The United States is heading into uncharted waters. After nearly two years of a steadily improving job market, better economy and optimism, it feels like America is losing some of the gains it has made. There have been a number of tech companies—ranging from startups to big tech giants— that have announced hiring freezes and layoffs. It’s disconcerting that after talking about the Great Resignation and war for talent, workers are worried about holding onto their jobs.
On the positive side, there are still around 11.4 million jobs open, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Department of Labor also announced on Friday that the U.S. added 390,000 new jobs in May, and the unemployment rate is at 3.6%, a little higher than the 50-year low back in February 2020, prior to the pandemic.
Despite low unemployment and more jobs available than people to fill them, there are economic concerns. Runaway inflation, supply chain disruptions and the possibility of being sucked into a World War emanating from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine all create future uncertainty. When corporate executives are faced with the unknown, it’s easier to hold off on doing anything, hunker down and wait for better clarity. This is the prime time when people need help and guidance.
Hunting For A New Job
Looking for a new job sometimes feels like a lonely pursuit. The companies have talent acquisition teams, the latest software, internal recruiters, human resources and a plethora of other personnel. You have to basically go it all alone. The matchup doesn’t feel as if the odds are in your favor. However, there is a startup that can help level the playing field.
David Fano, founder and CEO of Teal, created a machine learning and AI- based careertech platform to help job seekers and people who want to advance their careers. Fano said, “In the future of work, the employee is the enterprise.”
As the head of a platform that offers the tech tools to empower people to take control over their career journey, the chief executive added, “Companies have HR teams, recruiters and sophisticated technology to manage their pipelines, but all that most job seekers have is a spreadsheet. We’re leveling the playing field by building the infrastructure that helps people grow their careers with confidence.”
To help professionals, Teal offers a free suite of web-based career tools. These features include a job tracker, résumé builder, Chrome extension and other tech tools. Members will receive prompts and guidance on the site to help with their career journey. There won’t be any pushy salespeople, as the job seekers take control over their future.
More than 65,000 people have signed up to the program to help fast-track their careers. Fano shared that Teal members have found jobs with top companies, such as Google, Apple, TikTok, Spotify and Bumble.
Catherine Daneliak, a Teal member, said about her experience, “Teal has brought all aspects of the job search together in one platform, which has enabled me to organize my job search and keep track of the status of each potential job.”
The Origin Story
Before Fano started Teal, he was on paternity leave when his then-employer, WeWork, conducted its first round of mass layoffs. At the time, Teal was an aspirational idea. Fano felt that he needed to help his former colleagues. Along with a group of ex-WeWorkers, Fano put together a career day. They offered free résumé reviews, networking opportunities and other career assistance.
He recognized that even experienced, knowledgeable professionals need resources to navigate layoffs and strategies on how to find a new job. Fano wrote in a LinkedIn post, “For me, that was the big bang moment of why Teal needed to exist—to provide employees with the tools and infrastructure to take control of their careers.” It was his big “aha moment.”
In light of the economic and geopolitical events that pushed both tech giants and startups to cut costs and enact hiring freezes, downsings and in the case of Coinbase, rescinding job offers, venture capital funding won’t be as prolific for the foreseeable future. Teal fortunately raised a $6.3 million seed round before the window of opportunity started to close.
The latest funding will be used to develop Teal’s next phase of product initiatives. This will include a recommendations engine, matching members with relevant skills-based online courses to help them further their careers through upskilling and learning. The job hunters and career-focused individuals will be able to easily find and sign up to well-known online coursework with notable organizations, such as Coursera, General Assembly, Udemy and LinkedIn Learning.
“Teal is building the tools to help people navigate the future of work where career agility is more important than ever,” said Jeff Rinehart, partner at City Light Capital and former chief marketing officer at 2U. “We need a new category of technology that champions the candidate—not the company—empowering users to take control of their careers and develop the skills they need to excel long-term. Teal’s business model positions them to both do good and do well, and we couldn’t be more excited to back them at this pivotal moment.”
Teal’s seed round was led by City Light Capital with participation from Rethink Education, Human Ventures, Gaingels, Pareto Ventures, Basecamp Fund, Zelkova Ventures and angel investors, like Tom Willerer (former chief product officer at OpenDoor and Coursera). Previous investors include Flybridge, Lerer Hippeau and Oceans.
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