This NYC Startup Just Raised $18.5M To Help Find Employment Before Graduation



As the job market tightens, applying for your first job is not as simple as it used to be. For students and newly minted grads with little to no relevant job experience getting that first offer at the right company start your career can be daunting. Thankfully, the WayUp platform addresses this with its job marketplace exclusively for grads and students. The company, which has now raised a total of $27.47M since its founding in 2014, has a wide range of companies on its platform across diverse industries perfect for both the bio major and the art history major with 30,000 students joining each week.

AlleyWatch chatted with cofounder and CEO Liz Wessel about the startup, the future of the millenial job market, and the company’s most recent funding.

Who were your investors and how much did you raise?

$18.5 million in a Series B funding round led by Trinity Ventures, with additional participation from existing investors, including General Catalyst, BoxGroup, Lerer-Hippeau Ventures, Index Ventures, SV Angel, Female Founders Fund, Axel Springer, and CAA Ventures.

Tell us about the product or service.

WayUp is the leading job marketplace exclusively for US college students and recent grads. Launched in September 2014, WayUp is the only site where employers can post a job to a targeted audience of students at any US college. WayUp currently has 3.5 million profiles of students and recent grads that represent 5,300 campuses in the US, with thirty thousand students joining each week. WayUp works with companies of all sizes, from startups to Fortune 500s, to help them recruit millennial talent, and places 1 in every 3 people who apply on WayUp in a job.

How is it different?

Traditional job boards and recruiting marketplaces lead with quantity over quality, and are lagging at understanding and meeting the needs of the next generation of students entering the workforce. WayUp is filling that gap by quickly becoming the trusted destination for candidates and employers who crave personalization and excellence by focusing on quality applicants and jobs instead of quantity. WayUp is the first to match people with jobs in the way we do, which has led to a higher hire-rate than any other career platform has announced.

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

The millennial market— made up of recent graduates and young professionals.

What is the business model?

The revenue format offers a similar search system for both sides, employer and student/young professional. Students use the service entirely free, but employers are asked to pay a certain price per month based on the features they select.

What inspired the business?

I founded the company in 2014 with my Co-Founder, JJ Fliegelman, after we met while bonding over our mutual annoyance with the job search process while students at UPenn.

Do you plan on considering more acquisitions with this new round of funding?

Not at the moment, but never say never!

What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?

With this Series B funding raise, WayUp is doubling down on the development of advanced machine learning and personalization technologies. Over the next 1-2 years, WayUp is aiming to bring an entirely new level of personalization to its product, in an effort to be the career path partner to millennials, as opposed to a page of thousands of blue links. Similar to Spotify, where users login and see a unique platform and playlists and listen directly within the app, job seekers using WayUp have a personalized job profile, seeing only openings they are qualified for, which they can apply directly to in minutes (including straight from their phones!)

What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?

Everyone tells you to “move fast and break things”, but sometimes, getting the details right makes all the difference, too. I think there needs to be a balance.

If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?

Michael Bloomberg, my career role model.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

We don’t have one favorite, but the one we go to the most is Casa Nonna because our office is next door and it’s delicious! There’s never a non-empty plate at the end of a meal.

About the author: AlleyWatch

AlleyWatch is the destination for startup news; opinions and reviews; investment and product information; events reported, experienced, seen, heard and overheard here in New York. But it’s who we are that makes us different: we’re the writers and the entrepreneurs; the investors and the mentors; the lawyers and the marketers; the realtors and the recruiters – the people who work in the industry.

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