Wichita sisters’ tech start-up raises $ 1.4 million in capital


QuickHire co-founders Angela Muhwezi-Hall (left) and Deborah Gladney.

The Wichita sisters, who founded a dating app-like platform that connects job seekers and employers, raised $ 1.41 million for their startup, QuickHire.

Deborah Gladney, 34, and Angela Muhwezi-Hall, 31, became the first black women in Kansas to raise at least $ 1 million in capital, according to Project Diane, which tracks startups run by minority women.

“Most of these funds, especially when they’re doing seed money, they’re investing in people,” Gladney said.

QuickHire passed the million dollar fundraising milestone in a fundraising round led by MATH Venture Partners.

Gladney said that in the world of venture capital finance, if you don’t have connections with the industry, you have to work really hard to sell your vision.

“Getting to know venture capitalists is a challenge because a lot of it is about who you already know or being introduced to,” she said.

“We don’t come for the money, so it’s not like our family members are pumping money into our business. “

Ugandan immigrant daughters Gladney and Muhwezi-Hall launched the QuickHire beta product last fall.

“Like any first release there were bugs and all of that good stuff, but now it’s so easy to apply for jobs,” Muhwezi-Hall said. “We use a lot of features that this generation likes to see when using apps – swipe left, swipe right – that’s how you apply. “

Instead of CVs, QuickHire users are encouraged to upload introductory videos to demonstrate soft skills.

Muhwezi-Hall said nearly 70 fee-paying companies and 12,000 job seekers are already using the app. Users enter their zip code and instantly see posted jobs within 20 miles.

The platform, which is available for download on iOS and Google Play, is designed to connect non-university workers with employers, especially in the retail, hospitality and food industries.

So far, Wichita and Kansas City have been QuickHire’s primary markets. But the sisters said they plan to expand their business to the Midwest.

Gladney said she will never forget how rewarding it was when the first hires were made through their service.

“Hearing about workers out of work for a while – you know, people who had just had children and had to provide for their children, and how grateful people were – that was just the right thing. more heartwarming, ”Gladney said.

“It made us realize that QuickHire is bigger than us. We really help people improve their lives, improve their businesses. “

Muhwezi-Hall said she hopes their story inspires other black women to bring their own great ideas to life.

“It’s a very male and white dominated industry,” she said. “And before we start, we’re new to technology. We are the first time founders of technology.

“We hope this is just the beginning for other black women in the Midwest to see people who have done it and they feel like they can do it too.”

Along the way, Muhwezi-Hall said she and her sister found “real champions”.

Curt Gridley is co-founder of Groover Labs in Wichita, the product development lab and coworking center that provided the sisters with office space and connected them with mentors with start-up experience.

Gridley said it was exciting that a promising tech startup was born in Wichita.

“Wichita has had various successes over the years in entrepreneurship and startups, but in terms of traditional tech startups, there aren’t as many recent examples,” Gridley said.

“Most of the cities that are thriving in this space have had key examples of successful startups that other people can model themselves on. It’s one thing to read about successes in Silicon Valley or other tech hubs, but until you see it happening in your own city, it’s a little hard to figure out.

Gridley said QuickHire increases Wichita’s visibility with outside investors and provides a crucial example for other budding entrepreneurs.

“Angela and Deborah are good both at seeking help and advice, but also at being willing to share their experiences with others,” said Gridley.

Muhwezi-Hall said she and her sister are proud of their Wichita roots.

“There have been a lot of pioneers coming from Wichita and Kansas, and we’re really proud to be a part of that legacy,” she said.

Sisters Deborah Gladney and Angela Muhwezi-Hall as children. Courtesy of QuickHire

Matthew Kelly joined The Eagle in April 2021. He covers business and development in the Wichita area. You can contact him at 316-268-6203 and [email protected]

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