Today in company updates: StackAdapt launches Unbiasify, Kik co-founder launches news subscription startup


This week, several startups have made announcements launching new features and partnerships. Here’s the latest on company updates.

StackAdapt launches Unbiasify to tackle bias in recruiting

Native advertising platform StackAdapt launched the Unbiasify chrome extension to encourage diversity in technology.

The open-source project — which is available for free at the Google Chrome store for download in North America — removes the name and profile photo of candidates on online recruitment platforms.

“Keeping an objective view of every candidate is integral to a successful recruitment process. As a recruiter, I want to evaluate a candidate based on their work experience and skillset, and provide a level playing field for all potential hires,” said StackAdapt Director of Talent Acquisition Martin Hauck. “By removing a candidate’s profile photo and name, we eliminate any unconscious bias that can potentially tarnish the recruitment process, such as bias towards or against specific age, race, gender, or appearance.”

Unbiasify is the second diversity and inclusion initiative from StackAdapt. In June 2017, the company launched the 18-minute #HackDiversity documentary to address bias in the tech industry.

“When we launched #HackDiversity, we learned there are many fundamental issues in the tech industry and wanted to take concrete actions to foster a more inclusive working environment,” said StackAdapt co-founder & COO Vitaly Pecherskiy. “Reducing bias in the hiring process will welcome more diversity in our industry. We want every qualified candidate applying for a position at StackAdapt to know that they are being evaluated on their knowledge, not their cultural background or gender.”

Shopify announces new augmented reality technology

Shopify has collaborated with Magnolia, a home and lifestyle brand, to create an app and pilot new AR technology.

Using the Shopify Mobile Buy SDK and Apple’s ARKit, the companies built AR models of select Magnolia homeware accents and accessories. Magnolia users will be able to place these photorealistic models of select household accessories to see how it looks within the layout of their homes.

Through this project, which is built by Mobile Buy SDK and Apple’s ARKit, Shopify can develop a strategy to incorporate AR technology onto a platform that is easily accessible for merchants and partners.

Former CTO at Kik launches new company

Co-founder and former CTO at Kik, Chris Best, and journalist Hamish McKenzie launched a new company that aims to help writers create subscription businesses, according to TechCrunch.

Best and McKenzie hope that Substack will encourage writers and publications to focus on doing meaningful work and stop focusing on the clicks.

Substack went live with its first publication, a China-focused newsletter written by MarketWatch co-founder Bill Bishop, which will cost $11 a month or $118 a year. The strategy behind Substack is that it wants to serve as a cohesive content management system for web and email, not just a provider of payment and paywall products.

“We’re very optimistic about the future of media,” McKenzie said. “People are struggling to figure it out, they’re chasing the next shiny objects. With subscription publishing, the likes of Bill and Ben Thompson have shown that there’s a huge, underexploited market that we believe can be bigger than the existing publishing industry.”


Aeman Ansari

Aeman Ansari is a freelance writer who has been published in many Toronto-based publications, including Hazlitt and Torontoist. When she’s not re-watching Hitchcock movies, she’s working on her collection of short fiction inspired by stories from her grandmother, one of the few women in India to receive post-secondary education in English literature at the time.

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