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Diversio secures fresh capital to diagnose companies’ DEI pain points – TechCrunch



Committing to a diverse and inclusive workplace is one thing, but following through is another.

To help companies do this more effectively, Diversio is using artificial intelligence technology, data analytics and knowledgeable subject matter experts to find where the company’s process is breaking down and create a comprehensive action plan to get it back on track.

Today, the company announced $6.5 million in Series A funding from a group of investors including First Round Capital, Golden Ventures and Chandaria Family Holdings.

Laura McGee - Diversio

Laura McGee, Diversio CEO. Image Credits: Diversio

Laura McGee, co-founder and CEO, started the company in 2018 after doing diversity and inclusion consulting for corporate clients and the government that led her to do a lot of CEO roundtables. She kept hearing from them that while diversity was well understood, they didn’t know how to do it.

“We said, ‘we hear you,’ but there were no metrics or accountability, and those were the kinds of tools that will help us set targets and then actually drive change,” McGee told TechCrunch. “From our perspective, this is a software solution. This has got to be something that companies use on an ongoing basis, is tied to business records and ultimately provides evidence-based recommendations.”

Diversio’s software takes in survey data from employees and uses natural language processing algorithms to analyze the data. From that feedback, Diversio can identify specific problems that are preventing diverse employees from doing their best work. Then the company matches those pain points to action items pulled from a recommendation engine of 1,600 validated programs and policies from around the world.

The Series A is the company’s first institutional funding after raising $60,000 from angel investors and bootstrapping the company. In fact, fundraising for this particular business case was a challenge until she met Meka Asonye, partner at First Round. The questions in 2018 were around if companies would spend money in this area, McGee said.

Then in 2020, the world changed, particularly surrounding the death of George Floyd. That, and for a variety of reasons, diversity and inclusion were recognized as a critical business — and rightly so, McGee explained.

“Customers are expecting companies to take action, and investors are starting to ask questions when they allocate capital,” she added. “And then equally the risk is becoming ever greater. If as a company you undergo a scandal, there is really nothing that can bring you down faster.”

Since launching in 2018, Diversio has grown 300% year over year. Over the past 12 months, the company doubled its customers and is now working with about 400 customers, many that have come through working with investors across their portfolios, McGee said.

The new funding will enable the company to invest in its team. The company currently has 35 employees, and McGee’s plan is to double that by the end of the year, especially in the company’s new offices in London and New York. It will also work on product development, including more targeted and customized data analysis and the recommendation engine.

Next up, McGee expects to grow the company’s international footprint in Europe and the U.K. and grow more in North America. Diversio is also working on getting additional partnerships.

“The 30% Club is one example, and investors are another,” McGee added. “Our vision is establishing a set of inclusion metrics that are widely adopted and creating a platform and a system that allows companies to really learn from one another in order to refine the recommendation.”

Meanwhile, First Round’s Asonye said when talking to Diversio customers, they would tell him that they know they have a diversity and inclusion problem and didn’t know where to start, but having a platform like Diversio helped them not only measure, but then act, was a differentiator from other companies in the market.

And at a time when a lot of companies are raising money because it is a convenient time in the market, or they are raising money because they have to, it was “impressive” to see the way Diversio was able grow to the size and scope it did and to get to the number of customers essentially as a bootstrapped company, he added.

“One of the other really interesting things about the business is that this is a problem that hits medium companies, small companies and big companies, and despite the fact that you would think somebody would have this figured out, that’s not the case,” Asonye added. “They have the high-growth tech companies that go from 50 to 200 and start asking if they should be thinking about values. Almost every piece of the market actually has this sort of problem and is traveling to find the solution. That really resonated with us.”

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Dune: Awakening is an open world survival MMO



Dune: Awakening made its debut at The Game Awards as an open world survival massively multiplayer online game.

The game from Funcom and Nukklear looks beautiful, full of very detailed imagery of the desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune. The game asked for beta signups, but we got no other information. Survival is the key word. Dune is a very deadly world, with sandworms and an unforgiving climate.

You can see places in the trailer like the city of Arakeen by day and night, as well as desert biomes and more. It’s not clear when it is coming. With luck, it will be close to the second Dune movie coming in late 2023.

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Rumors confirmed, Street Fighter 6 kicks off in June 2023



Fighting Game fans are excited now that Capcom announced that Street Fighter 6 is coming to PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S and PC on June 2, 2023. The game was initially announced in February 2022, but that reveal did not include a specific release date beyond 2023.

The trailer at The Game Awards focused on new mini games and the international setting. In addition to the 18 previously announced fighter, the trailer also confirms that several new fighters — Dee Jay, Manon, Marisa and JP — that will join the game’s roster.

