Making It Work: Inclusio looks to global growth for diversity software solution

The DCU spinout has completed seed funding for its AI-driven tech to help businesses improve their diversity and inclusion practices

Sandra Healy set up Inclusio four years ago

For Sandra Healy, 2022 will be the “year of the employee”. The founder of Inclusio, an Irish tech start-up, believes that her AI-driven solution can help companies around Ireland – and the world – improve their diversity and inclusion practices.

Healy set up Inclusio more than four years ago with the aim of building a cutting-edge software solution that would allow businesses to measure how they were performing on diversity, and work out how to create workplaces attractive to employees.

The Enterprise Ireland-backed company, spun out of Dublin City University in 2020, has developed technology that combines AI with psychology to give companies tangible metrics by which they can benchmark their progress on diversity and inclusion. It believes it can take the product global over the coming years.

It currently counts Sodexo, Colgate Palmolive and FBD among its clients, and already has a global presence. With 31 staff in four locations, the firm believes it is ahead of the curve when it comes to AI-driven diversity software.

“If a company is starting out, for example, their biggest challenge may be how to get started,” Healy told the Business Post. “We provide them with meaningful data points. We conduct meaningful gap analysis and help them to understand the next steps to take to start to generate some impact.”

Over the last two years, Inclusio has conducted industry research in collaboration with 35 companies around the world. Healy said the firms were keen to understand how to better manage their employees, particularly when it came to diversity and inclusion policies.

“Business and HR leaders recognise that greater diversity and inclusion impacts a company’s culture and brand, its ability to attract and retain talent, and its business performance,” she said.

Increasingly, companies are turning to technology to help them bridge the gap between where they are and where their staff want them to be. They often struggle to collect data on diversity, and they have no way of concretely tracking the effectiveness of measures they take to improve on the issue.

At the same time, many employees are reluctant to participate in these fact-finding missions because they don’t like disclosing personal information that can be attached to their HR record. They want to be heard, but they don’t trust the mechanisms available to them.

Inclusio takes a “gamified approach” to helping its clients, Healy explained, offering employees the chance to anonymously self-report in a process that’s “real, honest and based on science”.

In practice, this means that for five minutes a day, staff at Inclusio clients use its software to build their profile and give feedback about their experiences.

“Studies consistently show that diverse organisations are more innovative, have better business outcomes, and are more profitable,” Healy said.

Inclusio has enjoyed rapid success, having completed a seed funding last year. The firm is planning a Series A round in 2022 as part of its push for more international growth.

Healy said the company’s goal was to remain the leader in diversity and inclusion technology, and to launch in Britain, Canada and the US. “We want companies to choose Inclusio to measure their diversity and inclusion performance and progress at every stage of their journey,” she said.