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Disability Solutions

Female Founding, Google Accelerating, and Whiskey!

The boys recently held a private event at HR Tech for around 40 people with ThisWay founder and CEO Angela Hood. Luckily for you, the mics were on, so we caught the whole conversation, just for you. We discuss what happens when you become a Google accelerated startup, what unbiased recruiting really looks like, the dos and don'ts of crowdfunding and much more. It's like you're a fly on thet wall. Enjoy.


Disability Solutions is your RPO partner for the disability community, from source to hire.

Joel (0s):

You guys act like you're in church

Angela (2s):

With whiskey? What kind of church has whiskey? That's a good one.

Joel (7s):

That's a church I wanna join. So should we talk about the format? Like can they heckle? Can they clap?

Chad (14s):

Why not? This is live. This is a live show. Just do. EXcept for you. Ethan. Shut the fuck up. Ethan.

Joel (22s):

This is a train wreck you guys get to watch.

INTRO (42s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts! Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel (46s):

Oh yeah. What's up everybody? It's your favorite guilty pleasure. Your favorite knuckleheads AKA the Chad and Cheese podcast. I'm your co-host Joel Cheeseman joined as always the "Pen to my Teller" Chad Sowash. Let's hear it everybody. And today we're recording live from the HR Tech conference in beautiful Las Vegas with Angela "boys in the" Hood, founder and CEO at ThisWay Global. Angela.

Angela (1m 16s):

Howdy guys.

Joel (1m 17s):

You hardly started to drink.

Angela (1m 18s):

I I know

Joel (1m 19s):

Show's only gonna get better.

Angela (1m 20s):

I should have taken a few shots before this thing. I want

Chad (1m 22s):

I want everybody to look at Angela's face. Once she starts drinking whiskey. Yeah. Yeah. We're gonna just wait. You'll you'll you'll get the joke.

Joel (1m 29s):

Did something we called brew review. Yes. Which we've only done once for whatever reason.

Angela (1m 35s):

It was just minde. Was that it?

Joel (1m 36s):

So this is what we did was we had a flight of beers we had to drink. And then we talked business.

Chad (1m 43s):

And Austin Craft, Austin, beer Craft.

Joel (1m 46s):

Austin, beer and barbecue was involved, which was great. So we're going to pour a little bit of whiskey for each of us. We're gonna have some and we're gonna talk shop. So Angela, for those that don't know, or know very little about ThisWay Global, do you prefer ThisWay or ThisWay Global.

Angela (2m 6s):

So ThisWay Global's the company name.

Joel (2m 8s):

Yeah. So ThisWay is sort of what you want to be

Angela (2m 10s):

Known as. Yeah, no one ever says ThisWay Global.

Joel (2m 13s):


Angela (2m 13s):

Unless it's a contract.

Joel (2m 14s):

All right. So, so for those that don't know or know little about ThisWay, give them the elevator pitch.

Angela (2m 20s):

Short story is I'm an engineer that got fed up was being overlooked as a woman. And I said, I'm just gonna fix the problem for just other people like me. And I thought it was a small group. And then I found out it was the majority of people were being overlooked that were fully qualified and I was completely fed up with it. So I started a company that sources and matches talent and it's unbiased and bring it on all your questions about AI and bias. I got your answers.

Chad (2m 49s):

Everybody says I'm biased though today. I mean, everybody is slapping DEI, like a sticker on every platform go downstairs. There's gonna be DEI like on everything. So for the most part, it's bullshit. What makes yours not bullshit?

Angela (3m 4s):

Yeah. Okay. Well, not bullshit because I actually care, that it works. That's number one. That's a good start. Yeah. That's a, yeah. I care. If you also know our company, I really suck at marketing. So there's no way I could actually do a marketing pivot on that.

Chad (3m 19s):

So you started out this way.

Angela (3m 21s):

Yep. I did. Okay. Okay. So I started out 2012. I was at Cambridge University in England and I took me about a year to identify bias was the problem. And I started getting booed about the topic in 2013.

Chad (3m 35s):

Booed? Where were you getting booed?

Angela (3m 37s):

People do not like it.

Joel (3m 38s):

This British boo like, booooooo.

Angela (3m 41s):

No, no. It is a British boo in like parliament. It is that kind of move. Okay. So if you don't know what I'm talking about, watch parliament five minutes. You'll get that's what happened? Or the

Joel (3m 50s):

Princess Brian, you can watch that, that too.

