How we got started
Handshake was started in 2014 by Garrett Lord, Scott Ringwelski and Ben Christensen - three students from Michigan Tech, an engineering school in the far reaches of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Surrounded by more than 200 inches of annual snowfall and an eight-hour drive from Chicago or Detroit, Michigan Tech doesn’t see many recruiters from outside of the Midwest.
Garrett was particularly frustrated about the difficulty Michigan Tech engineering students faced in getting in the door at top tech companies. So after hustling nonstop to get a Silicon Valley internship of his own, he took matters into his own hands and started brokering intros for his classmates to Bay Area companies. He earned $60k in referral bonuses in less than a year, and paid his way through college.
Encouraged by the impact one person could make at one campus, Garrett, Scott, and Ben bought an old car and drove to college campuses across the country. They learned that students, employers and career centers were all frustrated by the current process, particularly how student access to opportunities was so unequal. So they formed Handshake to transform university recruiting for the 20 million higher education students across the country and ensure that every student would have the same access to every job, no matter where they go to school.
Today, Handshake is a fast-growing team of 40 based in San Francisco. We partner with 170+ universities, uniting them into one powerful network, which makes it easy for 100,000 companies to recruit efficiently beyond their traditional “core” schools, increasing the breadth and scope of opportunities for our 3,000,000 students, and giving our partner universities the data and tools they need to help their students build meaningful careers.