Handshake, a leading digital campus-recruiting platform, has closed a Series D worth $80 million.
With the rise in virtual campus recruiting, platforms such as Handshake are well positioned to thrive in the near-to-long term. Traditionally, employers recruited students in a much more face-to-face setting, often by sitting in gymnasiums and hoping the right kids walked up to their booth. The Handshakes of the world have been disrupting that approach prior to the pandemic, and are surging now.
50% of large employers are telling NACE that they will not do on-campus recruiting in the spring, and an additional 21% say they are eliminating are all college recruiting for spring. Companies having with more than 5,000 employers are most likely to report terminating their on-campus recruiting - so, expect to see more growth of virtual campus recruiting tools. Look for companies like Yello to be making news at some point.
Handshake does not disclose its valuation, but word is that the number has more than doubled since its last round. It was at $275 million at that time, which means they are approaching the $600 million mark. Not bad.
The Series D is led by GGV and also includes participation from its existing investors. Handshake's last round, a $40 million Series C in 2018, was led by EQT and also included the Chan Zuckerberg initiative, Omidyar Network, and Reach Capital, as well as True Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture. Partners, Spark Capital, and KPCB Edge.
Handshake CEO a co-founder Garrett Lord explains:
“The pandemic, as you can imagine, has really reshaped the hiring economy,” he said. “Companies can no longer come to campus to recruit, so we’ve seen an unprecedented shift in virtual recruiting. “
In keeping with the rise of virtual hiring events, the company pivoted during Covid-19 to offer their own solutions. "The onset of the global pandemic created an acute challenge for our students, employers and higher education partners. Career fairs with thousands of people in a tightly packed gym are no longer possible. In response, our team quickly pivoted to build and launch an end-to-end virtual recruiting solution this summer. We have become the leading virtual platform for early talent—Handshake will host thousands of virtual career fairs for more than 650 institutions of higher education this year alone"
Bill Watts, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Advising & Career Development at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, said:
“From my perspective our fairs have been a great success…To have maintained engagement from last year is a testament both to Handshake’s fair functionality and to our local team’s efforts to promote and incentivize student engagement. Thank you to Handshake for proactively jumping in to meet the needs of students, schools and employers in the midst of a pandemic. One day what you all pulled off should be a case study in business and computer science programs of how to respond to, and meet fast changing needs.”
The company is already expanding overseas into the UK, with initiatives underway at University of Cambridge, University of York, and University of Liverpool. They report 20,000 UK students registered to-date.
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