Piazza Rolls Out Recruiting Tool to Identify “Superstar” Programming Students

Piazza, a Palo Alto, Ca.-based class discussion platform, has more than 30,000 educators, 1 million students and 1,200 universities in 70 countries using its platform.

That’s not too shabby for a six-year-old company. But Piazza is now rolling out a new tool that it hopes will supercharge greater adoption with recruiters, too, and generate more revenue in the process.

Called the “Reverse Engineer Your Top Hire” tool, the idea is for recruiting and hiring managers (who Piazza began courting in early 2014) to input the names of their most successful collegiate hires and, based on those former students’ backgrounds, find current students who could be similarly successful in their careers.

The information is all at Piazza’s fingertips, says company COO Jessica Gilmartin, who says that Piazza knows a whole lot about the technical students using its platform, including where they go to school, what classes they take, who their professors are, and what types of questions they ask on the platform.

Students can opt out of the company’s recruiting product. But those who are interested in career opportunities can be targeted by recruiters on more granular level than ever, Gilmartin says. Piazza’s new tool, for example, can show who has been a teaching assistant –a strong signal to recruiters that someone knows their stuff.

It can also turn up who has won hackathons, who has taken more security courses (a strong area of interest for many employers), and who has focused more on Java versus other application frameworks like AngularJS or Node.js. (Big companies are more interested in the former, says Gilmartin, while startups tend to look for recruits who’ve spent more time learning the latter.)

Piazza’s new tool isn’t its first attempt to raise its profile with companies, 350 of which now pay the company between $2,000 and “six figures” annually depending on their size and needs.

Earlier this year, for example, Piazza also began surveying its student users about where they’d want to work, feedback that it breaks down for recruiters in a variety of ways.

Asked if the company could possibly be gearing up to raise its next funding round – Piazza has raised $15.5 million from investors to date, including Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Felicis Ventures, and Sequoia Capital – Gilmartin acknowledges that a Series C round probably isn’t far off.  Piazza, which sealed up its last round 18 months ago, will likely turn to investors again “next year,” she tells us.

In the meantime, the 25-person company is “just focused on growing the business,” she adds.