Black Women Founders Raise $4.25M To Improve Employee Engagement Experience
Photo Credit: Google for Startups

Black Women Founders Raise $4.25M To Improve Employee Engagement Experience

Raising $4.25 million, co-founders Jasmine Shells and Denise Umubyeyi are two of 250 Black women to raise more than $1 million in venture capital.

According to a press release shared with AfroTech, their software company Five to Nine closed a seed round led by Black Ops Ventures with participation from Slack Fund and Cleveland Avenue. To date, Five to Nine has raised $5.75 million with the help of recurrent investors such as Mike Gamson, Sterling Road, and Concrete Rose Capital. The funding will expand its product and engineering teams, strengthen its sales capabilities, and launch new customer solutions.

Five To Nine Launched From Discrepancies Running Employee Resource Group

Shells and Umubyeyi launched the company in 2018 to help organizations manage, structure, and track employee events, meeting development programs, and Employee Resource Group (ERG) initiatives. The inception of the company felt timely for the duo as they recognized many minority workers spent countless unpaid hours working rigorously on planning events, especially in the ERG sector.

“Five to Nine was born out of my own unmet need in running an ERG without the proper infrastructure,” said Shells, according to a press release. “We hacked together tools—such as email, calendar, messenger, and survey software—to manage the work. It required a more efficient system, yet, nothing was on the market. So we created it.”

How The Funding Will Advance Five To Nine

Since its inception, Five to Nine has reached various tech companies such as Yahoo, Expedia, Upwork, and Webflow, which benefit from the company’s management software with frequently used workplace tools including Slack, Outlook, Okta, Workday, and Google functions. As the company looks ahead, it hopes to support more employers and their employees while ensuring inclusivity is at the forefront.

“Five to Nine is a brilliant concept. Businesses are struggling to recruit and retain talent, and spending a great deal on employee retention efforts. But, is any of this working? Companies need a reliable way to measure that impact,” says Heather Hiles, a Black Ops Ventures managing partner and Five to Nine board member. “I expect Five to Nine’s growth to catalyze a movement of employers that create engaging workplaces where people know they belong.”