Growing up on the Southside of Chicago (and being born to a 13 year old mother), Chris Motley knew he wanted to pursue success and empower others to be successful. However, little did he know that he would achieve such success, like raising nearly $2 million for his company Better Weekdays.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Chris and his company are also recipients of the St. Louis Innovation Award, and is also keynote at Capital Innovators’ Demo Day 2018.
While Chris may have had humble origins, he never let that stop him from pursuing a prosperous career in entrepreneurship, relying on the support of his family to motivate him.
Despite being a single mother—both she and my grandmother knew that it was important for me to be in situations (whether the church, school, or various community organizations) where I would have visibility and awareness of opportunities, and access to resources to help me seize them. That took me from a very rough neighborhood to boarding school, Columbia University, Goldman Sachs, building a manufacturing company in Africa, to founding a technology company.
Though he started out in difficult circumstances, he made his way to Columbia University, eventually securing a job with Goldman Sachs as a trader. Three years later, he had decided he needed more clarity on his career’s direction. He attended Kellog’s part time MBA program while also working for 1888 Mills as the Executive Vice President of the division he led. With the company, he aided in development of a new production facility in sub-Saharan Africa. Motley realized that replicating the assessment experience during his time with 1888 Mills worked equally well with his friends and other users. From there, Motley began working on making the idea become a reality.
Understanding inefficiencies of the job hiring process, Motley pitched his idea during a Startup Weekend event in 2011. Attending the same event, Kunal Pardabia heard Motley’s speech and realized that he too had a different calling. From there, the two connected on their interests and built a partnership. Pardabia says,
We help students answer this question by aggregating jobs, internships, mentors, and continuous learning opportunities in a single application that has been curated and personalized to each student based on their coursework, interests and strengths. The job search shouldn’t be a search because people are only aware of what they are exposed to.
With a little help from the Chicago Founder Institute, Motley and Pardabia grew Better Weekdays into a company that helps students and professionals navigate the frustration of getting hired. The two released a beta version in 2012 and ran it under the philosophy that if people are prepared and authentic, having access is the key to having an enriching career.
Better Weekdays’ provides both a platform allowing job planning and job seeking that aligned with a seeker’s preferences and compatibility. The startup currently targets students and alumni from top universities, in hopes of creating more opportunity for those who are ready to hit the ground running right after graduation. Concurrently, Better Weekdays also assists education systems receive funding by providing their alumni a better means for job searching.
Better Weekdays has received a lot of support including St. Louis University and DeVry University, and aims to help more universities provide a way to help their students shape their future. The company has also raised $1.9 Million in capital, including an investment from the St. Louis County Port Authority's Helix Fund, which announced its investment of $200,000 in Better Weekday's flagship application The Whether. This app aims to simplify and personalize the job-hiring process by matching job-seekers with companies. The $200,000 convertible note is the Helix Fund's largest investment in one company in the fund's seven-year history.