Syndio CEO Maria Colacurcio on How Tech Can Build Workplace Equity

Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

Syndio CEO Maria Colacurcio
Courtesy of Maria Colacurcio

Maria Colacurcio launched her first business in the fifth grade. Her goal: raise enough money for her friends to buy jackets inspired by The Pink Ladies in “Grease.” Her method: sell ideas for dares that kids seeking playground mischief could perform.

Her efforts earned her a bad reputation; Colacurcio said it was her first exposure to how culture can make or break a business.

On this episode of Office Hours, the Syndio CEO joined host Spencer Rascoff to discuss how technology can change workplace equity and the importance of company-specific decision making.

Colacurcio became CEO of Syndio, a SaaS startup that aims to help companies foster workplace equity, when there were fewer than a dozen employees. Initially a “people analytics” company focused on providing clients with data about their staff, Colacurcio said one of her first big decisions was whether to shift focus to a side project started by founder Zev Eigen. Looking at the competitive landscape and considering their big idea, Colacurcio said they decided to bet on a calculator that provided real-time pay equity analysis.

“It was a way to give companies more real time access to doing ongoing pay equity analyses and get the insights as to why it was happening,” she said. “We saw the market changing.”

Tech like Syndio’s is becoming increasingly necessary as people consider what workplace equity looks like, she said. As Colacurcio learned as a kid, culture can define a company—and understanding how policies and behaviors impact pay equity, hiring trends and internal promotions all impact corporate culture.

While many companies are concerned about a looming recession, Colacurcio said Syndio remains in a good place to grow. In fact, she said companies should examine their situation before jumping into layoffs, which often disproportionately affect marginalized groups—the very communities that Syndio’s tech seeks to uplift.

“I think you have to be really careful about automatically moving to that mindset of ‘batten down the hatches’ and really look at your business,” Colacurcio said. “Look at your metrics—what [does] your magic number look like? What [does] your operational efficiency look like? How much are you spending for every dollar of revenue? And if those metrics look decent, this may be a moment for you to actually pull away from the pack.”

Want to hear more episodes? Subscribe to Office Hours on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA Editorial Intern Kristin Snyder contributed to this post.

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Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

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Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

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Photo courtesy of AmazeVR

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