Startups

Tech startup Unify Jobs of Cleveland raises $4.5 million – Crain's Cleveland Business


Unify Jobs of Cleveland, a startup that describes itself as an “equitable hiring technology company,” announced it has raised a $4.5 million seed round.

The round was led by North Coast Ventures, with participation from Jumpstart Inc. and “several other well-established Cleveland-based investors,” Unify Jobs said in a news release issued Wednesday evening, June 22.

Unify Jobs is a spinoff of Unify Labs, a nonprofit founded and primarily funded in 2017 by Stephen McHale, Charlie Lougheed and Jim Hickey with a mission to “power inclusive prosperity by researching systems and technology that drive inequality, redesigning and launching alternative equitable solutions.” (Go here for a May 2021 profile of Unify Jobs/Unify Labs.) Unify Jobs said in the release that its skills-based hiring technology, called FlashHired, was developed and patented “over two years and 35,000 R&D hours.”

The nonprofit Unify Labs in 2019 released to its supported organizations, including Unify Jobs, a research and analytics platform known as Knowledge Product One, or KP1. The release noted that KP1 has “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.”

McHale — a longtime Cleveland tech entrepreneur who with Lougheed built a company called Explorys, a health data analytics software company that they sold to IBM — said 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,” he said in a statement.

The company in the release said a “limited market launch event” held at the end of March for a “select group of employers” 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.

“We are excited to see such a strong team taking an innovative approach to hiring,” said Todd Federman, managing director of North Coast Ventures, in a statement. “There are not many opportunities to back a multiple-time successful entrepreneur like Steve.”



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