Angela (3m 51s):

There you go. Perfect. So yeah, that's what I got booed and I said, right, and now I'm onto something because people that have a lot of money you're booing me, which means they don't like what I'm about to do, which bring it on. I'll challenge it. If I had had any idea how long it would take me to get traction, I probably would have said, what are you thinking? But ignorance is bliss. And so here I am.

Chad (4m 15s):

Talk about traction real quick. Why do you think it took so long? Was it the industry? Was it the tech? Was it just because it was burgeoning and new? I mean, why? Why did it take so long?

Angela (4m 25s):

Honestly, I think it was finally, the public told companies you don't have a choice.

Chad (4m 30s):

The public or the federal government?

Angela (4m 32s):

Both. Okay it started with the public. It did. It really did. It started with the public. It started with talent. That was diverse. Instead I've had enough, I'll go to work for all the cool companies that hire diverse talent. And all the big companies were like, wait a second. Why can't we hire these really great people? And so then 2020 hit, a lot of people think there was a social justice thing that caused all of this. It it's part of the accelerator. But the real fact is our population is more diverse and people like to work, like people who are like them. Yeah. And so if I'm more diverse, I wanna work with people that are more diverse, therefore, guess what is required? You better be.

Joel (5m 11s):

And by the way, more buyers are diverse.

Angela (5m 13s):

So that's right.

Joel (5m 14s):

So the money.

Angela (5m 14s):

There you go.

Joel (5m 15s):

You might wanna have people look like your customers. You started in '15, right? 2015? '16?

Angela (5m 21s):

' 16. We founded the company. Yeah. Talk

Joel (5m 23s):

Talk about the landscape of sourcing tools at the time. Like yeah. What did that look like when you started the company?

Angela (5m 30s):

A lot of people were talking about giving a lot of assessments to really dig in and identify if someone was talented or not. And there was so much pushback by the talent that everyone was like, well, maybe we shouldn't be doing that. By 2018 people were catching on that. Okay. There might be something to this, but we're not gonna invest any money in it. We're just gonna say we're doing something 2020. You get people saying I'm going to, I think somewhere around 50 billion with a B. $50 billion is pledged to solve diversity problems, but only half of 1% actually gets deployed as of today.

Angela (6m 11s):

So a lot of talk, no action.

Joel (6m 13s):

But when you started the company, it wasn't about finding diversity or diverse candidates. It was just finding people.

Angela (6m 20s):

It was finding people without bias.

Joel (6m 23s):

In 2016. So the company was founded on that premise. So that was groundbreaking at the time because.

Chad (6m 29s):

She got booed.

Joel (6m 30s):

She got booed and you stuck to that core promise. Has it been hard to see other companies come along and say, they're unbiased?

Chad (6m 42s):

You mean all of them?

Joel (6m 42s):

And a lot of it in light of 2020 and the things that happened, societally, talk us through your, your thought processes. These companies started coming out is we're unbiased recruiting. We're the diversity platform. How did you react to that?

Angela (6m 55s):

So I would look and see what they were doing. And I'm like, no, you're not. And then I would think, right. So the customers are gonna buy, they're gonna do a two year contract. So I've gotta get them on our platform as soon as they find out that that doesn't work. And that's the strategy we took. And that's why we have so many customers.

Chad (7m 11s):

You've gotta be the contingency plan.

Angela (7m 12s):

That's right.

Chad (7m 13s):

Pretty much. Okay.

Angela (7m 14s):


Chad (7m 14s):

Okay. You can start with what doesn't work and then you can come ThisWay. You can come ThisWay. So talk about, talk about the actual, the go-to-market strategy with partnerships, because you have done an amazing job with companies like Salesforce. There's a little company probably nobody's heard of called IBM. So, I mean

Joel (7m 31s):

I think they have bottles on the table. Cause nothing's cooler than an IBM water bottle. That's right. Nothing says I'm cool at the gym, like an IBM water bottle. Like I go to the gym. Anyway.

Chad (7m 46s):

That's what you've heard.

Joel (7m 48s):

She was thinking it. I said it.

Chad (7m 50s):

Oh yeah.

Angela (7m 50s):

I can't believe I have to drink this whole thing of whiskey. Oh my God.

Chad (7m 53s):

That's just the first one.

