
We’ve got a lot of exciting things in the works, but one of the areas we’re building out is analytics for companies looking to gain a deeper understanding of how their policies are perceived internally and how they measure up externally.

What makes your company relevant to the future of your industry?
In just a few short years, women will be more than 50% of the workforce and talent pool, and yet experts say we are still decades away from gender equality at work. There's a lot of work to be done and we have the data we need to start doing it.

Will your company be participating in any upcoming trade shows or other events, or are you being featured in any upcoming industry publications?
We regularly publish our research on our Data and Insights Blog.  Often this data is regularly picked up by news and business publications.

Where can people go to find out more information?
Our website is https://www.inhersight.com

Startup TechWire - Reporting on business, innovation, and education for America's vibrant startup community | David Menzies | 919-274-6862 | Writer and Public Relations Consultant | Editor StartupTechWire.com | startuptechwire@gmail.com | www.daviddeanmenzies.com