From retail and restaurants to tech and media, contractors to coworking spaces, large, small, and everything in between, a diverse array of businesses call Alexandria home. In our blog series, Growing in Alexandria, we sit down to talk with businesses around the City to learn more about who they are, what they do, and why they love it here. Have an idea for a business in Alexandria to talk to? Email us!
This week, we met up with Stephanie Lampkin, Founder & CE0 of Blendoor, an enterprise software company that uses AI and people analytics to mitigate unconscious bias in hiring and retaining a diverse workforce. AEDP had a chat with her to learn more about her company!
AEDP: First off, how did you get started?
Stephanie: I started the company 5 years ago after a Google interview. Despite having an engineering degree from Stanford and an MBA from MIT, Google rejected me for an Analytic Lead role claiming I wasn’t quite technical enough, but better suited for a more sales or marketing role. My ‘aha moment’ came when soon thereafter Google and several other tech companies released their diversity numbers revealing that they were 30% women, 2% Black and, 3% Latinx. The explanation was it’s a pipeline problem (which I knew wasn’t the full story), so I build Blendoor to address the real challenges involved with hiring and retaining diverse talent.
AEDP: What is the biggest challenge of running your own business?
Stephanie: The biggest challenging in running an enterprise software business is product and subsequently capital. Unlike consumer-focused products or services businesses, B2B software has much higher standards to meet, so building and maintaining our products to serve the needs of our clients requires a lot more resources and capital to be successful wasn’t the full story), so I build Blendoor to address the real challenges involved with hiring and retaining diverse talent.
AEDP: What is the next big project or goal you are working on?
Stephanie: In response to the dearth of venture capital available to Black female founders (.0006% of all venture capital is given to Black female founders), I created a private network called Visible Figures which is comprised of 133 women who run venture-backed tech or tech-enabled companies. A lot of opportunities happen through the quality of your networks and access, so I my next big project is centered around leveraging my people analytics know-how to facilitate connecting underestimated geniuses to valuable people and opportunities that lead to positive outcomes.
AEDP: Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?
Stephanie: In the next year we will be a category leader in diversity analytics via our BlendScore product. In the next five years, we will likely be working with a large people analytics player in the space to advance our AI/ML capabilities and by 2030 Blendoor will be ubiquitous with professional people analytics.
AEDP: Do you have a favorite charity that you support?
Stephanie: Black Data Processing Associates; it’s the organization that I credit to introducing me to software development when I was only 13 years old.
AEDP: What is something no one knows about you? About your business?
Stephanie: Something very few people know about me is that my next big venture will be in education. I dream of creating a world-class boarding school (i.e., Hogwarts) for African American children of low socioeconomic backgrounds. Something very few people know about Blendoor is we’ve had to pivot quite a few times in order to find product-market fit thus in a way we’ve been 3 different startups.
AEDP: What’s your favorite thing about Alexandria? Why did you decide to locate in Alexandria?
Stephanie: Old Town. I have an inexplicable spiritual connection to this town. I often wonder if my ancestors passed through here as slaves. Alexandria is also home to several companies and nonprofits aligned with our mission to improve human resources, equity, and access to economic prosperity for all. Alexandria is one of the best places to be on the frontlines of the progress towards diversity and equity through policy, media, and governance.
To learn more about Blendoor, visit their website.