San Francisco-based Handshake, a recruiting platform for early talent, has raised $80 million in Series D funding round to help students and recent graduates find the right job and get hired.
The round was led by GGV Capital with participation from EQT Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Spark Capital, True Ventures, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Emerson Collective and Imaginable Futures, among others.
Founded in 2014, Handshake is democratizing opportunity and ensuring college students have the support they need to find a great job and kick-start a meaningful career regardless of where they’re from or where they go to school. It provides a platform for college-aged students to register their interest and skills and search for suitable work, and for recruiters to search for candidates and advertise entry-level openings.
Handshake currently supports nearly 17 million students, and partners with more than 1,000 institutions of higher learning, including 120+ minority-serving institutions, which include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions in the US. The platform connects up-and-coming talent with over 500,000 employers recruiting – from every Fortune 500 company to thousands of small businesses, nonprofits, startups, and more.
Explaining what the company is all about, Garrett Lord, Co-founder and CEO, Handshake, said in a blog post while announcing the funding,
“My co-founders and I started Handshake to ensure that all students are able to find meaningful work, regardless of where they’re from or where they go to school. This year that mission has been more critical than ever, as many college students and early job-seekers have had their worlds turned upside-down due to COVID-19. As students have grappled with new complexities like campus closures, widespread unemployment, and uncertain futures, they’ve had to boldly embrace the unknown – and Handshake is committed to helping them through it.”
Garrett said the funding will enable Handshake to serve an expanded universe of students and build innovative solutions that revolutionize how employers hire early talent to build a truly diverse workforce.
Garrett added that since day one, their vision for Handshake has been to build the largest, most inclusive community for early talent, and that the company wants to continue to use its resources to expand its impact across the early talent landscape by supporting students who are building skills and earning credentials from community colleges and bootcamps.
Commenting on the investment, Jeff Richard, Managing Partner of GGV Capital, said in a statement,
“Since its founding, Handshake has been laser focused on delivering on its vision to democratize job opportunity by connecting employers with job seeking students at institutions of higher education, and has built a rich network of 17 million job seekers, 1,000 institutions of higher learning and nearly 500,000 employers. We’re delighted to join forces with the Handshake team to help the company further expand its impact by delivering innovative, industry-leading recruitment solutions and expanding into new markets.”
Handshake is also evolving to serve students beyond the US, and has recently launched its platform in the United Kingdom, where, according to Garrett, they’ve already partnered with eight higher education institutions including the University of Cambridge, University of York, and University of Liverpool. Garrett claimed they have seen over 20,000 students in the UK activate their accounts since mid-September alone.
With career fairs with thousands of people in a tightly packed gym no longer possible due to global pandemic, Handshake recently launched an end-to-end virtual job search and recruiting solution that brought the career fair experience online. According to Garrett, nearly 300,000 students have already participated in its virtual fair, and the company expects to double the number by year end. Garrett said the company will host thousands of virtual career fairs for more than 650 institutions of higher education this year alone.
Meanwhile, Handshake is said to have raised a total of $150 million in venture funding till date. The company had last raised $40 million Series C in 2018 led by EQT Ventures. While the company did not disclose its valuation, according to TechCrunch, citing a reliable source close to the company, Handshake’s likely valuation is between $550 million $600 million.