Welcome, Handshake!

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General Partner at Spark. Previously: Investment Partner at Kleiner Perkins, built products for people @Square & @Google. I'm told I talk fast.
5 mins ago

Welcome, Handshake!

“Talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not.”

We’re delighted to welcome Handshake to the Spark Capital family as the lead investor in their $20mm Series B fundraise.

At Spark, we obsess over ways technology can be leveraged for good to build meaningful, impactful businesses. We have a particular affinity for mission-driven companies that better connect people, resources and information. In no vertical is that more critical and urgent than in the job market.

Today’s younger generations suffer from an “underemployement” challenge: more students are going to college than ever before, but they are struggling to find jobs that lead to meaningful careers. At the same time, employers are grappling with the impact technology is having on their workforce. The skills and experience needed continue to evolve beyond the traditional recruiting lens of the top GPAs from the top universities. Lastly, colleges themselves are under more pressure than ever to prove their ROI. They have historically lacked tools to track and measure the success of their student bodies post graduation and turn those insights into recommendations for their existing undergraduates.

Handshake is the solution. The company is the leading recruiting marketplace for college students. They provide a platform for universities, students and employers to help students get great jobs and build meaningful careers no matter where they’re from, what school they go to, or who they know.

In just two years, the company has scaled to be the recruiting marketplace of choice for 170 schools in the United States. These universities range from large state schools like Georgia, Oklahoma and Berkeley to smaller private schools like Stanford, Princeton, Morehouse and Harvey Mudd. This means that any recruiting activity that takes place at these universities happens on Handshake — including job postings, information sessions, applications and interviews.

Handshake has grown quickly because it turns isolated career center portals into a connected network of schools and employment opportunities. When a school joins Handshake, the company automatically creates a rich resume for every student which can be further personalized with interests, career aspirations and other relevant information for potential employers. As of today there are over three million student profiles on Handshake.

All employers on the platform then have ability to recruit at any school, without the traditional on campus recruiting capital investment or the hassle of managing multiple recruiting accounts. It is not uncommon for employers to expand their search to over 100 schools on Handshake simply because adding additional schools becomes as simple as the click of a button. While this greatly expands an employer’s overall candidate pool, Handshake’s structured data around career interests, location preferences, and activities allows employers to more effectively find the best possible candidates, no matter what school they’re at.

To date there are over 100,000 employers on Handshake including 100% of the Fortune 100 and 96% of the Fortune 500. As a result of having complete student body profiles and a shared network of employers, universities see a 3x increase in the number of job opportunities available to their students.

This challenge of better connecting students with the best professional opportunities is deeply personal to Handshake’s exceptional founder, Garrett Lord. Garrett attended Michigan Tech in Michigan’s upper-upper-upper peninsula. As a student, he was frustrated by the lack of on campus opportunities available to hard working students like himself. Like great entrepreneurs before him, Garrett recognized that his problem reflected a larger disconnect that needed solving — specifically in the way schools, students and employers recruited and the technology that was readily available to them. Garrett’s founding story reflects his tenacity and drive — his will, above all else, motivated us to invest. We are delighted to support Garrett and the entire Handshake team on their mission to expand opportunity for students everywhere.

(And — they’re hiring!)

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    Go to the profile of megan quinn

    megan quinn

    General Partner at Spark. Previously: Investment Partner at Kleiner Perkins, built products for people @Square & @Google. I'm told I talk fast.


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