Stephanie Young, CEO and Founder of Riva, is addressing one the biggest challenges facing our workforce today: the gender pay gap.

Hi, Stephanie! What's your background, and what are you working on?

Hi Weston, great to be talking to you! I’m the co-founder and CEO of Riva ( which is an impact focused startup that uses machine learning to help people negotiate their job offers.

We have a strong focus on evening the gender pay gap by helping both men and women navigate their careers. On average we’ve been able to help people get $23,600 increases as well as reduce stress & anxiety and be their trusted career advocate.

Quickly about myself - I have four degrees from Stanford including a graduate degree in computer science and an MBA. I previously worked at Google where I got to launch Google AdWords Express’ first mobile app and YouTube where I got to work on the captions & accessibility team. I have a deep passion for social impact work.

Who are the founders and key team members?

My co-founder’s name is David Lax, he is a former professor at Harvard Business School, where he taught economics and negotiations.

He’s co-authored several negotiations books including “Manager as Negotiator” and “3D Negotiation,” has advised companies like Shell and Novartis in their negotiations, and has co-founded several of the negotiations programs at Harvard.

We also have on our team a group of amazing advisors including William Ury, also former professor at Harvard and co-author of international bestselling negotiations book “Getting to Yes,” Paul Levy, former CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and James Sebenius, current professor at HBS.

See our full team:

We also have an amazing group of interns who contribute to almost every part of the business:

What motivated you to get started with Riva?

It’s a personal journey. So many women, myself included, feel anxiety and stress when it comes to advocating for their career success. We have a real opportunity here to make a difference in the gender pay gap.

What problem are you trying to solve with Riva?

Empowering people to advocate for career success.

Why is the team uniquely capable to execute the company’s mission?

Our team collectively has 100+ years of negotiations experience. People really trust us because we are providing the world’s best negotiations advice. Anyone can feel good about negotiating because they’ve got Harvard professors behind them guiding their every step.

A big part of our company is the social mission of trying to even the gender pay gap. This is a personal mission for me; I believe we are one of few companies that can have a significant impact on this issue.

We’ve also just have an exceptional team of folks. I launched Google AdWords Express’ first mobile app. William Ury wrote a book that sold 15M copies worldwide. David Lax has advised the likes of Shell and Novartis on their negotiations.

What are the key differentiated features of your product. Do you have any competitors?

We are unabashed on the employee’s side. This differs from companies like Glassdoor and They make money from the employers so ultimately companies are paying their bills.

Who is your ideal customer?

Young professional who are 1-3 jobs out of school. Someone who wants to negotiate but doesn’t really know how. Or someone who was not thinking of negotiating at all.

What is the target market size?

Every year 41M people change jobs. Glassdoor estimates that the average American leaves $7500 on the table by not negotiating and staffing firm Robert Half estimates that 61% of Americans do not negotiate their job offers.

This means Americans lose out on $188B in compensation a year.

What early traction have you seen so far?

We’ve seen exceptional demand for our product. We haven’t spent a single dollar on growth or marketing and already we’ve got people reaching out, referring friends, sending us emails.

We’ve helped to date increase compensation by $189,000.

What's your business model, and how do you plan to generate revenue?

We take 15% of only the increase in compensation we’re able to help generate and only for the first year.

What's your advice for other founders who are just starting out?

Have fun with it! It’s one of the most fun processes and enjoy every minute of it because it changes so quickly.

I hear this advice a lot and didn’t understand it until I experienced it. People say you should be really passionate about your idea before you start something. I 100% agree with that advice. Starting something is really hard.

What are your goals for the future of Riva?

I want us to be the ultimate career advocate for employees across the country and potentially around the world. I hope that Riva will be the place people go whenever they have a career question and to know that we are unabashedly on their side.

Where can readers go to learn more?