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Vinco Wins SHRM's 2022 HR Technology Startup Competition

A woman is holding a trophy while standing next to a man.
From left, ​SHRM Chief Knowledge Officer Alex Alonso, SHRM-SCP, and SHRMLabs Managing Director Guillermo Corea present the Better Workplaces Challenge Cup to Vinco co-founder and CEO Lissy Giacomán.

Vinco, an education-technology company based in Monterrey, Mexico, has won the second annual SHRMLabs Better Workplaces Challenge Cup (BWCC). The announcement was made June 14 at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2022 in New Orleans.

SHRMLabs is the workplace innovation hub and venture capital arm of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The competition aims to bridge the gap between companies that are creating workplace technologies and the end users of their products: HR professionals and their workforces.

"We would like to congratulate Vinco and all the finalists for their ingenuity in the human resource field," said Alex Alonso, SHRM-SCP, chief knowledge officer at SHRM. "As the HR field continues to evolve, we need to be able to innovate and adapt to the new landscape. This competition has proven a win for connecting investors and inventors to promote creative solutions."

Vinco co-founder and CEO Lissy Giacomán and three other BWCC finalists presented their final pitches at the conference in front of a panel of judges, including Cindy Eckert, an entrepreneur and the CEO of The Pink Ceiling, which invests in companies founded by women; and Kevin Harrington, an entrepreneur and Original Shark on the ABC TV show "Shark Tank."

Giacomán recently spoke with SHRM Online about Vinco and how it improves work and the practice of human resources.

"Vinco serves as a bridge between employers seeking to upskill and retain their workforce, working adults who want to earn credentials, and educational institutions looking to drive their enrollment online," she said. "We make it easy for HR teams to upskill their employees at scale, and we do so by connecting their employees with more than 2,000 top educational programs for working adults and by providing personal coaches to help workers be successful students, all while improving employee retention and productivity."

Giacomán added that there are more educational programs available, especially online, but that access to these programs is not equitable. "At Vinco, we focus on helping historically underserved and undereducated populations, the operational base of companies, to connect with more and better educational opportunities and prepare the workforce for the jobs of the future," she said.

Vinco was awarded a cash prize of $50,000.

Narrowing the Field

The four finalists were selected from over 150 initial submissions. The three-round competition kicked off with 10 virtual first rounds beginning in February. The top two startups from each of the first rounds competed in the semifinals in May. The 20 semifinalists represented innovations in areas such as benefits usage; diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I); employee experience; hybrid and remote work; people analytics; and career development. At each round, innovators presented to a panel of judges composed of HR practitioners and business executives.

"Each year, I can't help but be inspired by the next generation of innovators bringing skills to the market," said Guillermo Corea, managing director of SHRMLabs. "The solutions being presented today have real-world impact, and we're serving as a platform to make that effect even bigger. Congratulations to all the competitors for their work."

In addition to Vinco, the SHRMLabs 2022 BWCC finalists included:

  • Automation Workz: An app that motivates upskilling and reskilling for front-line workers, based in Detroit.
  • Included: A platform that operationalizes and scales DE&I, based in Redmond, Wash.
  • Inclusivv: An engagement platform that facilitates conversations, based in Atlanta.

The application process for the 2023 Better Workplaces Challenge Cup contest will open later this year.


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