Connecting college students to jobs is particularly important given the difficult environment amid Covid-19. Handshake is one company stepping up to help. Described by TechCrunch as a “more diversity-focused LinkedIn for college students,” the company aims to democratize the hiring process.

“We connect up-and-coming talent across all 50 states with 500,000 employers recruiting on Handshake — from every Fortune 500 company to thousands of small businesses, nonprofits, startups and more,” says Kamal Thakarsey, VP of employer marketing at Handshake.

Handshake also has 17 million students and young alumni on its platform from more than 1,000 colleges and universities — including more than 120 minority-serving institutions.

The company has been noticed. In October, Handshake closed an $80 million funding round led by GGV Capital.

“Since its founding, Handshake has been laser-focused on delivering on its vision to democratize job opportunity by connecting employers with job-seeking students at institutions of higher education,” Jeff Richards, managing partner of GGV, said in a statement at the time.

Handshake’s platform enables students to create online profiles that outline their job interests, academic backgrounds and more to better match them to positions that fit their interests and skills. Once they are set up on the platform, employers and recruiters can actively engage with students.

Handshake also works with career centers at schools to set students up on its platform, although students at schools not currently partnering with the company can also build profiles and search for jobs.

The company has a standard free product that enables client firms to post jobs, register for events and register for career fairs, Thakarsey said. Handshake does not believe in charging for job postings or access to students. However, it does have a premium paid product that includes enhanced functionality that enables employers to recruit at scale with data-driven campaigns, stand-out employer branding, and insights and analytics.

The company is based in San Francisco with offices in Denver and London. It was founded in 2014 by three Michigan Technological University engineering students — Garrett Lord, CEO; Ben Christensen, VP of people and talent; and Scott Ringwelski.

In January, the company named Asif Makhani as chief technology officer. Makhani most recently was general manager of Google Images and head of engineering at LinkedIn Learning Solutions.

“Handshake has created a platform that has fundamentally transformed how companies recruit and hire early talent,” he says. “They’ve done this by creating a three-sided marketplace with very strong value propositions for employers, institutions of higher education, and young professional job seekers alike.”

The Buzz
Handshake aims to democratize opportunity for college students, giving them the support they need to find a job and begin a meaningful career regardless of where they are going to school, what they choose as a major or whom they know.