Founder Friday: Manoj Jonna, Mitch DeForest & Danny Leonard, Co-Founders of Ramped 💼
Founder Friday is a content series from SuperAngel.Fund highlighting companies in our portfolio and the inspiring founders behind them.
Ramped is on a mission to build the next generation of workforce ready talent for top employers. Founded in 2020, Ramped helps “upskill” job seekers to attain the credentials and experience that employers covet most. With the average applicant mass-applying to 65 positions before securing their ideal job, there is a massive need to reimagine the search process. Ramped teaches members all the skills they need to succeed, in the role they want, AND how to nail the interview - all for FREE. This leads to a much more efficient matching process, with their users averaging only five applications per job, a 13x better success rate.
The company is founded by startup veterans, each of whom comes from a sales background: Manoj was part of the founding team at YayPay before it was acquired, holds a JD from Georgetown Law and has been a fully licensed CPA since he was 22. Mitch was a top seller at YayPay and MuleSoft following his collegiate days at University of North Carolina, where he was captain of the swim team. Finally, Danny, who has who has a BBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, has built multiple sales teams taking them from scratch through scale at companies like Groupon, Square, Zeus Living, and Modern Health.
Earlier this year the company closed more than $3m in seed funding, with impressive MoM growth, including onboarding hundreds of employer partners, such as Northwestern Mutual, Moody’s, Sendoso and others. If you are looking for your next career move, check out their open roles here!
Describe your company in 5 words or less.
Manoj: Skills based hiring platform.
Danny: Pre-skilling career discovery platform.
Mitch: Ramped helps people land jobs.
What was your primary motivation for starting your business?
Manoj: To make the world a better place by unlocking real access to jobs & economic opportunities for everyone.
Danny: Democratizing access to top-notch jobs and how to obtain those jobs.
Mitch: Ramped is my first (real) company I Co-Founded. My primary motivation in starting Ramped was: (1) Be entrepreneurial. I love building, solving problems, and working with a team towards a common goal. (2) Build something that is society-positive. I knew if I ever started my own company it would have to be something I can feel really good about. Making a positive impact on others is a huge motivator and keeps me grinding when times get tough. (3) Progress towards financial freedom. I don't know if Ramped will be the company that provides me with true financial freedom (I'm trying to make happen!) But I do know that building a company is the fastest way build real, lasting wealth. And I’d rather be in control of my own destiny then leave it up to chance working for someone else.
What piece of advice would you give an entrepreneur starting a business today?
Manoj: Don't be afraid of experimenting and iterating.
Danny: Work with people you love, respect, and admire. You are going to be spending a significant amount of time building your business; it's meaningfully easier to do it with excellent teammates.
Mitch: Starting a business is hard. And when it gets hard, which it will, don't stop. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Do the smallest task you can think of - send the email, make the call, code the feature. Just keep moving forward. Stagnation is death. But if you keep making progress, even the smallest of steps add up into giant leaps.
What do you love to do in your free time?
Danny: Golf, ski, watch sports (Michigan Wolverines & Minnesota pro sports).
Mitch: I love to travel and surf. My wife and I both work fully remote and have been living the nomadic life for a couple of years now. We've lived in/visited 11 countries this year already and have a couple more coming up this fall. We love slipping into a new culture, checking out new food, and exploring how others live. I also try to find a beach with waves when ever I can : )
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited recently and why?
Manoj: Blue Ridge, Georgia because being in nature was serene.
Danny: Tel Aviv for my wife's cousin's bar mitzvah - I met Amar'e Stoudemire there too!
Mitch: We lived in Berlin for a couple of weeks this summer and I completely fell in love. It was my first time in the city and I can't wait to get back there. The people and the city itself are so raw, real, and alive. It's teeming with diversity. Everyone is 100% authentically themselves and no one cares / judges each-other for it. The food and natural wine scene are amazing. And the public transportation (bikes and scooters!!) is top notch. All around a A+ city in my book.
What is your favorite app or tool in your work life and in your personal life?
Manoj: Slack for work life and can't live without it. Spotify in my personal life because EDM is life :)
Danny: Work: Calendly - scheduling is now a treat! Personal: journaling w/ pen and paper - I rarely write out my thoughts via app anymore, so this helps me gain clarity.
Mitch: Work life: Loom is incredibly handy for communicating internally with our remote team and to easily send customers/prospects videos. Personal life: Feels like every week we're using Google Flights and Airbnb.
What do you believe is the most important skill or attribute of a successful founder?
Mitch: Determination. You have to really want it.
SuperAngel.Fund is an early stage fund that invests in Consumer, PropTech & Future of Work. You can learn more at SuperAngel.Fund.