Janice Omadeke, founder and CEO of an Austin, Texas-based tech startup called The Mentor Method, has raised $1.4 million in seed funding to galvanize workplace inclusion and equity by reshaping mentorship experiences in support of diverse, rising talent. As of December 2020, only 93 other Black women have raised $1 million or more in venture capital.
Every company committing to social justice needs to include mentorship as a part of their action plan. Mentorship is a proven way to propel workplace inclusion and equity, but the process of finding a high-quality mentor has historically been inequitable. Most people want a mentor, but fewer than 40 percent of people find one. Companies often find attrition rates higher among diverse talent, and turn to The Mentor Method for an affordable, easy-to-implement, scalable solution that enables diverse talent to connect, share valuable career lessons, and have support with navigating career challenges so that they are more likely to succeed, stay, and develop into empowered leaders.
The Mentor Method, whose current clients include Deloitte and the U.S. Department of Education, has a patent-pending algorithm that removes the bias in the mentorship process, leverages potential compatibility to find matches, and then features a customizable framework focused on professional development and relationship building between matches. It helps identify and sustain meaningful mentor-mentee relationships.
“What really sets us apart is our focus on sustainable relationships, because like any other important relationship, whether it be friendship, romantic or professional, you need to have a connection between both people to really learn from each other, get something out of it, and to maintain that level of engagement,” explained Janice. “Our algorithm includes the chemistry component as well as making sure that people are learning from industry leaders within their place of employment.”
“Draper Associates is proud to announce a new investment into The Mentor Method. Led by extraordinary Founder Janice Omadeke, The Mentor Method technology and methodology change corporate life, allowing the more experienced employees to bring the novices up to speed,” said Venture Capitalist Tim Draper. “We believe The Mentor Method will allow for a more engaging, supportive environment for employees everywhere.”
In addition to Draper Associates, other investors in The Mentor Method include Alumni Ventures Group, Chris Pacitti from Elsewhere Partners, MATH Venture Partners, Sorenson Impact Fund, and Backstage Capital.
“Any person who finds themselves in the right mentor-mentee pair knows how deeply personal and impactful that one-to-one relationship is and what kinds of doors can be opened through the relationship,” Chris Pacitti said. “The way that The Mentor Method is uniquely leveraging technology to support businesses with increasing workplace equity by finding and sustaining the right pairs is unprecedented, and Elsewhere Partners is excited to work alongside Janice Omadeke and her team to create transformational change at scale.”
Janice, whose parents immigrated to Washington D.C. from the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a child, watched as her dad completed a mentorship program that inevitably enabled him to get security clearance and get a job in the private sector, impacting the trajectory of life for her whole family. She saw firsthand how a great mentorship experience for the betterment of that person’s career, like her parents, can actually open doors and change life’s trajectory for an entire family or community. This new funding enables that personal change to happen at scale in diverse communities and businesses.
“This seed funding will enable The Mentor Method to be utilized by more businesses to scale equitable change, impacting the company, the people, their families, and communities,” explains Janice. “I am very thankful to have found such incredible investors who believe in and support both The Mentor Method and the diverse talent who benefit from our service.”
Janice is a 2020 Austin Under 40 nominee and winner of DivInc’s Champion of Change Diversity Champion of the Year for the city of Austin. Black Enterprise recognizes Omadeke as one of DC’s top 5 Black women in tech. She is certified in Entrepreneurship from MIT and is PMP certified with over 10 years of corporate leadership experience for Fortune 500 companies.