Startups Peddle Innovative Tools to Fight Tech’s #MeToo Problem

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10 years of EEOC data tracking and investigating sexual harassment claims, and found that workers in retail and food services filed more than three times as many claims as those who worked in higher-paying fields like insurance and finance.

Other companies are seeing an opportunity to use tech tools to make it easier for employees to be heard by management. On Monday, Blind, which makes an anonymous workplace community app first introduced in the United States three years ago, announced it has a new sounding board under a #metoo section aimed at allowing people to share stories of sexual harassment. South Korea-based Blind requires that a person use a company e-mail address to verify their employee status, but says that information is encrypted and kept anonymous.

New York-based CultureIQ raised $2.25 million last week from investors, including Pritzker Group Venture Capital, to further develop its survey software. Similar to B3ond, the four-year-old startup offers smartphone and tablet-friendly surveys. CultureIQ’s customers include MailChimp, Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE: ADM), and others, according to its website.

Spot, which launched out of beta last week, has developed a chatbot that uses machine learning to take reports from employees reporting improper behavior. (The idea is to eventually sell this technology to corporate HR departments.)

The chatbot is trained in doing “cognitive interviews” so that it can collect pertinent information from the employee with neutral questions. Spot then creates time-stamped PDF reports that could be used as evidence in court, if needed, according to a VentureBeat article.

After analyzing survey responses, companies like B3ond and CultureIQ provide management with a summary of findings, and a suggested roadmap for action.

Yanak, who formerly was the director of the legal, risk, and compliance practice at CEB (now known as Gartner) in Washington, says scaling these services through new technologies makes them available to a wider group of companies. “Small firms can’t afford the large consulting firms, but doing nothing isn’t acceptable anymore,” she says.

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Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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