A Deeper Look at Pathrise and Its Latest Series A Funding Round

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A recent interview with Pathrise CEO and founder Kevin Wu uncovered some of his thoughts about the current job market and his company’s unique opportunity to help people grow in their careers and land a great job. The company offers an online program for tech professionals that includes one-on-one mentorship, advice, and expert training. 

Mr. Wu discussed his company recently securing $9 million in Series A funding, which he attributed to its focus on delivering value and a culture of “hustle.” When he talks about the need to hustle, he’s referring to a strategic approach to a business problem. It means finding success with limited resources. 

Mr. Wu started developing Pathrise in a Y Combinator program. He pivoted his initial startup plans to mentoring and career pathways and enlisted the help of the firm’s eventual co-founder Derrick Mar. The idea for Pathrise came from the seemingly random way people found jobs and built their careers. They would happen to know someone at a hiring firm or take one of the first offered jobs without much thought. He wanted to offer a service that provided more structure to job searching, instead of people effectively leaving their careers to chance.  He knew some people are less likely to meet high-profile job connections, because they’re part of a minority group, come from state or community colleges, or they’re international students. 

To secure the funding round, Mr. Wu and the team performed a considerable amount of research using Crunchbase and the Y Combinator database. They picked an investor through a systematic approach that involved various rules, such as the fund’s size and its typical portfolio company. The company ultimately selected Learn Capital to lead the round, as the fund was a current investor, which reduced risk. 

He developed Pathrise as a mentorship, advice, and job search platform built on income share agreements that were modeled after various financial instruments. It provides a win-win dynamic for job seekers who pay a reasonable percentage fee for six months for Pathrise’s expert services. Mr. Wu suggests there’s a strong need for a job search agency or other entity to help people with their searches. He says there’s still a bit of a taboo with asking for such help, even though people spend more than 50 percent of their waking hours on their jobs. It’s a monumentally important part of people’s lives.