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Startup Touts Unique Talent Pool: Workers with Autism

Business

Startup Touts Unique Talent Pool: Workers with Autism

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Tech startup Daivergent connects contractors on the autism spectrum with clients in need of their skill sets

By Anne Kadet | The Wall Street Journal

Alexis Prendergast, a Brooklyn 25-year-old who has autism spectrum disorder, is the first to admit there are skills she hasn’t mastered. “Mostly it’s social stuff. I miss some cues,” she says. Her wiring also lends unusual strengths, like an ability to focus for long stretches on tasks requiring great attention to detail. Happily, she found an employer looking for someone just like her.

Daivergent, a Manhattan tech startup, provides autistic contractors to clients seeking high accuracy and speed on tasks including data entry and online research.

Most people find these jobs tedious and tiring; they get sloppy after an hour, says co-founder and chief executive officer Byran Dai. But Daivergent’s autistic workers “can do it for the day, can do it for the week, can do it month after month,” he says.

Mr. Dai, who launched his company in February with $50,000 in savings and $100,000 in funding from the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, manages a team of four autistic employees at his headquarters and a pool of some 200 contractors around the country who work from home.

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