Don’t think “people operations technology” sounds sexy? Freada Kapor Klein will tell you otherwise.
Kapor Klein, 63, has been investing her time and money in closing opportunity gaps for decades — long before inclusion and diversity became Silicon Valley buzzwords.
She and husband Mitch Kapor are the dynamic duo behind Kapor Center for Social Impact, which encompasses the nonprofit Kapor Klein founded in 2001, Level Playing Field Institute, and the for-profit investment arm Kapor Capital.
Lately, Kapor Klein has been eying tech startups trying to reinvent the area of people operations, or human resources.
“We feel very strongly that this is going to be a huge space,” she told CNNMoney. “Given the changing demographics of the U.S., given the renewed attention to diversity and inclusion, we think this will raise the floor for what companies have to be doing.”
In November, Kapor Capital hosted People Ops Reinvented, along with Google for Entrepreneurs and Village Capital.
Ten startups that are focused on workforce diversity and inclusion pitched their companies for a chance to win $100,000 in funding.
Eileen Carey pitched her enterprise software startup Glassbreakers at the event. Glassbreakers launched over a year ago as a consumer app to help professional women find peer mentors. It’s since shifted to help women connect with one another within companies that have at least 10,000 employees.
While Carey didn’t win the pitch session, she did attract Kapor Klein’s attention.
Kapor Capital contributed to Glassbreakers’ $2 million round of funding, which Carey and cofounder Lauren Mosenthal announced on Wednesday.
According to Kapor Klein, Glassbreakers has the potential to help companies change their culture and make women feel included.
“When you see someone who looks like you at your job — who is also a mom [for example] — it sends a message loud and clear that you can be successful as a mom in this company,” said Kapor Klein.
Eventually Glassbreakers’ goal is to replicate what it’s doing for women with other minority groups, including LGBT employees and veterans.
Jopwell, another startup that falls into the people operations space, also announced fresh funding from Kapor Capital on Wednesday.
Jopwell closed $3.25 million from Kapor and other big-name backers like Andreessen Horowitz and Magic Johnson Enterprises.
It is a recruiting platform that aims to solve the commonly cited pipeline issue by creating a resource for employers to find minority job candidates. The startup, which went through Y Combinator, is only one year old but is already being used by companies like McKinsey, Goldman Sachs(GS) and Facebook(FB, Tech30).
Jopwell’s approach is just a start to increase diversity in companies, said Kapor Klein. Another Kapor Capital investment, Interviewing.io, addresses bias in the interview process by making engineering candidates anonymous.
“We need to look at how all of the tech tools can fit together,” said Kapor Klein.
Kapor Capital will make 15 to 20 investments this year. The firm plans to put $25 million into startups over the next three years. It has traditionally invested in startups solving problems in education, finance and justice. But people operations technology is just warming up.