Black Sister Duo Behind Growing Million Dollar Hiring App Share Their Best Career Advice
Deborah Gladney and Angela Muhwezi-Hall are the sister duo and creators behind QuickHire, a hiring platform that connects workers to service and skilled-trade jobs.
In November, QuickHire raised $1.41 million in an oversubscribed round of funding, making Gladney and Muhwezi-Hall the first Black women in Kansas to raise over $1 million for a startup, according to AfroTech.
The round is a pretty big deal because Black female startup founders received just 0.34% of the total $147 billion in venture capital invested in U.S. startups through the first half of 2021, according to Crunchbase.
QuickHire, which was launched in March 2022, released a finished product to the public in April 2021.
And as of April 2022, it has matched more than 11,000 job seekers with jobs at 60 mid- to large-size service industry companies in the Wichita, Kansas, and Kansas City metro areas.
But the journey hasn’t been easy.
The pair have weathered the uncertainties of the pandemic, saw racial unrest during the George Floyd protests, penny-pinched to invest $50,000 of their own savings, and experienced microaggressions while fundraising.
Gladney remembers pitching to investors and feeling like they had “every card stacked against us.”
They applied and got turned away from accelerator programs, “and it left a bad taste in our mouths. The reasons for why we were turned down just weren’t very clear. And it made us wonder, is it because we’re Black women doing this,” she told CNBC.
“We felt like we had to come to the table with more revenue or more validation than our counterparts because we knew that we weren’t going to be able to raise if we didn’t make it even more comfortable for [investors] to take a chance on us,” she added.
The biggest piece of career advice Gladney takes to the heart comes from a former boss: “Don’t ever let anybody see you sweat.”
“There’s just so much power in not giving other people the power in knowing that they won any situation over you,” Gladney says.
Muhwezi-Hall says the best advice she’s ever gotten was that you have to “go to grow.”
“Sometimes in life, and especially in careers, for you to find those opportunities of advancement and to widen your horizon, you have to get out of your comfort zone,” she says. “You have to take a chance on yourself.”