Student-focused recruitment site Handshake has closed its second $80 million funding round in eight months, and now claims a valuation of $1.5 billion.
The San Francisco-based firm, which snagged its previous $80 million just last October, has raised a total of $235.5 million since its start in 2016.
Lightspeed Venture Partners and Spark Capital led the latest round with participation from all prior investors. Coatue Management and Valiant Peregrine Fund invested for the first time.
Handshake competes with older student-focused job boards such as CollegeRecruiter and AfterCollege as well as the newer startup RippleMatch, which closed a $22 million funding round last month. But the traffic to Handshake’s desktop site (7.14 million visits in April, according to SimilarWeb) is an order of magnitude greater than that of any of these competitors.
Handshake has more than doubled its revenue every year for the past three years, and is nearing $100 million in annual revenue, according to the funding announcement.
The firm trotted out some other high numbers that made us wonder. For instance, it says its “community includes 18 million students and young alumni,” which is quite a reach considering the total student population in the U.S. numbers about 20 million. We asked about the figure, and a spokesperson stood by it, pointing out that users include people who registered as students and hung onto their accounts, as well as those who registered after finishing college. However, the majority of users are current students, the spokesperson said.
The release also says that “a recent survey found 49% of U.S. college graduates from 2018-2020 received job offers for opportunities they found on Handshake.” We’ve asked the company to substantiate this and we’ll update the article when we hear back.
With the new funding, Handshake says it will increase its footprint overseas (it’s already expanded to the UK) and widen its target market from students to seasoned workers.
“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,” the announcement states.
The company will also build “products that help students better demonstrate their skills and build the career skills they don’t have yet,” the spokesperson added. The firm didn’t give specifics, but it sounds a bit like LinkedIn’s “Learning” platform (described here), Indeed’s “Job Market” and ZipRecruiter’s Course Catalog.
Perhaps emboldened by fast-rising job sites such as ZipRecruiter, which filed for an IPO last month, and Talent.com, which is eyeing a public option, Handshake is aiming high. In fact the firm states in its release: “Since day one, Handshake’s co-founders set a vision to become the world’s largest employment marketplace … .”
Whatever the future holds, it sounds like the firm is growing. When we covered the October funding round, privately-held Handshake said it had 17 million student users, 1,000 university clients and 500,000 enterprise clients.
The release for the new round says Handshake has 18 million users (up 6%), 1,200 educational institutions (up 20%) and 550,000 enterprise clients (up 10%).