Student job finder WayUp acquires competitor Looksharp

WayUp is making its first acquisition — it’s buying the similarly focused Looksharp.

Both companies have created job listing sites for college students and recent graduates, but WayUp co-founder and CEO Liz Wessel (pictured above with Looksharp CEO Andrew Maguire) told me they’re complementary in a rather specific way.

The key, she said, is search engine optimization — after all, that’s where job seekers usually start looking for opportunities. And while WayUp’s student profiles do well on Google (in some cases ranking above LinkedIn), Wessel said Looksharp has better SEO when it comes to job listings.

For that reason — and because WayUp and Looksharp “had similar users but not the same users” — the two companies started discussing a partnership, which eventually turned into a conversation about a possible acquisition.

“When I met with Liz and [co-founder JJ Fliegelman], we realized that both of our companies wanted to change the way students secure jobs, and how businesses find student talent,” Maguire said in the acquisition release. “Since we both believe in the power of building a direct-to-consumer company, versus selling into universities or professors, we were able to easily map out what a deeper partnership would look like.”

WayUp isn’t disclosing the financial terms of the deal. Looksharp had raised more than $10 million in funding from investors, including 500 Startups, Artis Ventures, Kapor Capital and Subtraction Capital. WayUp, meanwhile, has raised nearly $9 million.

Wessel said the combined company will be integrating Looksharp into the WayUp platform over the course of the next year. In addition, five Looksharp team members (including Maguire) will be joining, bringing WayUp’s total headcount to more than 50.

By the way, in case you think WayUp is only focused on SEO, Wessel also touted the company’s technology, which delivers personalized recommendations for jobs for which an applicant would actually be qualified. That, she said, is why 23 percent of WayUp applications result in an interview, compared to the industry average of 2 percent.

“What we saw is, we know how to match people with jobs, we just need more people,” Wessel said. “There are a few ways to do that — one is SEO … This is going to expedite our growth.”