Angela (7m 55s):

I know The one someone's gonna have to carry me out of this suite. Except for it's my suite. So no.

Joel (7m 60s):

There's comfy chairs. You might just stay here all night. Integrations. Yes. Start with Salesforce. That was the first big one. I think we talked.

Chad (8m 7s):

She's gotta take a drink first. Yeah. Oh shooter.

Joel (8m 10s):

Yeah. Oh she nailed it. That's how they roll baby.

Chad (8m 14s):

Big applause everybody. Big applause. Chad. I, that is good.

Joel (8m 21s):

Angela time.

Chad (8m 21s):

That is very good.

Joel (8m 23s):

That is, that is.

Angela (8m 25s):

It was this one.

Chad (8m 28s):

Yeah. Yeah. But now we're God

Joel (8m 30s):

Salesforce go because a little, a little context. When companies integrate, it's usually Greenhouse, iCIMS. It's the ATSs that we all that we all know and love. You guys took a little bit of a different track. You do integrate with those, but Salesforce was a bit unique. Talk about why and the results that you've gotten.

Angela (8m 48s):

So we honed in on Salesforce because they have 150,000 customers.

Chad (8m 53s):

Say what?

Angela (8m 54s):

A lot of people don't know this. And, they're companies that do what? They adopt technology. That's awesome. And they adopt technology all in the exact same way, not, you know, 150 different methods for trying to get in integration. So for us as a small company, we have to be agile and we also have to be very focused. So that was the way we could hit 150,000 company TAN.

Joel (9m 21s):

And how has the relationship integration worked for you guys? So have it been a home run or yeah, a little bit of an air ball.

Angela (9m 27s):

So this is the really fun part about being a founder is you plan all of these go-to markets and then you have a thing like a pandemic. So I'm not kidding. When I say the launch for Salesforce was the day after we announced that we had a pandemic, the world health organization said, oh yeah, it's official and so I sat on sofa and like gave myself 20 minutes to panic. And then I called Salesforce and we said, let's not do this launch cuz no one cares. They didn't care about anything other than what's going on with the pandemic. So it stalled completely. And then we started getting traction with staffing and there's a big, very big announcement coming out next month.

Angela (10m 13s):

Can't share right now. But

Chad (10m 15s):


Angela (10m 15s):

I know

Joel (10m 16s):

Just between us?

Angela (10m 17s):

I know.

Chad (10m 18s):

Between the kids in the room? Yeah.

Angela (10m 22s):

No, but it does have very real legs and it's been a long time to wait, but it will be global.

Joel (10m 28s):

I'm not sure you answered my question. Yeah. In regards. Okay. I'm

Angela (10m 31s):

Okay. I'm gonna run for office then.

Joel (10m 33s):

Should we roll into IBM and that integration and what that is?

Angela (10m 39s):

I will answer those questions maybe.

Joel (10m 42s):

Okay. All right.

Angela (10m 44s):

So IBM, I identified them again, huge footprint, very technically smart company has all the customers that we really wanted to work with. And there was this little hurdle called Kenexa/ Brassring and we couldn't really get past it. And then one day I hear that Kenexa/ Brassring has been sold off and I thought, okay, maybe just maybe we set our OKR for our company that quarter for us to be the HR function for IBM and within so who's counting? 52 days we had the deal and we launched tomorrow at two o'clock is kind of like the big coming out party for Watson Orchestrate powered by ThisWay Global.

Chad (11m 35s):

Good for you guys. So love so, so, okay. Talk about IBM Orchestrate is really a business process enhancer, right?

Angela (11m 46s):


Chad (11m 46s):

No. What are you guys doing? That's what the guy told me on the couch yesterday.

Angela (11m 50s):

He doesn't know what he is talking about.

Chad (11m 53s):

All right The IBM guy. Didn't okay. That's right. Okay.

Angela (11m 57s):

No, what it is. So I think everyone knows who Ironman is and Ironman has Jarvis and Jarvis does things for Ironman, right? So he can go off and do cool things like fly. Jarvis is back there doing the data on the background. That's essentially what automation is when IBM talks about Watson Orchestrate, is let the user do the strategic work, the work that they love doing and let Watson take off that load and do all the monotonous and the biggest part about it is you can integrate between different tools. So I'm gonna give you an example. You have a job description inbox.

