The news: Included, a Seattle startup that helps companies manage diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts, raised a $3.5 million seed round. The fresh funding follows a $1.9 million pre-seed round raised last year.
Why it matters: Companies are prioritizing DEI more than ever, and Included is riding that trend. It provides AI-powered tools that generate diversity-related metrics, starting from the hiring process all the way through an employee’s experience.
More tailwinds: There are other forces helping drive business for Included, which is growing revenue 400% year-over-year, according to CEO and co-founder Raghu Gollamudi. They include a hot talent market — “investment in diversity recruitment is a competitive edge,” Gollamudi said — in addition to new regulations that require companies to measure diversity of a workforce.
Leadership: Gollamudi, who just won Startup CEO of the Year honors at the GeekWire Awards, was a principal development lead at Microsoft for nine years before helping co-found privacy tech startup Integris Software, which sold to OneTrust in 2020. Other co-founders include Chandan Golla, who worked at Integris and eBay, and Laura Close, whose background includes career consulting and work with labor organizations. There are nearly 20 employees at the company.
Investors: Trilogy Equity Partners, which just raised a new fund, led the round, which included participation from Flying Fish Partners, SignalFire, and Alumni Ventures.
Last word: “Our customers are using Included to organize and automate DEI operations and drive higher rates of diversity sourcing and conversion to hire,” Gollamudi told GeekWire.