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Handshake valued at $1.5B after new funding round

Garrett Lord, Handshake CEO joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel to discuss the job market and new grads and the company being valued at $1.5 billion after new funding round.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Welcome back to Yahoo Finance Live. We are continuing our week-long focus on the class of 2021 by looking at the job market they're graduating into. Even as we see the economy recover, the job market for these new grads certainly looking a little brighter than it was, say, a year ago. New data out from Handshake pointing to an 81% jump in March alone in job postings. Let's bring in Handshake's CEO Garrett Lord to break down some of those numbers. Gary, just give me a sense of the turnaround that you have seen and especially as it relates to new grads, what kind of sectors you're seeing the most postings in.

GARRETT LORD: Yeah, so as a little bit of background, just, Handshake's the number one place that college students are finding jobs across the country. We partner with 1,200 institutions, 600,000 companies. And there's over 18 million students and young alumni using the platform. And so, sitting on top of that data, really, what industries we're seeing is pretty kind of intuitive. When we first entered COVID, we saw a secular kind of decline in industries like hospitality and transportation. And then, on the other side of the spectrum, we saw industries like healthcare expand their recruiting efforts to hire new college-- both interns and full-time graduates after college.

So we've seen a-- entering into COVID, we saw a peaking in April. We saw job postings 50% lower than in 2019 year on year. And we've subsequently recovered to only being about 10% down in job postings year on year answering your question.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, so almost there, getting close, getting a little bit closer, which is welcome news for the grads or the college students on your platform looking for employment, but also welcome news for you guys, too, as you kind of build out the platform and raise closed Series E funding round, $80 million to cross the unicorn valuation level. So congrats there. But talk to me about maybe the opportunity and why right now is kind of the perfect time to be helping students who might get caught in this limbo of virtual learning, virtual recruiting, what Handshake is seeing in terms of growth.

GARRETT LORD: Yeah, so I mean, the mission of our company really is around helping really solve a lot of the inequality that exists in the college recruiting landscape today. So, 43% of college students are graduating underemployed, meaning they're working a job that didn't require a college degree. And so much of this market, I mean, there's $10 billion a year spent by companies trying to find and recruit college students.

And they're just-- it was so inefficient historically. You know, I don't know if you remember when you were in school, but sitting in a gymnasium and kind of hoping, going to walking around with 3,000 of your peers, company booth to company booth. Like, we really envisioned when we started the company that we could build a more inclusive and more fair process for college students in America.

So kind of fast forward to today. 48%-- pardon me-- 49% of college students in America are saying that they're receiving a job offer on Handshake. And we've really seen a ton of change kind of over, you know, basically, companies couldn't go to campus and couldn't recruit physically. So we saw an immense amount of change in virtual recruiting, companies embracing trying to reach out to more schools and more students because they actually couldn't go to campus. So there was 97 million connections facilitated between students and employers during this overall calendar year.

AKIKO FUJITA: So how do you build on that momentum? You sort of position yourself as kind of a competitor to LinkedIn. But you could argue that LinkedIn has a much larger database. I mean, how do you keep number one college grads on the platform beyond that first job to be able to build out a platform that rivals somebody like LinkedIn?

GARRETT LORD: Yeah, oh, I mean, I think our Handshake-- at Handshake, we're kind of purpose built for this experience around launching yourself into your career. You know, we like to say there's no luck, no experience, and really, no connections required. When you first log on to LinkedIn, it's just an experience that's kind of built for mid-career professionals. And students aren't-- generally, they kind of try to figure out what's out there, what are their peers doing, what an upperclassman do years ahead of them.

We saw employers message over 7 million students across the network. So companies are kind of pulling students into the recruiting process. And I think another way that we're really differentiating is in video. I mean, we saw employers, the kind of the propensity to virtually recruit moving forward, move kind of 2 to 10x more likely companies are to be virtually recruiting students at any school across the country. So I think it's video. It's focusing on people that, you know, students, community college students, bootcamp students that don't have any experience. They don't have an existing network. And those are the main ways that we're differentiating.

ZACK GUZMAN: In regards to just kind of this jobs recovery, we've been hearing a lot about options out there when it comes to maybe unemployment being higher than what it should be or kind of people weighing the options. When you look at it, comparing earlier on in the pandemic to now, when you look into the data, is there anything that stands out to you that maybe signals, you know, maybe college grads suddenly being in a position of strength here to weigh multiple offers? Or what does it look like to you when it comes to the comfort for job seekers?

GARRETT LORD: Yeah, I think it's a very anxious time for most college students in America today. I mean, there's a lot of information out there. And they're trying to sort out what industry they want to work in, what job role are they potentially interested in working in. They're trying to learn from their peers. And every one of their classmates is searching as well. I think a data point that is compelling in kind of in March of this year, we saw job postings be 37% higher than in 2019. And a lot of students have kind of proven that they're very resilient and that they're determined to try to break into a career opportunity. So what we're seeing in terms of our data is a lot of hiring demand for graduates today.

ZACK GUZMAN: All right, Garrett Lord, Handshake's CEO, appreciate you stopping by here to chat with us all about that. And congrats again on the--