Angela (12m 39s):

If you need to get candidates from ThisWay, and you're using Gmail for your email, all of that can happen in matter of a second. And you can reach out to candidates and start introducing your company in the position to them. And you can be at your kid's soccer game and have work life balance again.

Chad (12m 59s):

So, and you could do this externally and also internally.

Angela (13m 1s):

That's right.

Chad (13m 1s):

So you can, you can use this with some of the partners that you have externally that actually outreach. So, but let's talk about the internal piece real quick, because most companies don't focus on the millions of dollars that they spend every single year because they're building this candidate database and nobody is using it. And so it's just staying there. It's atrophying. So how are you guys actually focused on being able to help them dive back into those candidates and spend less money and then stop trying to pull the same people in through recruitment marketing.

Angela (13m 39s):

So if we had more customer demand, we would be doing that for every customer that we have.

Chad (13m 44s):

So why do you think there's not customer demand though?

Angela (13m 49s):

Because procurement sits on the throne of lies and says that it smells like

Chad (13m 56s):

Meat and cheese.

Angela (13m 56s):

This sounds like smells exactly like that. And they sit up there and they say, oh, they're gonna grab our data. They're gonna do this. What I'm like really? Do you not think we have anything better to do with our time than try to grab your data? That is unstructured, messy and outdated. Yeah. It's so valuable. So we just don't get that much customer demand for it. And so

Chad (14m 18s):

Do they think they're they own the launch codes or something?

Angela (14m 21s):

Absolutely. Yes they do. Yeah. And so we said, you know, why keep hitting your head against the door. We still have the technology to do that. But only about 20% of our customers use it. Every single one of our customers uses our product called Discover, which is what we launched with Watson Orchestrate first.

Chad (14m 41s):


Angela (14m 42s):

This is the passive database of candidates, 169 million profiles all structured exactly the same way. You cannot see any of the biasing data, age, pictures, gender, ethnicity, all that kind of stuff. And then you get to a certain point where you're committed to recruiting or actually engaging with these people. Then you can see information. And we hope by that point, you have learned enough by seeing the quality candidates that are also diverse, that now the bias is kind of washing out of your system. That's what we see at least from our current customers.

Joel (15m 15s):

What are you guys doing with Google?

Angela (15m 17s):

We were a Google accelerated company at the end of '21 and I, okay. I was so suspicious. I'll just be honest about this. I thought they're probably just trying to sell us Google Cloud or something. That's what all this is about.

Joel (15m 37s):

Then Larry Paige called?

Chad (15m 38s):


Angela (15m 38s):

And then we got vetted over and over and over by their engineers and by the AI department and by security and data protection and all this stuff. And at the end of it, they're like, you know, you're doing an amazing job and we want to continue to help you. So for the duration of the company, for the life of the company, Google continues to accelerate us. And it's one of the coolest incubation kind of platform arrangements we've ever had. And my entire team has everyone in Google they have their contact details. They can go on to a portal that we have access to and request help on anything. And we do it on a regular basis.

Chad (16m 19s):

So they have some pretty awesome support behind this?

Joel (16m 23s):

ThisWay Global accelerates.

Angela (16m 24s):

So they, how

Joel (16m 25s):

Money? Talent? What?

Angela (16m 26s):

Basically it's us doing the work, but it's them telling us this is what you're doing wrong. So I'll give everyone a tip. So GA four, which is Google analytics, but GA four is a total different platform than Google analytics. And if you are not on it, you're missing out. And there are so many people that don't know this and thanks. That is the same thing. It's just a different version. It is not. And the other really good piece of data that I will share is that when you are using Google AdWords, absolutely keep your ad live for exactly eight days on the eighth day. Learn from that, then make changes, never stop before eight days.

Angela (17m 6s):

Otherwise you've lost all of the benefits of Google AdWords.

Joel (17m 8s):

I want the record to show that she said, here's a tip. And I said nothing.

Angela (17m 15s):

I thank you Joel.

Chad (17m 16s):

Just wipe that clean by saying that.

Angela (17m 18s):

That means he's saving a doozy for later.

Joel (17m 21s):

That's right. One of the things you've done that I think is really intriguing is the way that you've raised money. Okay. And you've raised a, just shy of $4 million.

Angela (17m 30s):

Nope. More.

Joel (17m 31s):

What is it?

Angela (17m 34s):

Eight and a half.

Joel (17m 37s):

Is that news?

Angela (17m 38s):

I don't know. Maybe to you.

