Deal of the Month
November 13, 2020

Deal of the Month: GGV Capital, EQT Ventures Sign on the Dotted Line in November

Nicolas Cole

Finding a job after university was hard enough. Then came Covid-19. In many major economies job markets are contracting, and all manner of in-person interviews and job fairs have fallen victim to social distancing.

Enter Handshake. The San Francisco-based digital recruitment platform targeting college-age students raised $80 million to continue making a difficult job market easier for students and recruiters alike — and targeting a corner of the job market LinkedIn has yet to dominate. The company’s Series D funding, led by GGV Capital, is Moonfare’s Deal of the Month for October.

The round includes participation from investors who participated in Handshake’s Series C, including EQT Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Spark Capital and True Ventures, along with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Emerson Collective and Imaginable Futures. The round comes after Handshake pivoted in response to Covid-19, providing virtual services to job seekers, higher education institutions and recruiters.

“We’re delighted to join forces with the Handshake team to help the company further expand its impact by delivering innovative, industry-leading recruitment solutions and expanding into new markets,” said GGV Managing Partner Jeff Richards.

A pandemic-proof job market

Founded in 2014, Handshake allows students to set up a profile for free and receive personalised job recommendations based on their skills and interests. They can also learn more about employers via peer reviews, connect with alumni at relevant organisations, and network at virtual events.

With Covid-19 forcing a shift to virtual, the digital recruitment market is becoming crowded with startups hoping to improve upon the traditional hiring experience.

Handshake’s founders insist you do not need existing connections to succeed on the platform: “Rather than relying on your history, Handshake is focused on your future,” said the company’s co-founder and CEO Garrett Lord.

With Covid-19 forcing a shift to virtual, the digital recruitment market is becoming crowded with startups hoping to improve upon the traditional hiring experience. Young firms seeking to disrupt the space include WayUp and Hive Diversity, a new app focused on attracting diverse young talent and already earning buzz from fashion brands such as Versace, Jimmy Choo and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Access to diverse talent pools

As well as providing recruiters — including the human resource department of every  Fortune 500 company — with access to a diverse talent pool, Handshake aims to bridge the opportunity gap by catering for new-collar jobs, an emerging type of role requiring specialised skills rather than a college degree.

The Series D investment will allow Handshake to expand its impact across the early talent landscape, as well as “provide members opportunities no matter where they go to school, what their background is, who their parents are or where they are located,” said Lord. Earlier this summer the company launched in the UK, with partners including the University of Cambridge, University of York and University of Liverpool.

Alongside its investment, GGV Capital has partnered with Handshake to launch the NextGen Fellowship aimed at students from underrepresented backgrounds with an interest in technology and entrepreneurship. The EQT Ventures fund focuses on minority investments in fast-growing and innovative technology companies with ambitious founders. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, to leverage technology and community-driven solutions to promote equality.

Deal of the Month is a monthly series published by Moonfare to highlight exceptional deals. To learn more about opportunities to invest in private equity, please contact our team or your dedicated relationship manager. Please note that for regulatory reasons, Moonfare is only permitted to share specific investment opportunities with registered users.

Nicolas Cole

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