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Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Laura McGee, founder and CEO of Diversio, an AI-based DEI platform that has raised over $6 million in funding. Join us as we delve into Laura’s journey from Canadian origins to leading a New York-based startup, her insights on the evolution of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, and how Diversio is driving meaningful change across industries.

  • Diversio’s Genesis: The platform was born out of a recurring problem Laura observed among CEOs during her consulting days — a genuine belief in the value of DEI but a stark lack of tools and data to implement effective strategies.
  • The Power of Data-Driven Insights: Diversio sets itself apart by offering a comprehensive, data-driven DEI platform that not only identifies areas for improvement but also recommends tangible solutions and tracks the progress of implemented strategies.
  • Overcoming Industry Hurdles: Laura discusses the challenges of navigating a domain where fear of imperfection can deter action on DEI initiatives, emphasizing the importance of a pragmatic, step-by-step approach to fostering inclusivity.
  • Rising Above the Noise: Despite the crowded DEI technology space, Diversio’s focus on delivering recognized metrics and its capability to cater to a diverse range of stakeholders — from marketing to legal departments — have been crucial to its success.
  • Impact Stories: Laura shares touching feedback from companies that have seen real, positive changes in their workplace culture as a result of implementing Diversio’s recommendations, underscoring the platform’s tangible impact on employees’ lives.
  • The Future Vision: Looking ahead, Diversio aims to become the go-to DEI platform for HR professionals, expanding its product suite to touch every aspect of the employee lifecycle and integrate DEI into the core of company cultures.

Actionable
Takeaways

Bootstrap to Build Product Excellence:

Laura emphasized the importance of bootstrapping in the early stages of Diversio, which compelled the team to focus on building a product that genuinely solved customer problems. For founders, investing in product development and user experience can be more beneficial than early financial injections for customer acquisition.

Leverage Personal and Professional Networks for Initial Traction:

In the absence of a marketing budget, Laura and her team used their networks to gain introductions and build early traction. Founders should not underestimate the power of their networks, including professional associations and personal connections, to get those crucial early users and feedback.

Focus on a Niche to Stand Out in a Crowded Market:

Despite the crowded DEI solutions space, Diversio carved out a niche by focusing on data-driven insights and specific DEI outcomes. For founders, finding a unique angle or addressing a specific pain point overlooked by others can be key to standing out.

Iterate Based on Real-world Feedback and Expanding Market Needs:

Diversio's evolution from focusing on data collection to expanding their product suite to cover the entire employee lifecycle illustrates the importance of adapting to market needs and feedback. Founders should remain flexible and responsive to feedback, ready to pivot or expand their offerings to better serve their customers and address market gaps.

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