WayUp gets $18.5 million more to help college grads find jobs

Recent college grads need a better way to search for jobs. Or at least, that’s the thesis of New York-based WayUp, which recently raised $18.5 million in Series B funding to execute on this vision.

Trinity Ventures, which led the investment, is also gaining a board seat via partner Karan Mehandru. Existing investors, including General Catalyst, Lerer-Hippeau Ventures and SV Angel also participated in the funding round.

Originally an internship and job board for college students, WayUp now additionally targets the entry level workforce, a market that they believe is underrepresented. LinkedIn’s job search platform and sites like Indeed are geared towards every career stage.

“LinkedIn is built for a much older generation,” according to Liz Wessel, WayUp’s co-founder and CEO. She feels that WayUp makes it easier to search and apply for jobs via their smartphone and touted the site’s efforts to reach job seekers via text message.

Echoing a similar sentiment, Mehandru said Trinity invested because they “believe employers and candidates deserve a modern, mobile first platform.” Mehandru feels “Wayup has the potential to surpass LinkedIn over time as the dominant next generation platform that becomes the online resume for the next generation and connects employers with candidates to get them hired. ”

Wessel emphasized the “personalized” aspects of their platform with its custom user profiles, and claims that WayUp makes it easier for companies to find the candidates they are looking for, because of its tailored search preferences. Like many startups these days, they are investing in machine learning to build better algorithms. 

They’ve found that employers are willing to pay for WayUp, with some spending as little as $75 for a basic plan and others spending over $500,000 to utilize all the potential features on the platform. Because their site targets recent graduates, businesses are able to isolate for criteria like major and G.P.A.

Companies are even able to search by gender and race (if the job seeker opts in). It is not legal for U.S. employers to specify that they are looking for these qualities, but they are able to peruse the candidates. Wessel likens it to attending a job fair at a predominantly female or black school. (Hopefully this will result in inclusion, not exclusion).

Currently the team has over 50 employees and they plan to use the funding to build out their engineering and product teams. They may even use it to make more acquisitions. 

The company has raised $27.5 million in capital since it was founded in July 2014. Previous investors include RRE Ventures, Y Combinator and Eniac Ventures.

When asked about future plans, Wessel said she “would love to go public one day, but it’s a little early to be planning.”