Joel (17m 41s):

This is my show.

Angela (17m 42s):

I've known it for a while.

Joel (17m 44s):

Apparently. It's how much is crowdfunded? How much isn't talk? I think a lot of companies, startups listen to our show or companies are like, gee, crowdfunding looks cool, but do we do it or not? Like, would you steer people that way? Tips, tips to do it. Sorry. I said tips again, but you said anything that you would do? Would you still do it again? Are you gonna raise another round of crowdfunding?

Angela (18m 7s):

So the truth is it wasn't planned. We had an investor that was, again, this is a pandemic story. March was not a good month for me in 2020. I'll just tell you, I don't think any of us had a great month that month. We had a round that was closing. It was supposed to fund on the 18th. And on the 14th, I got an email, super warm and fuzzy, got an email and said, Hey, we're not gonna send that check after all. And I was like, what? And we just, you know, like if you've ever led a company, you know what this means anyway. So again, another 20 minutes panic, and then maybe another 20 minutes in panic?

Joel (18m 47s):

It could be at your door in about 24 hours.

Angela (18m 51s):

A whole bunch of them. Yeah. But what, so I have an advisor that always says there's always another gear. And sometimes I just have to be reminded of that. And so I said, okay, I am not going to allow this company and my staff as we're going into a pandemic, not have a job. Like that was like, it was not okay with me. And so I said, I will go down with a fight and it might be really ugly, but I'll figure it out. So by two weeks later, I had identified, there was two companies that do crowdfunding. One's called Republic. One's called Wefunder. And I liked both of them.

Angela (19m 31s):

But the reason why I picked Wefunder is very, very specific. We have VCs and we have angels in our rounds and I needed to simplify my cap table if I was ever going to raise money in the future. And so Wefunder has a policy or a process where you can have a lead investor and every investor underneath them is all one line item on your cap table. This is incredibly important. If you plan on having any VC money, private equity, money acquisition, and we plan for all of the above. So then I was like, wait, we don't have a big social media presence. So this is gonna be really tough. I found this great guy , who's a, a good friend of mine now, his name is Chris Gravy.

Angela (20m 16s):

And I said, I need for you to help me market in the crowd marketing fund or in the crowd marketing way. We ultimately raised just under three and a half million. Is that right? We raised three and a half million dollars. And I have now a couple of thousand people that absolutely love my company. Love my team. Oh yeah. And they show it every day. And it's awesome.

Joel (20m 42s):

Yeah. So that sounds like a recommendation. So it goes a crowd funding route.

Angela (20m 46s):

So there's downsides to it. It's hard from an accounting perspective. My CFO maybe cusses me out on a daily basis for this or whatever, but our company is still here and we're better for it. So I, you know, sometimes you do things you don't necessarily wanna do to keep your company alive and your people employed

Joel (21m 2s):

Is the crowdfunding closed currently, or can people still?

Angela (21m 6s):

It is closed also because my CFO, I didn't want to be killed by them. And so maybe one day we'll do that again. I don't know. I think probably our next round is much bigger round and you know, we've had lots of interest, especially after the IBM announcement. It was interesting how all of a sudden I was super interesting and I wasn't in 2020, but I dunno I will make a call in the next couple weeks. But I think that we will probably raise a Series A we've raised eight and a half give or take and three and a half of that is crowdfunding. And I would say this, if you want to know, if people care about what you do as a company, do a crowdfunding campaign, you will find out you will find out immediately.

Chad (21m 54s):

Yeah. So talk about, talk about again, female funders or female founders.

Angela (21m 58s):

Or both.

Chad (21m 59s):

Yeah. Well, I mean, we're not seeing a lot of female founders getting funded very well.

Joel (22m 2s):

We're a glass ahead of you, Angela, by the way.

Chad (22m 4s):

No. She's oh, is she caught up? She's on. Yeah.

Angela (22m 8s):

I'm about to do a shooter. You're not gonna able to keep up with me.

Joel (22m 11s):

We're midway there.

Angela (22m 12s):

Sorry. While I can still cheers. Is that what you're saying?

Joel (22m 17s):

Yes. Keep going.

Chad (22m 19s):

Imagine the old white guy to, you know, interrupting during the female founder conversation.

Angela (22m 23s):

I'm used to it. Okay.

Chad (22m 24s):

So talk about that though, because coming out, it