Although impressive strides have been made to make the workforce more inclusive recently, still 56% of workers think that companies should be doing more to recruit and hire from the LGBTQ+ community and almost 20% believe employers have negative attitudes towards LGBTQ+ hiring. myGwork is a professional community and network focused exclusively on the needs of this community and its supporters. The free network, which currently has over 300,000 members, offers resources for employers and prospective employees to connect, features events and news, and offers a mentorship program; the company charges corporate members on a tiered schedule.
London TechWatch caught up with brothers and Cofounders Adrien Gaubert and Pierre Gaubert to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s traction, expansion plans, first institutional round of funding, and much, much more…
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
The investors are 24Haymarket, we raised £750K in Seed investment.
Tell us about your product or service.
We are a business community for LGBTQ+ graduates, professional, inclusive employers, and workplace equality advocates.
Our individual members can learn about greater job opportunities, connect online with like-minded professionals, find mentors to progress their career. It helps employers demonstrate their commitment to an inclusive culture to current and prospective employees.
What inspired the start of myGwork?
When we finished high school and left our small town in the south of France, we were excited to begin our new lives and form connections with the wider LGBTQ+ community.
We had big dreams and when our mother raised concerns about us being out at work we dismissed them as being out of touch with the modern world. We were sure we would be accepted for who we are and rewarded for the hard work we would put into our new jobs.
However, the reality was different, and we had to face the fact that not all people are accepting and not every workplace is inclusive. After both of us experienced harassment and exclusion from our colleagues and from management, we decided to create myGwork.
How is it different?
With myGwork we want our community to feel empowered and united. We are the first professional and social alternative to LGBTQ+ dating websites and apps.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We currently have two main markets:
- inclusive employers (+100,000 potential customers and + £500 million in potential revenue)
- the 270 million person global LGBTQ+ talent pool
We started in the UK which is our biggest market but just opened an office in Madrid and have clients worldwide. The US is a market we want to enter rapidly.
What’s your business model?
Our revenue comes from annual corporate memberships (B2B). Depending on the membership tier corporates get unlimited job posting, employer branding, training, and event promotion.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
We were lucky to have built strong relationships and demonstrated ROI with our corporate partners who increased their spending by 165% this year. As Pride were canceled be decided to launch WorkPride, an online event over 5 days to support the community which gathered 18,000 attendees and created a new revenue stream for us. Since September things are back to some degree of normality and we have grown our corporate member base significantly, people want to re-hire but do it the right way: diversity first.
We also won a grant from InnovateUK to help LGBT+ get back into employment, less than 5% of companies get it so this was a big win!
What was the funding process like?
We wanted to find the right partner who could understand our ethos and values: not everyone in the VC world understands the experiences of the LGBT community in the workplace… it took some time and deep research to meet the right fund. Before meeting 24haymarket we had only pitched twice. We met them at the right time, and they have helped us all the way from the first pitch to closing. We cannot be thankful enough for making the process so enjoyable.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The VC world is not famous for being diverse and inclusive and often the size of the LGBT+ community and our specificities are undermined. People want to keep our existence in the private sphere, which is why it wasn’t easy for funds to relate to our business. Also, while 24haymarket is a fund with different private investors who have also worked in large companies (so they understand why companies are using our platform) – there is often a disconnect between VCs’ views and what is happening inside businesses.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our resilience during COVID was definitely on top of their list. But more than that they could really see the potential of the team (including the founders) and they got excellent feedback from our corporate partners. Also, some of the investors could really relate to the product on a personal level either because they were LGBT, have LGBT relatives, or worked for companies where diversity is a top priority.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are launching a virtual career fair on the 24th of March, WorkPride 2021 in June, and work towards tripling our revenue. We are also focusing our efforts on the networking, mentoring, and mental & well-being aspect of our app to ensure our end users and able to access enhanced online experiences.
What advice can you offer companies in London that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
We also had times where we didn’t have cash in the bank, so we know how it is like! We’d say use or grow your personal network – prior to this round, we raise over £400,00 from business angels. Make sure to talk to your top current customers and create products and services together.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
In the near term, we want to serve 1 million daily app users and have 500 corporate members. We are also developing e-learning courses to ensure people can get access to both training in LGBTQ+ inclusion.
What is your favorite restaurant in London?
Having both lived in China, we love Chrystal China on Tower Bridge Road. If we go a bit fancier, we like Louie on West Street and it reminds us of our time in New Orleans.