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This Job Search Software Company for Colleges Just Raised More Cash

November 17, 2016, 7:51 PM UTC
Job search written in chalk on a blackboard
Photograph by lucapierro — Getty Images/RooM RF

Handshake, a software company focused on helping college students find jobs, just raised $20 million in new funding, led by Spark Capital.

Online job recruiting is a market filled with competitors like LinkedIn, Monster, and CareerBuilder. But Handshake, co-founded by engineer Garrett Lord, is focusing on a market that many larger companies have ignored: universities and colleges.

Handshake’s software powers a branded recruiting site for universities that allows students to upload their coursework, resumes, transcripts, and other documents. Students can search and apply for jobs, message recruiters, and access event listings.

As a website, Handshake looks like a version of Facebook (FB) made for job searching, with a single feed displaying personalized recommendations of jobs, content, and events for each student. Students can follow certain employers to make sure they receive any updates, events, or other content from them. Students can also access Handshake on their mobile phones and receive alerts when job listings are posted.

Employers, meanwhile, can search for students across all the participating schools that use Handshake, sorting perspective employees by major, classwork, skills, and more. So if a company wanted to hire a developer who knew a certain programming language such as Java, the recruiter could filter all candidates by that skill.

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As of February 2016, 60 universities—including Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, and Cornell—started using Handshake to exclusively power and manage their career services online, and the software had 1 million student users. In six months, that number increased to 170 universities, and 3 million students. The company expects to add 200 more colleges and universities next year.

In turn, 95% for the Fortune 100 and 100,000 companies and organizations—including Goldman Sachs (GS), Citigroup, Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), and JP Morgan—are using Handshake to recruit fresh talent from colleges and universities.

The startup makes money by charging universities an annual licensing fee the company does not disclose. While employers don’t currently pay to use Handshake, the company will eventually charge companies for extra features in addition to the free version.

Lord said that the new funding will be used to develop more tools for college career centers and employers, as well as for building new mobile technologies for students. Thursday’s funding brings the company’s total funding to over $30 million. Spark Capital partner Megan Quinn is joining the company’s board. Previous investors—including Kleiner Perkins, True Ventures, and Lightspeed Venture Partners—all participated in the funding round.