DURHAM – Back in 2013, Ursula Mead was a new mother working as a corporate exec at a financial services company in Alexandria, Virginia. At the time, before the #MeToo movement and sexual harassment dominated the headlines, paid maternity leave – or the lack thereof – was the topic du jour.

A “data nerd” by trade, Mead wondered what kind of research was out there about women in the workplace, and the challenges they face. “I’d go online, look up company reviews for women, and I couldn’t [find it],” she recalls. “Eventually, I decided let’s just build it myself.”

And so InHerSight was born.

InHerSight’s Ursula Mead. Credit: Sarah Daniels, Visual Communications Specialist at UNC Chapel Hill, Innovate Carolina.

Similar to crowdsourcing rating sites like Glassdoor, the platform uses data to help women find companies that fit with what they want.

The site is also helping employers create “female-friendly cultures,” Mead, 38, says.

“It’s a very effective model, and it works for both sides of the equation.”

The mission

Here’s how the firm explains its goals:

“At InHerSight, our mission is to improve the workplace for women by measuring it. With company reviews designed to reflect what women want to know about employers, we’re helping women find the companies and jobs where they will thrive, and we’re helping employers create female-friendly cultures that promote a happy, gender diverse workforce.”

$4.5 million in funding to date

In the early days, Mead – with cofounders Daniel Stapleton and Adam Hill – launched the startup as a “low-key, after-hours project.”

Then her employers at the time, The Motley Fool, found out about the project. They became the lead investor in a seed round of funding, and allowed the startup to incubate in the office space.

Fast-forward to today: InHerSight has relocated and is now working out of Durham’s co-working space, American Underground.

It has raised $4.5 million to date. Motley Fool Ventures is the lead investor, followed by Carolina Angel Network.

At present, the startup is on a hiring spree. In just the past year, the team has grown from its co-founders supported by contractors, to eight full-time employees.

“We are expecting to be 12 by the end of the year,” adds Mead.

It’s also gaining traction among women with “millions” using the site each year.

Users can enter the site for free and do one (or all) of three things:

  • Get matched to a company based on a list of what they value most
  • Anonymously rate a current or former employer
  • Explore thousands of companies’ scores and job listings

“We have company scorecards for more than 100,000 companies in the U.S., all based on proprietary insights from the women who have worked for those companies,” she says.

The companies include names as big as Amazon, Google, Coca-Cola and Microsoft. Companies local to the Triangle, such as Spoonflower and Broadreach, Inc., are also on the site.

Mead, who is pregnant with her second child, says she has no plans to slow down anytime soon.

“Our heads down on some key initiatives and milestones in preparation for our next raise,” she says.

From corner desk to C-suite: The journey is still painfully slow for women