Textio has made plenty of headlines recently as companies like Twitter, Microsoft, Starbucks and Square have publicly talked about how they’re using technology from this 10-person Seattle startup to attract more diverse workforces.
CEO Kieran Snyder goes so far as to say almost every major tech company you can name has either tried their offering or is in talks to do so sometime soon.
Not bad, considering Textio’s tools have only been commercially available since July.
The company announced on Wednesday that it rode this wave of new customers to $8 million in series A funding. The round was led by Emergence Capital, one of the top software-as-a-service investors, known for backing companies like Salesforce, Box and Yammer.
It follows $1.5 million the company raised in February from Cowboy Ventures, Bloomberg Beta and Upside Partnership.
Textio tells GeekWire it plans to use the money to move into a new downtown Seattle headquarters early next year, at least double its headcount in 2016 and launch new tools.
The key to Textio’s offering is the use of artificial intelligence to sift through job postings and make recommendations for edits based on what kind of language is going to appeal — or scare away — certain demographics. For instance, if you use words like “manage a team” or “proven track record,” Texio says you’re going to get more male applicants. Phrases like “passion for learning” and “develop a team,” meanwhile, will attract more women.
The company says job openings that use its tools usually get filled 20 percent faster and attract applications from about 12 percent more underrepresented minorities.
The tool hit the market at an opportune time, as the technology industry has become acutely aware of its diversity issues over the past couple of years. Companies like Microsoft and Twitter have vowed to make changes — and Textio is one of the tools they’re using to move the needle.
Snyder says about 40 percent of the company’s 2,500 customers are tech companies, 25 percent are from the finance industry and 33 percent include everything from Major League Baseball, to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Textio was founded in 2014, after Snyder conducted research on gender bias in performance reviews in the tech industry. Snyder is a linguistics expert who previously worked at Amazon and Microsoft’s Bing unit. Co-founder and CTO Jensen Harris, meanwhile, spent 16 years at Microsoft, including stints running the user experience teams for Outlook, Office and Windows.
Earlier this month, Textio was named into GeekWire’s Seattle 10, our annual list of the city’s most promising startups.