BUSINESS

Startup Spotlight: Fortune 500s Check ‘The Whether’ to Optimize Professional Development

In an effort to build better teams and optimize professional development, some of the region’s most respected companies are checking The Whether.

No, not “the weather”—The Whether: the digital platform that’s rewriting the rulebook for how talent and employers find and relate to each other. But before we go down the rabbit hole of predictive analytics and people data, we need to talk about an Ivy League grad from the South Side of Chicago.

After earning his BA from Columbia University, Chris Motley made his way to Wall Street to work as a trader at Goldman Sachs. Three years later, he enrolled in Northwestern University’s MBA program while also serving as an Executive Vice President for 1888 Mills where he helped establish a new production facility in sub-Saharan Africa.

While cutting his teeth in these valuable roles, Motley noticed shortcomings in the professional recruiting, hiring, and team building processes: there were language barriers, cultural barriers, and an overall lack of synergy between companies and qualified talent. It soon dawned on Motley that he had a different calling in life: to replace broken, outdated hiring and team building systems with an approach grounded in evidence and fueled by data. Accordingly, Motley pitched his idea during a Chicago Startup Weekend event in 2011.

He called his concept “Better Weekdays.”

Tapping into the St. Louis Startup Ecosystem

Dubbed “the Facebook for company discovery,” Better Weekdays was an instant hit among employers, students, and most importantly, investors. After being selected to participate in the Capital Innovators accelerator program in Downtown St. Louis, Motley moved his company from Chicago to the Gateway City. Upon completing the program, Motley opted to keep his company in St. Louis, citing Downtown’s vibrant startup community.

“It’s clear the Downtown community helps ensure that local startups succeed,” said Motley.

Operating in T-REX, the Downtown innovation center, The Whether won the Accelerate‘s St. Louis Startup Challenge and was also awarded the prestigious Arch Grant in 2015.

“(Chris) believes in the future of what St. Louis can be and what it can look like,” said Emily Lohse-Busch executive director of Arch Grants.

Finding the Perfect Niche

Six years after pitching Better Weekdays, the company launched its flagship product, The Whether, at South by Southwest in 2017, winning the event’s SXSWedu Launch competition. The Whether allows students to create a free profile, explore companies that might be a good fit, and “favorite” employers to learn more about them. Employers pay a monthly subscription to post content and obtain data to help target their recruiting efforts.

The breakthrough platform fuses CRM technology with a personalized career guide for students, ultimately creating a pipeline between talent and recruiters. The app’s integrated assessment, Clarity, gives users a “freakishly accurate” assessment of their strengths and values. In addition to matching organizations with new talent, the Clarity assessment can be used to optimize existing teams by giving managers new levels of “Clarity” about their employees.

Put simply, The Whether takes the guesswork out of professional development—and it works. As of today, companies utilizing The Whether include Express Scripts, Edward Jones, Monsanto and Wells Fargo. The Whether has also received national acclaim from Forbes, The Chicago Sun-Times, and Entrepreneur among others.

From students to Fortune 500 recruiters, you can bet that plenty more people will be checking The Whether in the near future.