Joonko raises $25m., enabling huge US companies to hire diversely

The company was founded in order to help companies hire more underrepresented individuals. Here's what it has planned.

 The team at Joonko. (photo credit: AVISHAG SHAAR-YASHUV)
The team at Joonko.
(photo credit: AVISHAG SHAAR-YASHUV)

Connections are everything when it comes to getting hired. The old adage has rung true for decades, but there are those who might say that such a rule could lead to pretty serious exclusion for underrepresented individuals – so why not build a company to solve the problem?

“While many companies rely on referrals to fill open roles, the data shows this can lead to a homogeneous workforce. As a woman in tech, I saw this as a major roadblock to hiring underrepresented talent,” said llit Raz, Joonko’s founder and CEO.

“While many companies rely on referrals to fill open roles, the data shows this can lead to a homogeneous workforce. As a woman in tech, I saw this as a major roadblock to hiring underrepresented talent.”

llit Raz, Joonko’s founder and CEO

What is Joonko?

Founded in 2016, Raz’s company is an automated workforce sourcing platform focused solely on helping underrepresented candidates get hired. The company is trusted to accomplish this task by a variety of global enterprises, such as Adidas, PayPal and Crocs.

The company is continuing to grow, as illustrated by a recent Series B financing round to the tune of $25 million, which brings Joonko’s total funding to over $38m. The round was led by Insight Partners, with support from Target Global and existing investors Kapor Capital and Vertex Ventures Israel; and was joined by influential diversity and inclusion leaders who also sit on the Joonko Advisory Board.

“Our entire portfolio and companies everywhere are hyper-focused on building and maintaining a diverse workforce because it leads to a better culture and better returns,” said Liad Agmon, managing director at Insight Partners. “Joonko has the team, product and vision to help businesses get there faster, which is why we’re thrilled to invest in this awe-inspiring company.”

So how many people has Joonko hired?

Over the past two years, Joonko’s sales have grown by 500%, highlighting the growing emphasis on diverse hiring in the US. According to the company, the average business leveraging its platform sees a 25% increase in underrepresented candidates in their hiring funnel, and hires one-in-six of the candidates sourced through the platform. Within the platform, 97% of candidates identify as underrepresented in the workforce – 68% as women or non-binary, 32% as black, and 21% as Latin. Companies are able to fill their most strategic roles with Joonko, as 64% of candidates are middle or senior management and 53% are in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Rachel Williams, chief diversity and inclusion officer at The Motley Fool, a contributor to the latest funding round, said, “Over the last few years, I’ve seen many companies pivot to add DE&I [diversity, equity and inclusion] to their platforms. Joonko is the first company that started with a focus on underrepresented talent to support organizations with an inclusive hiring strategy. I’m thrilled to help Joonko build additional features to ensure equitable outcomes for talented people and their future employers.”

“Our entire portfolio and companies everywhere are hyper-focused on building and maintaining a diverse workforce because it leads to a better culture and better returns. Joonko has the team, product and vision to help businesses get there faster, which is why we’re thrilled to invest in this awe inspiring company.”

Liad Agmon, managing director at Insight Partners

What is Joonko looking for with the funding it has? 

With the funding, Joonko is looking to increase the headcount in its US co-headquarters in New York, NY alongside its existing headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel. With US-based businesses representing 100% of Joonko customers, the company is doubling down on its US presence with plans to grow its workforce by 70% by the end of the year.

Said Raz upon the closing of the successful round, “Joonko puts the spotlight on the overlooked – including ‘silver medalist candidates’ who made it to the final stages at top companies but didn’t get the job. By combining a world-class talent pool with AI-powered software, we’ve become a must-have recruiting tool. Today’s funding will allow us to expand access even further so we can change the makeup of companies everywhere.”

Joonko is also welcoming Albrey Brown as general manager of US & VP of strategy. Brown previously built and oversaw a variety of DE&I programs at companies like DocuSign and Pivotal Software, and most recently at Airtable, where he served as the first Head of Diversity and Inclusion.

“While there are many recruiting platforms out there, Joonko is the first and only platform that focuses exclusively on the underrepresented – putting it front and center of the product, values and mission.”

Albrey Brown

“While there are many recruiting platforms out there, Joonko is the first and only platform that focuses exclusively on the underrepresented – putting it front and center of the product, values and mission,” he said. “After dedicating the majority of my career to helping companies prioritize underrepresented talent, it was immediately clear that Joonko is where I’d be able to make an impact on a much larger scale.”