Diversio uses AI to uncover bias in companies and recommend solutions.
Toronto-based Diversio is on a mission to help companies eliminate barriers to diversity and inclusion. The four-year-old startup recently secured $8.13 million CAD ($6.5 million USD) to further develop its platform geared towards that goal.
Diversio garnered the investment from First Round Capital, a United States-based early-stage fund that has bet on the likes of Uber and Warby Parker. Golden Ventures also took part in the round, as did Chandaria Family Holdings.
Founded in 2018, Diversio had previously only raised $60,000 USD in angel investment. The company’s new Series A funding closed in late 2021.
“After more than two years of building the platform, proving the model, and showing rapid, consistent success, we’re extremely excited to continue this journey with the additional resources and guidance that First Round and Golden Ventures bring to the table,” said Diversio CEO Laura McGee.
Diversio plans to use the capital to further develop its platform, which measures, tracks, and provides solutions to improve diversity and inclusion (D&I). Diversio has worked with organizations like The City of Toronto, Ceridian, and fellow Canadian startup Sheertex.
Last year, Diversio penned a deal with The City of Toronto, launching a certification program requiring participating companies to uphold certain standards of equity and D&I.
An initial group of 80 public and private organizations took part, including The City of Toronto, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Interac Corp., Hudson Bay Company, Accenture, and Indigo.
The program builds on Diversio’s existing certification pledge for companies, which it offers in addition to an assessment and certification program for venture capital firms. Since the latter program was launched in 2020, over 40 funds across Europe and North America have joined, including OMERS, 500 Startups, and Bessemer Venture Partners.
RELATED: Canada, UK group to create global industry standard for inclusivity in VC
Diversio also plans to use its newfound capital to amplify its marketing efforts and expand its sales and client success teams. The startup currently employs 50 people between full and part-time employees.
Equity and D&I are ongoing issues within the workforce. People of colour, women, and persons with disabilities, among others that are viewed as minority groups, often face underrepresentation and wage gaps.
While younger generations are demanding inclusive companies – Diversio points to one-third having left their company for a more inclusive one – and organizations are starting to speak more about D&I, gaps still persist.
Data also shows that having a diverse team leads to better returns overall.
In Canada, diversity is becoming increasingly mandated for public companies, with disclosure rules tracking the breakdown of company boards. However, 2021 data shows a diverse group of board members is still rare; “very little progress” has been made for women at the executive officer level and the numbers are abysmal for “visible minorities” and people with disabilities.
Within the framework, Diversio’s goal is to help organizations create “meaningful opportunities” for underrepresented employees.
Having started from its base in Toronto, Diversio has since expanded outside of Canada. Around 50 percent of its customer base sits outside Canada, and the company plans to grow its team in both the US and the United Kingdom.
“Our goal is to help organizations worldwide create meaningful opportunities for underrepresented employees,” said McGee. “We see a future where inclusion is central to HR and business strategy, and we are focused on building a world-class DEI platform to accelerate that shift.”