Collegefeed Goes After Students, Employers in Crowded Career Sector

6/20/14Follow @xconomy

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on what product the companies choose. With the premium search product, employers can search through Collegefeed’s resume books based on factors like major, year of graduation, school, key words, and degrees received. After a free trial, employers pay a subscription fee depending on their needs. Companies that only recruit during one quarter of the year can subscribe for just that. Year-round recruiters can pay for an annual subscription.

Or, companies can opt for custom feeds, getting e-mails of 10, 20, or 30 candidates fed to their inboxes, much like the e-mails dating sites put out to their users. Recruiters can specify qualities they’re looking for, like C++ engineers living in New York. Companies not ready to pay for the product can opt for generic feeds, for example, a list of software engineers.

Beyond sourcing potential candidates, Collegefeed also offers companies marketing help. In the U.S. today, there are 500,000 companies that bring in more than $10 million dollars a year. But when Collegefeed polled students, it found they couldn’t name a single company outside of the top 100. It was a problem that Agarwal had as a student, too. After a first job at McKinsey, he moved on to Cisco. When Agarwal met with CEO John Chambers over breakfast, Chambers asked him why he hadn’t come to work for the tech giant five years before. “I didn’t know you existed,” Agarwal said.

To help fix the problem, Collegefeed helps companies tell their stories through multimedia “in a way this generation understands.” That means highly designed branding pages that can catch students’ attention, with writing contests and hackathons to attract top talent. “As a company, you can start creating interest in you,” Agarwal says. “You can showcase alumni.” Companies can also segment their messages, so that a female engineering student in Minnesota might see a different message than a male writer from Berkeley. To Agarwal, the site is a good way to keep interns engaged with a company once they’ve headed back to school. “You can create this little community that’s private to your company,” he says.

Like the search product, the branding capabilities have two tiers of pricing, depending on the needs of the company; those with smaller recruiting needs might pay $1,500 for a single quarter, while larger companies might pay $3,000 a quarter for the entire year. “Are you looking to hire two kids in the next three months, or are you hiring a lot and looking to expand that core of your business?” he says.

Agarwal can’t say how many students have gotten jobs through Collegefeed—that is a process that happens outside of the platform, but the company’s non-scientific surveys have found it’s about one in five or one in eight users.

Meanwhile, the startup’s own staff has grown to 15. Though initially bootstrapped, to date Collegefeed has raised just north of $2 million from investors including Accel Partners and angels.

At first, the hardest part was getting students on board. “A year ago, we couldn’t pay them to join,” Agarwal says. Literally—they tried. But about six months later, students started seeing the value in the free service, and stopped seeing it as just another profile to fill out. Now the site has about 300,000 active student profiles, and more than 1,000 employers on board.

With the uptake Agarwal has seen so far, he’s not so worried about competition from the other sites out there, like JobDash, MyEdu (recently acquired by Blackboard), or even LinkedIn. “I haven’t seen someone bridge that gap between an employer and a student as systematically as we do,” he says.

 

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