Handshake, a startup connecting college students, raises $40 million

Handshake, a LinkedIn for US college students, has closed a $40 million Series C funding round led by the Europe’s EQT Ventures fund. Social impact investors including The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Omidyar Network (Omidyar), and Reach Capital (Reach), also participated in the round.

The platform links both students looking to take their early career steps and employers that want to reach them. It claims to have 14 million users in the US across 700 universities, and 300,000 employers targeting them.

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Alastair Mitchell of EQT Ventures will join Handshake’s Board of Directors after the Series C funding. Representatives from CZI, Omidyar, Reach and others will be joining a newly formed Impact Advisory Board to advise the company on better measuring and growing its social impact.

The company is now valued at $275 million post-money, according to figures from PitchBook. The Series C brings Handshake’s total funding to $74 million.

Founded in 2013 by three Michigan Tech students with the goal of democratising opportunity, Handshake’s partnership with colleges and universities is dramatically increasing the access to jobs and internships for students and the young alumni nationwide.

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In this next phase of growth, Handshake plans to advance its product roadmap to broaden the capabilities for each of the three-sided marketplace for students, universities, and employers.

“CZI is thrilled to support Handshake as it connects talented students to career opportunities that enable them to reach their full potential,” Vivian Wu, Managing Partner of Ventures at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative said in a statement.

According to a 2018 Strada-Burning Glass Study, more than 43 per cent of graduates are underemployed in their first job out of college, putting them economically behind their peers. Of those who graduate underemployed, 50 per cent remain underemployed 10 years after graduation.

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