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February 24, 2022

DEI in Action: Karat Preps Black Students for Tech Interviews

student in front of blackboard

As a partner at Norwest, I understand the powerful role investments can play in shaping industries as well as the greater society. That’s why we invest in values-driven founders who view their companies not only as opportunities for financial success but also as conduits of positive change. By partnering with those types of business leaders, Norwest invests in a more inclusive, empathetic, and diverse future.

Take Karat, makers of the Interviewing Cloud, a global solution for delivering live technical interviews 24/7. As CEO Mo Bhende explains in the video below, the Karat team used their platform to power a remarkable DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiative called Brilliant Black Minds.

“When we look at the industry data, it’s very clear that there are simply not enough Black engineers in tech,” said Bhende. “Only 5 percent of the industry is Black and that has to change.”

With Brilliant Black Minds, Karat is driving DEI in the technology sector by helping Black engineers develop and refine their interview skills through a series of virtual practice interviews.


Commitment to DEI Through Action

Founded by Bhende and Jeffrey Spector (Co-Founder and President), Karat specializes in cloud-based technical interview solutions that are built to help companies source and hire highly-qualified engineers. Through their platform data, Karat identified a gap that contributed to the low representation of Black engineers in the tech space.

“When we looked even further into the information we were getting out of our interviews through the Interviewing Cloud, we realized that Black engineers do not have enough access to practice job interviews.”

With limited access to this valuable feedback, Black engineering graduates struggle to communicate their strengths and goals during actual interviews. Brilliant Black Minds aims to change that.

Karat has always helped companies hire great engineers. Now, with Brilliant Black Minds, Karat is helping great engineers of color get hired. It’s an honor to be part of a company that lives its values.

In fact, the values Karat puts into practice with the Brilliant Black Minds program are strongly aligned with the Norwest worldview. Investing in companies that are committed to DEI expands access to economic opportunities but it also can connect directly to profound growth and financial success.

From the day we invested, Mo and Jeff and I have been aligned on the mission to build a company that’s both financially successful and socially impactful.

In December 2021, Norwest hosted a virtual event for enterprise CEOs within our portfolio who were interested in adding Black independent directors to their boards. Mo participated and shared the work Karat is doing with Brilliant Black Minds. The exclusive gathering, facilitated by Andrea Hoffman from diversity and inclusion consulting firm Culture Shift Labs, bridged networks that don’t typically overlap and helped leaders in our portfolio companies to broaden their advisor and board of director ecosystems.

Visit the Norwest worldview page to find out what other values-driven leaders we’ve invested in are doing to drive positive change.