UGA doctoral students launch successful startup business by Avery Scott

Two University of Georgia Ph.D students have come together to create a successful startup business based in Chicago, ultimately raising $3 million in seed funding. 

Their platform, Anthill, is a talent software created with the intention of providing deskless workers with the necessary support and communication that knowledge workers and those who do work at a desk tend to receive.

“We would always see that it was 80% of the workforce that is deskless,” said Muriel Clauson, co-founder and CEO of Anthill, of the research she and fellow co-founder and CTO, Young Jae Kim, did. “We were really inspired through all of the experiences we had working with this population to build a technology that’s custom built for their needs and that style of working, and that’s really where the idea was born from.”

Clauson said “deskless” work refers to jobs in manufacturing, distribution, retail or any other job in which the employee doesn’t work at a desk with a computer.

The software includes services such as talent mapping, which provides insight into important information such as development pathways, potential ability, skill sets, and more in an easy to understand, organized format. Additionally, Anthill offers an SMS-based communication channel which allows employers and employees to communicate to improve both the efficiency and success of the business, as well as the workplace environment for the employees.

“It’s more about the communication between employees and employers,” Kim said. “So we need to provide professional insights for their employees, but at the same time it needs to also provide the same information for employers.”

This idea, which was only amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic greatly increasing the number of remote workers, caught the attention of several investment companies. The primary investment partner, Rethink Education, was drawn in by the positive impact Anthill promised as their mission is to promote companies who look to do more than simply turn a profit, according to Clauson.

Other investors include BBG VenturesOrigin VenturesThe Fund, Jobs for the Future and more. In total, the co-founders and their team were able to raise $3 million in seed funding after only a year and a half.

Seed funding is when outside investors choose to invest in a startup or new business that they find promising in its early stages of development, often in exchange for equity in the company.

Clauson said the money is being used to expand Antill’s workforce. Using these funds, they were able to double their team and broaden their reach to encompass more workers.

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Jennifer Harris-Kroll

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