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Handshake raises $80M more to build a more diversity-focused LinkedIn for college students – TechCrunch

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School graduates this yr (and maybe within the near-term) have been in search of work in what’s one in every of the most challenging job markets in a decade as a result of coronavirus and its impacts on the economic system and the way individuals can work together with one another. As we speak, a startup that’s serving to them with that job looking course of is asserting an enormous spherical of funding to develop its enterprise.

Handshake, which offers a platform for college-aged college students to register their curiosity and abilities and seek for appropriate work, and for recruiters to seek for candidates and promote entry-level openings, has raised $80 million in a progress spherical of funding.

Handshake shouldn’t be disclosing its valuation however a dependable supply near the startup stated that the valuation has greater than doubled since its final spherical. That was at $275 million, placing the seemingly valuation now between $550 million and $600 million.

The corporate has been round since 2014 and has constructed its profile partly as a extra inclusive model of LinkedIn geared toward individuals solely begin beginning out within the job market, and it’s utilizing the funding to double down on that.

It now covers 17 million job seekers, 1,000 establishments of upper studying and almost 500,000 employers, with partnerships with some 120 minority-serving establishments, which embrace Traditionally Black Schools and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Establishments within the U.S., to assist them and their college students higher deal with the job-hunting-recruitment market.

And on this yr, Handshake has been utilizing its newest funding — which really closed in November 2019 — to increase to additionally together with group faculties in its community, and increase its virtual events services.

The Sequence D is being led by GGV and likewise contains participation from all of its current buyers. Handshake already had an illustrious checklist of backers: its final spherical, a $40 million Series C in 2018, was led by EQT and likewise included the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Omidyar Community and Attain Capital, in addition to True Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Enterprise Companions, Spark Capital and KPCB Edge.

Garrett Lord, Handshake’s CEO who co-founded the corporate with Scott Ringwelski (CTO) and Ben Christensen (a board member), stated that the coronavirus has not simply impacted the job market, but additionally the job-hunting market.

“The pandemic, as you’ll be able to think about, has actually reshaped the hiring economic system,” he stated. “Corporations can not go to campus to recruit” — historically an enormous a part of how firms join with these simply getting into the job market, by means of occasions the place they’ll meet many individuals en masse — “so we’ve seen an unprecedented shift to digital recruiting.”

Digital occasions had, he added, been gaining extra recognition “previous to Covid,” however out of the blue it turned the one recreation on the town. He stated that presently some 20,000 employers have managed digital recruitment occasions at establishments utilizing the Handshake platform. These take the type of on-line mixers and gala’s, the place it offers 5 30-minute group conferences with as much as 50 college students in every, with recruiters offering displays and speaking with college students; and/or 10-minute 1:1 conferences with college students with as much as 15 recruiters.

All effectively and good, besides that the job market itself continues to be rocky. Lord stated that there was a 20-30% drop in listings in the beginning of the pandemic, with specific sectors like hospitality main that decline, with these nonetheless hiring pulling away from proactive campus recruitment. Now, seven months on, a lot of these understand that they should proceed to be seen and are slowly coming again.

“They want Handshake greater than ever earlier than, to exchange boots on floor expertise with digital and immersive experiences,” Lord stated.

Whereas managing the macroeconomic contraction, the growth this yr to together with group faculties on Handshake has been an enormous deal.

There has lengthy been a perceived status and experience divide between 2-year and 4-year establishments, however as our idea of upper schooling continues to evolve, with many college students foregoing faculty altogether, or choosing vocational levels that don’t prolong to 4 years of research at a college or faculty, and faculty turns into ever dearer, it’s about time that platforms which can be serving to one tier of scholars additionally helps the opposite.

And for its buyers, at a time when firms are usually not simply speaking about wanting to construct extra numerous work forces, however placing cash the place their mouths are, and internalizing that change is one thing that you simply generally must be proactive to impact, Handshake is a compelling startup to put money into.

“Since its founding, Handshake has been laser centered on delivering on its imaginative and prescient to democratize job alternative by connecting employers with job searching for college students at establishments of upper schooling, and has constructed a wealthy community of 17 million job seekers, 1,000 establishments of upper studying and almost 500,000 employers,” stated Jeff Richards, Managing Accomplice of GGV, in an announcement. “We’re delighted to affix forces with the Handshake group to assist the corporate additional increase its influence by delivering progressive, industry-leading recruitment options and increasing into new markets.”

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Ingrid Lunden