This Startup Wants to Be the Netflix for Jobs

Mar 23, 2017

These days, job hunting looks a lot like online dating: Seemingly infinite scrolling, a few messages that lead to nowhere, and even fewer human interactions that—more often than not—don't turn out the way you thought they would.

Recruiting startup WayUp hopes to convince job searchers that it doesn't have to be such "a miserable process," says co-founder and CEO Liz Wessel. WayUp offers a "smart" platform that uses data to match seekers with potential employers. Wessel says that the site collects about 40 data points per applicant and, armed with that information, is able to suggest "the right jobs to the right people" better than job sites like Indeed and Monster, or professional social network LinkedIn.

Courtesy of WayUp 

On Thursday, the company announced that it has raised a $18.5 million series B funding round, led by Trinity Ventures, with participation from WayUp's existing investors, including General Catalyst, BoxGroup, Lerer-Hippeau Ventures, Index Ventures, SV Angel, and Female Founders Fund. WayUp, which was founded by Wessel and co-founder JJ Fliegelman in July 2014, has raised a total of $27.5 million so far.

The startup says it has more than 3.5 million users across 5,300 U.S. campuses and serves over 300,000 employers, which include major corporations like Google (goog) and Starbucks (sbux), as well as small- and medium-sized businesses. Wessel says the company's primary goals for 2017 is to expand to serve a wider base of users and employers, as well as get "smarter" by applying machine learning technology.

"Technology offers millennials a personalized approach in almost every other aspect of their lives, and we are here to do that for their careers,” Fliegelman said in a statement released Thursday. “Over the next two years, WayUp is aiming to bring an entirely new level of personalization to our product using machine learning, in a way no platform has ever done before.”

The platform currently aims to differentiate itself by showing job hunters only the positions they qualify for based on the employer's requirements, which can include years of experience, languages spoken, or GPA for college students (the network is currently limited to students and young graduates one to three years out of school). While some might see this as limiting, Wessel says that the idea is to save both employers and applicants time by "matching" those that are a good fit.

A user on the site might see a similar experience to a movie watcher on Netflix, who receives suggestions on what to watch next based on prior film choices. Except instead of movies, WayUp users will see job postings—that they qualify for—as well as targeted content that will help them get those jobs.

Wessel says one in three people who apply to jobs on WayUp get hired. If only dating apps had that kind of success rate.

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