Five years ago, we started Handshake with the mission to help every student find a great job and build the foundations of a great career — regardless of where they go to school, who they know or what they major in. We continue to have one goal in mind: Democratize Opportunity. Today, I have some exciting news to share about our progress.
First, I’m thrilled to announce that EQT Ventures, a European multi-stage VC fund, is leading our $40M Series C investment. In addition, this round includes participation from leading social impact investors such as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Omidyar Network, and Reach Capital, among others. Students around the world experience the same inequality in the recruiting process, so we’re also excited to leverage the expertise of EQT and our impact investors to both deepen our work in the United States and look for ways to support students globally as well.
Second, our Handshake community has grown — a lot! I’m proud to share that our Handshake community now includes 700 colleges and universities, 14 million students and young alumni, and 300,000 employers — including 100% of the Fortune 500. And today, the Handshake community proudly supports more than 100+ minority-serving institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions across the country.
One Team, One Mission
As part of today’s announcement, please join me in welcoming a few new partners to Team Handshake.
- Alastair Mitchell of EQT Ventures has joined our Board of Directors! Alastair (Ali) and the EQT Ventures team add deep expertise when it comes to advising, building and scaling global data-driven consumer success stories such as Spotify, King and Booking.com and B2B SaaS companies such as Huddle. Ali’s energy, passion and deep understanding of growing SaaS go-to-market have already made a tremendous impact on the company. As we continue to grow, we’re excited to leverage Ali and EQT’s strategic and operational experience to help us explore opportunities to expand to new markets.
- We’re inaugurating the Handshake Impact Advisory Board. We’re honored to be partnering with CZI, Omidyar Network, and Reach Capital, some of the most thoughtful, forward-thinking and ambitious education leaders in the world. Each of their teams brings a wide range of personal and professional experience successfully working through the myriad challenges of driving positive social impact at scale. To best leverage their collective expertise, we’re forming the first Handshake Impact Advisory Board, which will help measure Handshake’s impact on students from all backgrounds, advise us on how we can more effectively achieve our mission, and identify the people, organizations and networks who can accelerate our impact.
- Christine Y. Cruzvergara has been named Handshake’s new Vice President of Higher Education + Student Success. As a member of the leadership team, Christine will lead our efforts to deepen Handshake’s partnerships with the higher education community to ensure greater and more equitable student career success. As Associate Provost and Executive Director for Career Education at Wellesley College, Christine has paved a new path for career education for others to model across the country. We’re beyond excited to add her innovative thinking to Team Handshake.
Helping Students Hit the ‘On Ramp’ of Their Career
With this new round of funding, we’re doubling down on our efforts to ensure students hit the crucial ‘on-ramp’ for their career. Today, according to a 2018 Strada-Burning Glass Study:
43% of graduates are underemployed in their first job out of college, putting them economically behind their peers. Of those who graduate underemployed, 50% remain underemployed 10 years after graduation.
While there’s no silver bullet to ensure that all students launch a great career, by building a coalition of support — from professors to parents to college recruiters — we can help ensure all students are on a strong path to reach their full earning potential after college.
The past five years has been quite a journey for all of us at Team Handshake. We’ve had big wins and small wins — plus lots of learnings in between. As a founder, I’m equally proud of all these moments and wanted to share a few recent highlights and a preview of what’s coming next!
This Back-to-School season, we launched Reviews and Q&A on Handshake. Our goal: Break down the barriers to information that far too many students face in their job search — especially first-generation college students. Reviews allow students to learn from the job and internship experiences of other students across the Handshake community. With Q&A, we’re creating an engaging community for students to ask questions and get career advice from alumni and students across Handshake with relevant experience.
In just three months, we’ve received nearly 100,000 Reviews and more than 53% of students have engaged with Q&A, highlighting the pent-up student demand to learn from the real-life experiences of other students and alumni. In the next few years, we’re going to continue working to democratize career information for all students by building a deeper and more engaging community of students, alumni, employers, faculty and career centers.
The Series C investment will also fund a significant growth in our data and recommendations teams, who will help us better leverage all of the data we see today — from first-year students’ career interests to post-graduate career outcomes — to help provide more relevant and contextual advice and recommendations to students throughout their career journey.
As our university community grows, we continue to see two consistent trends on campuses: Increased opportunity and increased student engagement. This year, the average school switching to Handshake saw a 3x increase in opportunities within the first 3 months of our partnership. This means more employers coming to campus and posting jobs and internships for students. As a result, universities are seeing a 60% increase in the number of students engaging with the career center. The more students engage with career education, the better prepared they will be to launch their career.
Going forward, Handshake will be working with our university partners to elevate career education earlier in a student’s time on campus, by engaging faculty and other campus partners more deeply in the career journey and by making it easier for students to link academic and extra-curricular experiences with career outcomes.
Ahead of the fall recruiting season, we launched the Talent Engagement Suite for employers to effectively engage students and young alumni throughout their full college to career journey. The days of building your recruiting strategy by hoping the right student walks up to your career fair booth are over. Students are researching opportunities continuously throughout the year, and look for a constant stream of information and engagement. Now, it’s about building more diverse, qualified candidate pools, deepening relationships with students ahead of campus or virtual events and leveraging data and benchmarks to make better recruiting decisions.
Our new Premium suite of features enables recruiting teams to connect with campuses across Handshake’s 700+ university community and effectively engage students and alumni throughout their full college to career journey. Today, our Premium employer partners, such as IBM, Box, and M&T Bank, are leveraging dynamic segments and smart campaigns to proactively engage students and young alumni. Going forward, we’re evolving Handshake’s employer product to be a smarter, ubiquitous, integrated platform that functions as the central spot for all early talent recruiting for employers of all sizes.
If your company is interested in learning more about how Handshake’s Talent Engagement Suite can help you build your best, most diverse team yet, just click here.
Thank you so much to all of our university partners (particularly the first five who took a chance on us!), employers and, most importantly, to all of the students who have relied on Handshake to help build your career. I deeply appreciate the trust you’ve placed in us and the constant feedback you’ve provided to ensure Handshake — the product and the company — are constantly improving.
We’re just getting started. We’re building a diverse, inclusive team to tackle a big problem. If you’re excited about making an impact and working on hard problems, please join us!