About us

We are driven

We’re driven by the mission to give all students the chance to build the career they want, no matter where they’re from or what school they attend.

Committed to
democratizing opportunity


While studying at Michigan Tech University, Handshake founders Garrett Lord, Ben Christensen, and Scott Ringwelski discovered the glaring inequality in career opportunities for students across the country. Believing that software had the potential to bridge this opportunity gap, they built the foundations of Handshake. The friends took their idea on a cross-country road trip to better understand the challenges students face when applying to jobs and to persuade college career centers to partner with them.

Handshake was created to ensure that all college students have equal access to meaningful careers. Since our 2013 founding in Michigan, our network of university and employer partners—and the impact for students— has grown exponentially. Within a few years, Handshake has become the leading early career community in the US.

The Handshake network

  • 9m+
    active student users
  • 1,400+
    college and university partners
  • 600k+
    employers including 100% of the Fortune 500

Building the #1 early career community



Handshake is created and welcomes its first university partners.


The team closes seed funding, led by True Ventures, and moves to California! Toni Schneider joins Handshake's Board of Directors. In December, Handshake raises its Series A, led by Kleiner Perkins, and welcomes Eric Feng to the board.


The Handshake network doubles to 200+ universities across the country, and the team hires its 50th employee. Handshake raises its Series B funding led by Spark Capital, and welcomes Megan Quinn to the board.


The network doubles again! Handshake is partnering with more than 400 colleges and universities, including 80% of the top 10 HBCUs, and nearly 250,000 employers.


Handshake raises its Series C funding, led by EQT Ventures, and welcomes Alastair Mitchell to the board. Social impact investors such as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Omidyar Network, Reach Capital, among others, provide funding to help Handshake further democratize opportunity. The team grows to 100 employees in San Francisco.


Building on the network of more than 900 colleges and universities and 420,000+ employers, Handshake expands its reach even further by opening the community to any student at a four-year college in the US. The Handshake team continues to grow, with more than 200 employees—including offices in Denver and the UK!


Handshake welcomes its first community and technical college partners to the network. With the onset of COVID-19, the Handshake team shifts to virtual and becomes the leading provider of a redefined virtual career fair experience.

Handshake company values

Students first

Our mission is to democratize access to opportunity and ensure any student can build a great career no matter who they know, where they live, or what school they attend. We empathize deeply with our students to increase career opportunities for all.

Focus on impact

We stay humble and work hard to democratize opportunity for all students. We like to have fun—and we do—but we’re always focused on how we can best make an impact.

Move quickly, but don’t rush

We believe speed wins, and our operational pace is incredibly fast. Moving quickly while staying aligned requires strategic thought, collaboration, and frequent communication.

Learn. Grow. Repeat.

We embrace a growth mindset, enabling our team to face obstacles with a tenacious desire to turn challenges into opportunities for growth. We are relentlessly curious, working to close the gap between what we currently know and what we need to know to be as effective as possible.

Act with empathy

We listen closely to understand our users and clients, approach challenges with curiosity, and treat our colleagues and clients with compassion.

Empowered by diversity

We are building an inclusive and diverse community—both on the Handshake platform and across our team. We believe diverse teams create more thoughtful and innovative solutions and that diverse companies are more successful.

Careers at Handshake

Our team is growing! Join a passionate, driven, and empathetic team that’s focused on making an impact, and committed to creating an inclusive culture for all.


Handshake in the news

For more of Handshake in the news, visit our press page.