Handshake Secures $40 Million To Help College Students With Their Careers

By Dan Anderson ● November 5, 2018

Handshake is a leading career network company for U.S. college students that recently announced a $40 million Series C funding round led by EQT Ventures — which is a European multi-stage venture capital fund. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Omidyar Network, and Reach Capital also participated in this round along with several others. With this round of funding, Handshake has raised a total of $74 million.

Alastair Mitchell of EQT Ventures will be joining Handshake’s Board of Directors in conjunction with this round of funding. And representatives from CZI, Omidyar Network, Reach Capital and others are going to be joining a newly formed Impact Advisory Board to advise Handshake on growing its social impact.

Handshake was founded in 2013 by three Michigan Technological University students: Garrett Lord (CEO), Scott Ringwelski (CTO), and Ben Christensen (board member). Ultimately, they had a goal of democratizing opportunities for college students. To do this, Handshake partnered with colleges and universities to increase access to jobs and internships for students and alumni worldwide.

Initially, Handshake launched with five partner schools. And the company now works with 700 colleges and universities and there are 14 million students and 300,000 employers on its network. These employers include 100% of the Fortune 500.

“Our Handshake community is tackling the so-called ‘pipeline problem’ head on. Skilled students are on every campus in every corner of the country and we’re proud to help employers discover, recruit and hire up-and-coming talent from all backgrounds,” said Lord in a statement. “Students around the world experience the same inequality in the recruiting process, so we’re excited to partner with Alastair Mitchell and EQT Ventures to expand our impact beyond the United States.”

With this round of funding, Handshake is planning to advance its product roadmap to continue broadening the capabilities for each of the three-sided marketplace for students, employers, and universities. Currently, Handshake offers a suite of Premium employer features in its Talent Engagement Suite. And Handshake is planning to use the funding to double its workforce from 100 employees to 200 across roles in product, engineering, and design.

“Handshake is the leading, fastest-growing early-career recruitment platform in the US for students and employers,” added Mitchell. “We’re delighted to join forces with Garrett and the Handshake team on their journey, helping them to expand their footprint across North America and into new markets internationally with both financial and operational support.”

Wellesley College Associate Provost and Executive Director for Career Education Christine Y. Cruzvergara is also being added to Handshake’s leadership team as the Vice President of Higher Education and Student Success. Plus she will be leading Handshake’s partnerships with the higher education community.

“CZI is thrilled to support Handshake as it connects talented students to career opportunities that enable them to reach their full potential,” added CZI Managing Partner of Ventures Vivian Wu. “Handshake’s approach – expanding access, building student community and support, and showcasing accomplishments beyond college and degree – produces real results, especially for young people from communities that haven’t had access to high quality job and life opportunities.”