Handshake Lands Another $80M in Funding

hr tech funding news
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SAN FRANCISCO– Handshake, the largest early career network helping millions of students from all backgrounds get hired and launch their careers, today announced its second $80 million round of venture financing within the past year, increasing Handshake’s investment total to $235.5 million and the company’s valuation to more than $1.5 billion. The company has more than doubled its revenue every year for the past three years, and is nearing $100 million in annual recurring revenue. 

This new investment reflects Handshake’s unprecedented growth, unparalleled student adoption, and rapidly expanding market opportunity to help employers and universities embrace an increasingly virtual future of recruiting and hiring. This Series E round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Spark Capital with participation from all prior investors, and Coatue Management and Valiant Peregrine Fund invested for the first time. 

“Since leading Handshake’s Series B in 2016, we’ve been thrilled to watch the company become the clear number one way for students to find internships and jobs, and there is still so much opportunity ahead,” said Will Reed, General Partner at Spark Capital. “Doubling down on our investment five years later underscores our belief that Handshake will not only help students build the skills and relationships they need to get their first job, but also expand into the $100B+ market of helping professionals advance their careers with second, third, and fourth jobs over time.”

Over the past seven years, Handshake has built a strong three-sided marketplace that focuses uniquely on the early talent sector, which includes students and other young professionals who are starting their careers and looking for an internship or their first few jobs. Knowing that most students don’t start out with a professional network or experience-filled resume, Handshake differentiates itself from other career sites by helping all students build the relationships and skills they need to stand out, get hired and launch their careers, in-person or virtually, with no connections, experience, or luck required. Handshake brings together a network of 18 million students and young alumni from 1,200 educational institutions including four-year colleges, community colleges and boot camps, and a recent survey found 49% of U.S. college graduates from 2018-2020 received job offers for opportunities they found on Handshake. 

On the employer side, there are now 550,000 companies using Handshake including 100% of the Fortune 500, and Handshake has been a catalyst of helping employers quickly adapt their recruitment strategies as the hiring landscape has evolved. For example, companies such as Google, EY, and GE are setting even more aggressive DE&I targets for entry-level candidates, in addition to shifting their recruitment efforts to be virtual in light of the pandemic. With 88% of employers recently surveyed citing Handshake as one of its most critical tools in its early talent efforts, Handshake facilitated 98M virtual student-employer connections in 2020, arguably one of the most challenging years for hiring. 

“When the pandemic hit last year, we had to rethink all of our operational and recruiting practices at every level. What remained constant was our commitment to bringing more diverse candidates into the firm, especially through our early talent pipeline,” said Dan Black, Global Leader, Talent Attraction & Acquisition at EY. “Working with partners like Handshake, we were able to increase engagement from underrepresented candidates to our jobs and events over the last year when it mattered most.”

Since day one, Handshake’s co-founders set a vision to become the world’s largest employment marketplace, and to help students from all backgrounds receive the same access to employment opportunity regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic status, or type of educational institution attended. Its platform was architected to help recruiters engage with diverse candidates faster and proactively find the best candidates. With the work-from-home and work-from-anywhere trends accelerating, companies have a greater opportunity than ever to increase their diversity metrics — but they will need to be able to locate talent faster than traditional in-person recruiting tactics could ever enable. 

“The way to change the way the workforce looks in the future is to focus on early career talent now,” said Garrett Lord, co-founder and CEO of Handshake. “Our mission of providing equal opportunity to all students — regardless of their background or who they know — has only grown in importance and we’re both proud and privileged to be in a place where we can not only surface actionable insights to employers around the diversity hiring practices, but also work with them to make meaningful change in driving social mobility.”

With this new funding, Handshake will continue to invest in creating new platform features that will further help anyone develop the relationships and skills they need to build their career. There will also be a focus on helping job seekers land not only their first internship or full-time position, but to continue having the necessary support as they find their second, third, and fourth jobs. This investment will also further propel Handshake’s international expansion, building upon its recent successful launch in the UK. 

In addition to Spark, Lightspeed, Coatue and Valiant, existing investors True Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, EQT Ventures, GGV Capital, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Emerson Collective all invested in this funding round.

Additional information about Handshake visit https://www.joinhandshake.com/. For more information and to learn about the virtual events and recruiting platform employers click here, and students and career services administrators click here.

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