Daivergent, the Startup Connecting Tech Companies to Autistic Candidates

Daivergent matches people on the autism spectrum to jobs in data and AI requiring very high attention to detail.

22.11.2019 | by Kezia Parkins
Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash
Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

Daivergent is unlocking the unique talents of people on the autism spectrum and connecting them to tech companies through its AI-powered platform.

Many of the most innovative companies have a beautiful personal story behind them. A great example of this is Daivergent, a recruitment platform dedicated to matching people with autism and developmental disabilities to jobs in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) data management.

Founded in 2018, US-based Daivergent was set up by Byran Dai after realising that his autistic brother would be a perfect candidate for a whole hoard of job roles where there is a deficit in the talent pool.

In a world where AI and ML technologies are becoming present in almost all areas of life, in tandem, data organisation is becoming a top priority across practically all sectors.

“Professionally, I was a data scientist and I understood the challenges that went into artificial intelligence. They’re looking for people who are detail-oriented,” Dai explained in a Freethink video.

“They want people who are able to really handle complex data and information, and these are characteristics that are hallmarks of folks who are in the autism community.”

L: Bryan Dai, CEO Daivergent R: Brandon Dai, Bryan’s brother and inspiration.

Certain high-complexity tasks that require extraordinary attention to detail, such as data entry and enrichment, quality assurance and data validation, and content moderation are all areas in which some on the spectrum can shine.

But, despite having certain skills that often go above beyond those with neurotypical brains, people on the autism spectrum (neurodiverse) are far more likely to be unemployed—often because of their unique struggles that can make them seem like outsiders in a world built by neurotypicals.

The numbers are sorrowfully high, with Autism Speaks estimating autistic adult unemployment/underemployment rates as high as 90 percent.

This is what Daivergent has set out to change—providing a worldwide talent pool of vetted job candidates on the autism spectrum.

According to The New York Times, the company already has 20 corporate clients and has helped 75 people find work. There are about 1,100 candidates in the Daivergent pool.

The startup sources talent from universities, autism organisations, government agencies and family groups. These candidates then go through a screening process, which assesses their abilities to complete various data-driven tasks.

They then become Daivergent contractors, where they get further training and start working on projects.

When a new task comes in, the company breaks down the project into smaller tasks and assigns them to its various workers. The company also determines the complexity of the overall project, factoring in the urgency level of the request, to decide pricing.

Daivergent takes a small cut of the earnings and passes the rest on to the workers.

Danielle Levine is a remote data specialist at Divergent. She says:
“It’s pretty awesome because they feel like they could trust us, whatever they have. They don’t underestimate us. They believe in us.”

Daivergent team: Bryan Dai centre

It was recently announced that the startup had partnered with SAP Fieldglass, a software company providing a cloud-based Vendor Management System (VMS) to manage services procurement and external workforce management programs.

The new partnership will mean Daivergent will be able to reach more businesses that could greatly benefit from a more neurodiverse workforce.

“By integrating our solution with SAP Fieldglass and offering Daivergent for Autism Recruiting on the SAP App Center, we are opening doors for our candidates and putting them in front of companies that care as much about diversity as they do about their bottom line,” said Byran Dai.

“SAP Fieldglass customers looking for specialized workers skilled in navigating the complex, detail-oriented tasks can find high-quality candidates through Daivergent,” Dai continued.

“SAP has long championed the benefits of a diverse workplace and we’re excited to welcome Daivergent as an application extension partner of SAP Fieldglass,” said Sean Thompson, senior vice president, Business Network and Ecosystem, SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass.

“With our own Autism at Work program, we’ve seen firsthand how individuals on the autism spectrum bring specialized skills and expertise to their very technical roles. By partnering with Daivergent, we’re now providing our customers with the opportunity to recruit contingent workers – an arrangement increasingly preferred – from Daivergent’s unique talent pool to help address some of their most challenging data processing needs.”

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