Lisa Skeete Tatum might not put it this way herself. But if she's successful, her company, LandIt, will become what LinkedIn only wishes it could be. Rather than help keep people connected throughout their career, as LinkedIn aspires to do, LandIt wants to attract them right at the moment when they're ready for something new, and perhaps, most likely to pay for guidance or inspiration.
LandIt, which opened its public beta on Wednesday, is designed to help experienced professionals draw up a playbook for their career. It's specifically aimed at those who feel a little stuck--wanting a new challenge, or wanting to excel in a current position--but don't know where to turn.
LandIt is focusing on women first, because as Skeete Tatum, the company's co-founder, puts it, "The challenges of advancement, the challenges of engagement, are more acute with women." She thinks that's because women are less often part of the informal networks that promote (literally and figuratively) their own members; women may feel they're too busy to pay attention to their personal branding and positioning; and women are less likely to have a roadmap for advancement or the access needed to travel it.
To solve these problems, LandIt begins by collecting an unusual amount of personal information. LandIt isn't just interested in your job history, although it wants that, too. It asks about volunteer experience, if you mind working 70 hours a week or would rather be a part-time consultant, and if you prefer to work as part of a team or place a higher value on autonomy. It asks you to identify your own personal board, slotting advisors into categories such as "connector" or "point expert."
LandIt then takes all of this information and uses it to find jobs that a candidate might not think to apply for. The idea is to evaluate a candidate's goals, skills, and work culture, and to find a fit--conspicuously ignoring things like job titles and industry, at least at the beginning.
"In many ways we're taking the bias out of it," says Skeete Tatum. "It's not about what the job description is, it's about what companies define as being successful. We're matching not only for the competency but for the fit."
Those services will be free to LandIt's individual customers, and employers will pay to put their listings on the site. For women willing to pay, LandIt has embarked upon a variety of partnerships to help women qualify for the jobs they most want. LandIt has partnered with resume experts to take a look at how candidates look on paper, and to rewrite a resume if the candidate asks. It is also working with Mobius Executive Leadership to offer coaching. "Usually you don't get coaching until you're on your way to the C-Suite," says Skeete Tatum. "If you really want to enable women you have to bring that access more broadly, and bring it earlier in their careers."
Skeete-Tatum came to LandIt from her own personal "what next?" moment. It's hard to believe she had any shortage of opportunities: She'd started her career at Procter & Gamble, was a general partner at investing firm Cardinal Partners for 11 years--making her one of the very few black women VCs--and, when she came up with the idea for LandIt in 2014, was finishing a stint at the Aspen Institute as a Henry Crown Fellow.
But when it came to her next move, even she was stuck. As part of the Crown Fellows program, each fellow was supposed to commit to a project, says Skeete Tatum, and she pretty quickly realized that her project, at least metaphorically, was herself. "The more I talked to women, the more I realized we're talking millions of women feeling stuck in some regard or they're in a position and they aren't sure how to excel," she says. "They're highly motivated, and they're looking for a plan."
In 2015 Skeete Tatum raised $2 million in seed money from a variety of backers, including New Enterprise Associates, Cue Ball Capital, Xfund, and Female Founders Fund. Her company is now up to seven people, and has been testing LandIt with a few hundred beta users since fall of 2015. Expect to see them soon in a co-working space, pitch session, or board room near you.