Queer Tech History / Stephanie VanPutten

Anna R.
June 20, 2024

Stephanie (Lampkin) VanPutten’s work has spanned the realms of tech, venture capital, and business. She founded and led Blendoor, now BlendScore, a DEI SaaS company that helps companies measure the outcomes of their DEI programming. In 2017, she founded Visible Figures, the world's largest network of venture-backed Black women, after being one of fewer than 100 Black women to raise more than $2 million in venture funding. Through her work, VanPutten has been committed to eliminating bias, with a special emphasis on the hiring process, as well as improving pay equality for people from underrepresented communities. While she’s best known for her contributions to tech, she’s also a former downhill ski racer!

Source: Stephanie VanPutten

VanPutten got started coding at 13, taking AP Computer Science and participating in hackathons in high school. She went on to attend Stanford University, where she received her bachelor's degree in Management Science and Engineering. From there, she worked at Microsoft and TripAdvisor before returning to school. She attended the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she received her MBA.

Soon after, she applied for an analytics job at a major tech company but was instead offered a position in sales. She declined the position and decided it was time to create something for herself, something that would tackle systemic bias in the recruiting process, and thus Blendoor was created. VanPutten spent two months coding the initial iteration of Blendoor all by herself before launching. Blendoor removes key identifying information, like names or photos, during the initial interview process to focus on the skills and experience of a candidate.

As the company evolved, it expanded its offerings to help combat other biases that might exist in the workplace. The BlendScore™ was created to help companies better make sense of their DEI efforts. Essentially, companies would be given a sort of FICO score pertaining to their company culture, hiring efforts, and commitment to equity and inclusion. Blendoor has since been acquired and is now known as BlendScore.

Noticing a major gap in venture funding for Black women, she went on to found Visible Figures, a platform and global network for Black women and non-binary founders, investors, inventors, artists, intellectuals, executives, and politicians to connect. Visible Figures also specifically aims to create more venture funding and capital for Black women through community, access to capital, and media. Follow along on Substack to stay up to date! 

VanPutten is also a member of the National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, and Black Data Processing Associates. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in addition to her ongoing work with Visible Figures. Her work has been highlighted in The Atlantic, MIT Tech Review, The New York Times, Forbes, and Bloomberg. She has been part of Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list.

VanPutten’s 20+ year career in tech has been marked by many achievements, all reflective of her commitment to eliminating bias and creating systemic change for communities too often left out of tech and business spaces. While Stephanie VanPutten is already part of Queer Tech History, there’s still plenty more history to make.

References & Readings

Creating and Upholding New Standards with Stephanie VanPutten
Blendoor App Breaks Down Computer Bias In Hiring

ETL Speaker Series: Stephanie Lampkin, Blendoor by Standfor (video)

Stephanie Van Putten, Computer History Museum
SVPand.co (personal website)
This Club Of Black Women, With $2.1B In Collective Capital Raised, Is Disrupting Silicon Valley
This Entrepreneur Aims to Eliminate Bias in Recruiting | DealBook

Visible Figures Substack