Sometimes I miss being in college. It was such a carefree existance. Even as I was wracking up massive amounts of debt, nothing bothered me. Then I graduated, Sallie Mae came calling and all of the sudden it was time to find a job. Of course, nobody wanted to hire me. And if they did, they didn't want to pay me. Then the recession hit, all the jobs evaporated and I was forced to spend two years of my life slinging hot dogs at Citi Field.
I'm sure you could find many, many other people my age with stories like that. Finding work as a recent graduate, with little to no experience and no contacts is not fun.
That is the problem that education startup Collegefeed is trying to solve. The company has now raised $1.8 million in seed funding, the company announced Tuesday. The round was led by Accel Partners and includes investors like S-Cubed Capital (Mark Stevens, who is ex-Sequioa Capital and a Board Member at University of Southern California), Prof. Narayandas (Professor at Harvard Business School) and more.
"We will use the money to expand our team to build out the product, backend service and expand our employer network. We’ll be announcing some of those new tools for students and employers in September and October as well as expand internationally," Sanjeev Agrawal, CEO of Collegefeed, told me.
The Mountain View-based Collegefeed is a personal career assistant that helps students and new grads land their dream jobs using its free online platform. Employers use Collegefeed to brand themselves more effectively to students and find the perfect candidate for entry-level positions.
The company was launched nationwide in May of this year, with the mission of making it easier for students and early grads to find their first jobs after graduating.
For students, Collegefeed provides branding, which helps them create online profiles and showcase their work. It also helps them find jobs and companies based on companies they like.
"Think of this as a Netflix-like recommendation service for companies," said Agrawal.
It also help student makes connections. It automatically connects them to companies based on their interests and skills, by including students in a "talent feed" for the company that goes to hiring managers directly.
Agrawal described the process "as a concierge service that proactively looks out for opportunities for you."
On the other end, Collegefeed is also there to help companies find employees through a search engine and a unique “talent feed” that delivers most relevant, quality students.
The site also helps these companies brand themselves with a page where they can showcase their company, culture and open roles, as well as engage students with awards and competitions.
In addition, Collegefeed also holds regular virtual events with industry leaders to mentor, help students network and teach them job-search skills. Topics include: what their early career was like, what mistakes they made and lessons learned.
Past speakers have included Rajen Sheth (Director of Product at Google, known as "The Father of Google Apps"), Rohit Dhawan (Lead Product Manager for Facebook Pages) and Prashant Fuloria (Chief Product Officer at Flurry). The company's next event is with Maz Jobrani, who dropped out of UC Berkeley's PhD program to become a very successful comedian. The event is titled "Dad, I want to be a Comedian."
The company does not charge students or universities, but does charge employers a base platform access fee, branding fee and agency service fee for hires made through Collegefeed.
So, you may be asking, what separates Collegefeed some a service like LinkedIn, which also seeks to connect employers with the right employee?
"Collegefeed is solely focused on the early-career and recent grad job-search, both from a job-seeker perspective and those employers searching for them. Solutions like LinkedIn are great for anyone with professional experience and some contacts already, but it is very complicated for those just starting out," said Agrawal
"Some of the other companies mentioned offer very niche services, such as company-sponsored challenges for students or help with repaying student loads. No one offers an all-in-one solution dedicated to helping solve the problem facing new grads – nearly 50 percent who can’t get hired after graduation."
In addition, College is "proactive and personalized."
"It proactively matches job seekers and employers based on job seeker's interests, skills and employers preferences. Think of Collegefeed as a personal assistant that is working to help students get a job," he told me.
"It provides a personalized experience tailored to the student - it understands the job-seeker, by scanning his or her resume / profile, identifies his or her skills and interests, and provides personalized tips to help them know their options, discover companies, connect them to companies and prepare for interviews."
Founded in November 2012, and launched nationwide in May of this year, the site already has thousands of students from more than 1,200 Universities. Its top universities by student volume include Stanford, UC Berkeley and Santa Clara University.
The site also has hundreds of employers in its network, including big companies like Google, eBay, Cisco, GoDaddy who were our early adopters and provided lots of feedback.
Collegefeed's philosophy, Agrawal said, is to make the process of finding a first job as easy as possible.
"The process of finding a job has not changed much over the past 20 years, despite things like social media and real-time technologies becoming everyday tools. It’s still complex, tedious and it doesn't work well for many, many graduates," he said.
"Our philosophy is it should be dead simple and super informative. When it comes to college talent, employers hire for potential, not experience. Students have potential, but they need help showcasing it and making informed choices."
(Image source: http://www.collegefeed.com)