The VFA Podcast: Laura Mather, Founder & CEO at Unitive

Listen to the most recent episode of Smart People Should Build Things: The Venture for America Podcast, a original in collaboration with CBS!

Laura Mather didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur. While working as a mathematics researcher at the NSA, Laura and her colleagues built an algorithm for predicting the rise and fall of the stock market. They started out with $20k, and grew it to $200k in just 8 months. Realizing they were on to something, they took that code and put it online for people to use for their technical trading analysis. Their company still exists today. It was through this experience that Laura realized she had the “entrepreneurial gene.”

Laura went on to become a cyber security expert, working at eBay and as the Managing Director of Operational Policy at the Anti-Phishing Working Group before starting her own revolutionary company, Silver Tail Systems. Silver Tail made one assumption—that a criminal accessing a website engages in different behavior than a regular customer—and that assumption was powerful enough to drive an entire business. From that assumption, Silver Tail could detect criminal behavior in real time by monitoring website traffic and tracking web sessions.

After 5 years at Silver Tail, Laura planned to take a year off before moving on to her next adventure. She wasn’t unmoored for long—almost immediately, she felt a pull from potential customers who wanted to revamp their hiring processes to eliminate bias. Enter Unitive, a company that mitigates the naturally-occurring unconscious pattern matches in hiring by focusing hiring managers on the right types of pattern matches in candidates—a complicated way of saying that Unitive helps companies build diverse teams, a hallmark of innovative and effective organizations.

Download this week’s episode of the #VFApodcast to hear about Laura’s experience working with 42 VC’s before eventually raising over $22 million, why cyber criminals are so hard to fight these days, and how tackling diversity in hiring will make the world—and the economy—stronger.

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