Koru Thinks the U.S. Needs More Workplace-Ready College Graduates: Maveron Agrees and Leads $4.35 Million Investment
By Clayton Lewis, partner at Maveron
Last March, Kristen Hamilton, a co-founder at Onvia and the former COO of World Learning, joined Maveron as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR). Her passion for entrepreneurship and education resulted in Kristen having a powerful idea: She will transform how college graduates prepare for success in the real world and become impactful contributors at the country’s most innovative and fastest growing companies.
As a result, Koru was born to create and place workforce-ready college graduates. With Kristen’s equally passionate co-founder Josh Jarrett, most recently the Head of Higher Education Innovation at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and formerly McKinsey & Co, the idea could not have come at a more important time.
Over 50 percent of employers complain that they cannot find well-qualified entry-level hires and over 80 percent would pay more for new hires that are more ready to contribute on day one. In addition, only 36 percent of paid internships and 17 percent of unpaid internships resulted in job offers.
In Koru, Kristen and Josh have developed an immersive, experiential learning program designed to decrease the staggering—44 percent—underemployment rate among recent college graduates in the U.S. The team has already run successful pilot programs with REI and Trupanion and will kick off 2014 with a Winter Break program at zulily, which has more than 100 open positions. Additional programs and partners will be announced early next year.
The Koru team is supported by investors who are passionate about the sector and we’re proud to lead the $4.35 million investment. Kristen has been a friend to Maveron for many years, and to me for over 15 having hired me as employee number 16 at Onvia. Similar to how other early investments have started within the walls of Maveron, like zulily and most recently Lively, Kristen started working out of Maveron’s office to quickly accelerate the development of the business and the team has hit the ground running.
The $2.5 trillion education market bears the weighty responsibility of educating workers to succeed in today’s global knowledge economy and Maveron is focused on backing great entrepreneurs with scalable business ideas that will drive innovation in this massive market.
To all you college graduates out there concerned that you’ll have to transition from college to part-time under employment before starting the career you want, or employers who are nervous about hiring quality entry-level employees without first-hand experience, look to Koru to transform the college-to-career landscape.
Connect with Clayton Lewis on LinkedIn