Notably, the June 2 release date for Street Fighter 6 may be a strategic choice for Capcom. June is the very beginning of Q3.

The last installment of the franchise — Street Fighter V — released nearly seven years ago so fans have been eager for another installment. A day before The Game Awards, the game’s June release date was leaked via the PlayStation Store.

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5 Things to Do Now to Propel Your Business in 2023



Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Entrepreneurship is a daily leap of faith. In times of economic uncertainty, that leap may feel like a dive off a cliff. We are in one of those times. It likely will take months to fully re-adjust to the forces that have pummeled the world’s economy, and to entrepreneurs, months can feel like years.

With the right playbook, entrepreneurs can survive and thrive in whatever economic scenario. Here are five things you can do to propel your business ahead now and through the difficulties of business cycles for years to come.

1. Learn the lessons of more challenging times

A rocky economy presents a unique opportunity to make tough decisions about the business plan. Everything is open to reexamination. How has the market changed? Are your customers facing challenges that create new opportunities for your solutions? How do new conditions change your assumptions, and what actions do you need to take in response?

Critically evaluate your product roadmap. Is this the time to pivot or become more aggressive with your current plans? Prioritize the highest margin features that are achievable in the next twelve months. Push out projects that don’t make that list, and re-assign resources accordingly. Re-assess pricing. Even as inflation tiptoes back from the highest levels in forty years, raw material and transportation costs remain way up. What will impact your customers if you adjust the pricing or add surcharges to offset these costs, at least temporarily?

It’s been a rough year for hiring. Many companies took the talent they could get. If there are employees or gig workers who would fare better in a different job, now is the time to let them go. Make tough-minded corrections that will pay off overall — corrections that might be avoidable in less challenging times.

Related: How to Turn Inflation and Recession into Your Largest Business Opportunity

2. Tighten your grip on cash

Venture capitalists are pulling back. In the third quarter, Crunchbase reported that funding for startups in U.S. and Canada fell 50% year-over-year. Valuations are down across the board. If you are fortunate enough to be a later-stage startup that benefited from VC largess in 2021, make your last raise last longer than intended.

Keep your dry powder dry, and put off going for another round until the markets even out. Reemphasize the basics for early-stage companies with less market validation and greater distance between now and a potential exit. Delay all capital expenditures. Leverage the hybrid work model if possible, to reduce rent and other office expenses. Continue with Zoom or Google Meet. Now is not the time to rack up travel costs. Re-negotiate fees and terms with service providers. Seek credit terms with key suppliers, in a word, bootstrap.

3. Talk to customers, in person. Now.

How have the business needs of your customers — whether paying or beta — changed over the last 18 months? Are there benefits to your solution that have more recognized value now? Nearly every business, for example, from corporates to startups, has been forced to re-learn the lessons of supply chain management. Startups that can help their customers make better business decisions based on artificial intelligence (AI), reduce costs by improving inventory management or protect against out-of-stock scenarios by identifying and building relationships with new, more local sources of supply will have an edge.

Related: Finding Validation in Serving Customers

4. Non-dilutive capital

According to PitchBook, venture capitalists are showing greater interest in portfolio companies “whose satellite, robotics and software tools can do double duty” in military and commercial markets. International conflicts are one reason, of course.

Another is that the defense and military security industries are generally viewed as recession-proof. Our firm routinely encourages portfolio companies to consider non-dilutive funding from the Small Business Administration — grants to support cutting-edge technologies range from $150,000 to more than $1 million.

Navigating the application process isn’t for the faint of heart. A startup must be realistic about the work involved, but in many states, there are resources to help. Besides the funding, severe responses to agency requests for proposals are reviewed and evaluated by technologists. At a minimum, this can be terrific feedback and a great source of industry contacts.

5. Blue-chip cultures attract blue-chip talent

Company culture can be an asset or a liability. An inclusive, rich culture helps key hires say yes. Finding stakeholders that believe what you believe and are aligned with your team’s values significantly improves the odds that they will stick with you in good times or bad.

After months of “great resignation” fever, the over-heated demand for talent may be cooling off. Maybe offers aren’t as fast or grand as they were a year ago. Maybe Twitter won’t be the only advanced technology business to let people go. Regardless, the search for great talent isn’t a faucet that a young company turns off and on. A startup might modulate the timing or the number of hires but stand at the ready to recruit and filter for culture fit.

Related: 3 Ways to Stay Competitive in the War for Talent

With the right mindset and intentional approach, an entrepreneur can make 2023 a year to strive and thrive. As Yogi Berra, my favorite baseball player of all time, said, “Swing at the strikes.” In business, like baseball, the right swing can turn even the most challenging pitch into a hit.

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