Upkey, a Chicago, IL-based startup that offers students free online career readiness tools, raised $2.6m in seed funding.
The round was led by S3 Ventures joined by Tensility Venture Partners, Bronze Valley, Lofty Ventures and other angel investors, including Steve Schaffer, the founder of Offers.com. In conjunction with the funding, Charlie Plauche, partner at S3 Ventures, will join Upkey’s board of directors.
The company intends to use the funds to grow and scale operations and open a second office in Austin, Texas.
Led by Amir Badr, founder and CEO, Upkey offers free professional development navigation tools that provide students ranging from high-school to university level with individualized, self-paced support. These tools include everything from resume-building, pitch development and interview prep, to virtual classes and internships at leading universities and companies.
The company has also launched Dashboard, a customized career map tailored to students’ individual needs and goals. The Dashboard features interactive, gamified modules that allow students to earn ranks and badges, providing support and encouragement along the way.
In addition to its student-facing benefits, Upkey’s tools also allow enterprises to invest in their future workforce through multiple touchpoints and build a diverse pipeline of polished candidates. One example is the virtual summer internship program (VIP), an 8-week “master class” where students work with professionals in various areas to complete projects for college credits.
Upkey also announced it has signed Purdue University, Southern New Hampshire University and The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian Life) as customers of its platform.