If 2020 was the year of shelter-in-place, then 2021 is destined to be the year of movement. The global pandemic froze us in our homes glued to webcams and Netflix, while rapidly thawing the shaky glaciers of how we live, work, and connect with each other.
As we look past COVID-19, how might we move from a world of escalating isolation and polarization to a better, more generous world, where everyone has access to the skills, networks, and job opportunities needed to achieve the promise of upward mobility? How might businesses rebuild in a world fueled by technological change, expanding their idea of value to include economic and social justice?
There are many paths forward, but the pandemic’s gall has laid bare one historically reliable salve: the value of a college degree. Not only do students leave with $30,000 of debt, but nearly half also graduate underemployed. If they do land a job, they soon discover the value of that degree rapidly diminishes, as businesses continuously demand new skills to confront a remote-enabled, tech-fueled world.
If we are to move into a more equitable world from today’s crisis, then it will require rewiring the labor market to benefit both employers and jobseekers. This means a conscious shift from exclusively rewarding static degrees that weakly predict on-the-job success, to encouraging dynamic credentials and continuous upskilling within our companies, empowering all of us to build back better.
Flockjay Raises Series A Funding
Flockjay’s mission is to accelerate this system-level change. Today, we are proudly announcing our $11m Series A, led by e.ventures, and with participation from Lightspeed, Salesforce Ventures, Impact America, Cleo Capital, Gabrielle Union, and other lighthouses for economic and social justice. We are also announcing our shared goal with Opportunity@Work to enable 1+ million STARs (workers “skilled through alternative routes” who lack a 4-year degree) to translate learning into $20B in higher earnings by 2030.
Thanks to our employees, Flockjay is a Glassdoor Best Place to Work in 2021!
How We’re Doing This
We are actively building an ecosystem where companies move from degree-based talent assessment to skill-based talent assessment. Many companies like Apple and Facebook have already announced relaxing degree requirements for open roles, and we believe more will follow suit. In fact, of the hundreds of Flockjay graduates since we started in 2019, over 40% did not have a college degree – yet those very graduates are attaining their sales quota twice as fast as their non-Flockjay peers at companies like Salesforce, Zoom, Slack, and Gong.
Moreover, many of our hiring partner companies have now hired multiple Flockjay graduates, creating amazing opportunities for real people who hail from historically excluded backgrounds, all while gaining DEI momentum to build a stronger foundation that better supports an increasingly diverse customer base.
“We have such high confidence in Flockjay grads we hire at Airtable. There is consistently a strong work ethic, natural team leadership and collaboration skills, as well as an eagerness to learn.” shared Liat Bycel, VP of Customer Engagement who oversees the Sales org. “We have seen a significant difference in ramp time and consistently strong performance.”
This level of performance was one of the driving reasons behind the broad coalition of investors in the round. “We heard from almost every hiring company we spoke to that SDRs hired through Flockjay are high performing,” said Jackson Cummings from Salesforce Ventures.
Changing how we identify and support potential hires, with or without a college degree, is the first step in building toward companies’ future success in a post-pandemic world. To create more opportunities for candidates like Lawrence to shine, employers must rewire their values to be more inclusive and build systems of support and mentorship from within.
Community is at the heart of everything we do at Flockjay, right down to our name itself: we fly farther and faster, together. With the new funding, we will be further strengthening our ability to provide Flockjay graduates with not only world-class sales training led by top-performing sales leaders, but continuous upskilling and support from a diverse community network, with hands-on coaching from alumni and real industry professionals to support lifelong learning and upward mobility.
As an example, we recently teamed up with our partners at Gong to build out a mentorship program matching Gong sales professionals with Flockjay graduates. In addition, all Flockjay students now have access to Gong’s revenue intelligence software and are trained on how to use it as they advance through our program. Sandi Kochhar, Chief People Officer at Gong, shared that:
“It’s a meaningful partnership between two companies whose commitment to diversity is more than platitudes and aspirations. It’s shaping people’s lives. Two of our Gong hires in the US last quarter came through Flockjay and that number will continue to rapidly grow.”
Transparency around Internal Diversity & Leadership
We believe in living the values we want to see in the world. In our rapidly growing Flockjay team, here’s how we stand:
- Race/Ethnicity (75% BIPOC, 25% White)
- Gender (51% Female, 46% Male, 2% Non-binary)
- 48% of Flockjay staff are First Gen or Immigrant
- 12% of Flockjay staff are Alumni who went through our program
- 20% Identify as LGBTQ+
Welcome Pablo Pollard, Flockjay Chief Strategy Officer
We have also expanded our leadership team by welcoming Pablo Pollard as our Chief Strategy Officer. Pablo brings on two decades of sales, leadership and sales training experience from his past roles across both early-stage startups, like 6sense, and industry-leaders, like Facebook, Salesforce, and Oracle.
Pablo started his tech career as an SDR, the very role our Tech Fellows are seeking to launch their careers. With this, he brings a personal perspective from his own lived experiences as a cis-gendered gay, white man in tech. Pablo will focus on our strategic vision and go to market approach, strengthening our foundational ability to set our Tech Fellows and Hiring Partners up for long-term success in a new remote era.
Join Flockjay in Empowering Upward Mobility through Education and Access
Where we truly go from here depends on the willingness of the industry to adapt for the greater good.
Consider Raven Winchester, a former custodian who lost her job then more than doubled her salary by transitioning into sales at LaunchDarkly (the very place she used to work as a janitor). SF Chronicle highlighted Raven’s success story, where she shared that, “Coming from where I come from and being able to position myself into this kind of career, it really meant a lot to me.”
We are incredibly grateful for our students, team, partners, and investors for continuously supporting and trusting us on our journey to empower upward mobility through education and access. We’d like to sincerely thank each of you for the critical role you play in helping us build the vocational school of the future while prioritizing DEI and deep, impactful industry change.
If you are interested in learning more about our program, how to support our mission, or how to connect with our diverse pool of elite SDRs, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
Read more on Flockjay’s funding at Fast Company
See career opportunities at https://jobs.lever.co/flockjay
Apply to join our next class at https://flockjay.com