Why NBA superstar Steph Curry just invested in Seattle pay equity startup Syndio

NBA star Stephen Curry. (Aubrie Pick photo)

Seattle-based pay equity startup Syndio has raised more than $ 30 million in funding in its four years, but a new $ 1 million support from early-stage investors Penny Jar Capital announced on Monday is special notable because the company is anchored by NBA star Stephen Curry.

Curry is a two-time league MVP with the Golden State Warriors and is considered by some to be the best shooter in NBA history. Even off the field, his shots against companies like Syndio are gaining attention.

“That was really important to me because he’s not part of this stock hype cycle,” Syndio CEO Maria Colacurcio told GeekWire. “He’s really been committed to this for a long time. And that was really before things came up for the US women’s national team. “

She added that Penny Jar and Curry on Syndio’s Cap Table have a different look and that Curry is already very involved.

“He doesn’t just write his name on something and then back off,” said Colacurcio.

Colacurcio was referring to an article Curry wrote in The Players’ Tribune in 2018 in which he said that as the father of two young girls who wanted to grow up, “knowing that there are no limits to their futures,” he had wage equity Taken personally … “They believe they can dream big and seek careers in which they will be treated fairly.”

Curry said fair pay is long overdue and a fundamental issue that needs to be addressed in order to “make progress towards a just society.”

“Syndio is an objective solution that removes unconscious biases from the equation and changes the way executives address equality in the workplace and makes pay equity the standard for companies around the world,” he said in a press release.

Maria Colacurcio of Syndio during the GeekWire Elevator Pitch Final at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle in 2019. (GeekWire File Photo / Dan DeLong)

The so-called EquityTech software from Syndio analyzes salaries, locates discriminatory wage differences that are linked to gender, race, ethnicity or age and offers strategies to remedy these differences. Of its 160 customers, 40 are Fortune 500 and companies include Nordstrom, Salesforce, Slack, General Mills, and others. The startup’s software is used to analyze the salaries of 2.6 million employees.

And while the problem Syndio is tackling is obviously appealing to investors like Curry, Colacurcio said the company’s success is also a big draw.

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Curry is invested in companies like Miro and Guild Education, which Colacurcio called “massive, successful SaaS companies,” and former syndio investors Bessemer Venture Partners and Emerson Collective are also investing in Guild Education, an education platform.

Syndio has meanwhile doubled from Q1 to Q2 of this year and year-on-year sales have tripled.

“Penny Jar really tried hard with us and I was impressed, they did their homework,” said Colacurcio. “What we don’t want is for this to be construed as just an investment with a social impact. Of course, our missions are very well coordinated, but a big part of it was just the dynamism we have as a business.

Colacurcio attributes three things that drive this dynamic:

  • The ESG movement around environmental, social and governance investing. Colacurcio said the S is “mushy” and companies are struggling to figure out how to commit to the S and pay equity to match that bill in actionable, predictable ways.
  • From the employer brand’s point of view, fair wages become part of the table, and in order to be competitive, employees take part in “Google Docs activism,” said Colacurcio, where they share their salaries and talk about it.
  • It’s not just a gender issue, it’s a race issue too. “That was really interesting to Stephen because he was watching that time when we were all talking about a gender issue,” said Colacurcio. “When we started telling and sharing with them that 98% of our customers don’t just look at gender and race, it was really interesting [Penny Jar]. They said, ‘Wow, they are attacking racial and gender inequality in companies and providing a way for companies to prevent these problems.’ “

Syndio just released a new tool called Pay Finder that helps companies manage discretion and eliminate bias in initial payment and promotions.

The data scientist and law professor Zev Eigen founded Syndio in 2017; Colacurcio was added in 2018. Syndio won GeekWire’s Elevator Pitch competition in 2019, and the startup now employs and is hiring nearly 70 people.

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