Female Founded, Coded, and Led: Pequity on International Women’s Day


International Women’s Day isn’t something we suddenly cared about out of the blue.

Last year, our CEO, Kaitlyn Knopp, wrote a heartfelt statement on LinkedIn around her thoughts on IWD.

“International Women’s Day is meant to celebrate women and their accomplishments, but it’s also to recognize people who are helping fix the root issues,” Kaitlyn wrote. 

“[This] is what we’re doing at Pequity. I know we’ve been toiling away at the backend of a crazy complex tool, but we are addressing a serious misdirection in the market that underpays women & minorities–and in tech, can even cause men to be underpaid unfairly.”

In that spirit, we want to again celebrate International Women’s Day by recognizing the contributions of women across the globe, and by highlighting the accomplishments of the women in our own company.


“Being in this world of compensation is a huge responsibility,” says Kaitlyn Knopp, CEO and founder of Pequity.

“Compensation touches everything. It’s how you’re paid, and why. 

It shouldn’t be this black box experience where employees don’t know if they can trust their employer to be fair.”

Kaitlyn explained that compensation discrepancies are rarely a malicious act on behalf of employers.

“We all have biases,” she said. 

“It’s not toxicity, or one evil fatcat smoking a cigar and pulling the strings. 

It’s just an outcome of a million points of context, like timing, that affect base salaries and total compensation.”

Kaitlyn has a deep background in compensation, having worked with Instacart, Google, Lockheed, and more.

“Comp is 30 to 40% of a company’s spend. 50% if you’re a consulting firm,” she explained.

“You can’t survive if you underpay. You can’t survive if you overpay.”

And that’s a core problem Pequity is looking to solve.


“When we built the MVP, we had to build something that is sort of a trojan horse,” Kaitlyn said.

She explained that any successful comp tool would have to benefit companies with direct ROI when it comes to hiring.

And that ROI would put them on the fast track to caring about pay equity.

“We figured, the closer we can tie pay equity to direct business outcomes, the more likely we can get pay equity airtime,” Kaitlyn said.

So she set out with some mock ups to find a skilled engineer to do the coding.

“I posted a short job description on the /forhire sub on Reddit,” said Ioana Manoliu, who goes by io.

“It was the first time I was offering my full-stack expertise,” she said.

“One day later, Kaitlyn reaches out to me—and the rest is history.”

The first exchange between Kaitlyn and io.

“I was not familiar with the space at all,” io said. “No knowledge of salaries, ranges, or American ways of paying.”

Before Pequity, io did internships in France for a few tech companies, including fintech.

“I really liked that She worked on a fintech app,” said Kaitlyn. “Plus she had very unique ways of thinking about engineering.”

Io explained that she spent two years in an advanced online coding course. 

“It was an experimental course by Zed Shaw. He built the first engine for Twitter. And I knew him from before, just from reading his books, and talking to him online.

He told me about the experimental course he was doing, and it intrigued me,” io said.

“I had this mistaken belief that if you grew up studying languages, you could not code. You needed to be someone who studies mathematics or science to understand computer languages.

That’s just not true.

I studied languages, and I’m the engineer who selected Pequity’s entire database and tech stack.”

Io explained that studying languages helped her structure the code in a harmonious way.

“You better understand the melodies, and how it’s constructed. The same thing applies to coding, because it gives you more angles to view the various problems you’re trying to solve.”

The same thing applied when creating Pequity. People needed a comp tool that was usable—not confusing.

“The MVP was initially just one page,” io said.

Just like today, the MVP goal was to highlight outliers, so companies have the best data to make decisions on their own.

“We wanted to help companies find trends early,” said Kaitlyn, “instead of being reactionary and having to scoop buckets of water out of the boat.”

With a viable product in-hand, Pequity went to market.


“We met with probably 20 sales leaders,” said Kaitlyn, “and all of them were qualified in different ways.”

With a product now on offer, Kaitlyn needed someone to uncover the best marketing message, and take that out into the wider world.

“When we met Brooke, we felt it. Culturally it was a strong fit, and she had the teeth and the grit that we wanted,” said Kaitlyn.

Brooke Hamrick came on in 2021 as Head of Growth, to oversee both the sales and marketing departments at Pequity.

“I knew she could help me grow,” said Kaitlyn. “I had gaps that she could help fill.”

Brooke found that positive vibe was a two-way street.

“I joined because I believe in Kaitlyn’s vision and her approach,” said Brooke. 

“You don’t often find a CEO who nails both—and I saw that as a special opportunity.”

In less than a year, Brooke has tripled her departments, and brought on some major logos and renewals.

Robinhood, a “top traded stock” on Fidelity, is now a Pequity customer, along with Instacart, who’s leading the grocery delivery market.

“Pequity serves all types of companies, but these large tech players are seeing outstanding results—especially around competition for talent,” said Brooke.

“I’ve loved helping our vision come to life, and experiencing what it can be like to connect passion, product, and people.”


“It feels normal,” Kaitlyn said, “to have women founding, coding, and running a business.”

Kaitlyn is adamant on this point. 

“When it comes to aptitudes, leadership skills, and ability to execute—that’s very individual.

Yes, it’s important to have a team that’s representative. But the proof of having a successful, women-led company is in that first part—the fact that we’re doing so well.”

Kaitlyn elaborated on recent accomplishments, and state of the company.

“Things are going up and to the right for sales, employee morale, nearly everything,” she said.

This is coming off a TechCrunch announcement of $19M in funding for Pequity last year.

“It’s relatively easy for us to attract top top talent because of our growth trajectory, and the talent that’s already here,” Kaitlyn explained.

“We always want to have a diverse top of funnel, when it comes to hiring. But we always choose an individual. It’s an individual who will be doing the job.

I hired Brooke because I know culture will trickle down, especially in these early days. And we needed someone who brought the positive energy, and the sales tenacity.

And Io—to be honest I didn’t know she was a female. She was the first person that I met who was named “io” and I thought it might even be a clever reddit handle. It just happened to be that she was a woman.”

Pequity has chosen a fair, and conscious method of bringing leadership onto the team.

That talent, and the outcomes they are creating, has gathered the attention of some major players.

“You wouldn’t believe how many VC calls we get,” said Kaitlyn, with Brooke nodding in agreement.

“But right now, we’re focused on our product roadmap, and growing our team.

That’s how we get to the next level.”

If you’d like to see how Pequity works, we’d love to show you exactly how to automate your HR workflows to save you time, money and talent.

Get a demo today and make Pequity your next, big advantage.

Kaitlyn Knopp

Kaitlyn is a renowned compensation expert, with experience as an analyst and leader of compensation teams in the tech industry with companies including Google, Cruise, and Instacart. Her passion for equitable compensation and efficient systems led her to create and launch Pequity, built on the principles of fair pay and opportunity for all.


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