In the roll call of technological backfires, online job searches may well be at the top of the list. Originally embraced as a means for anyone, anywhere to see, apply and even pre-screen for available positions, such digital services were considered a boon for companies and an improvement over a previous generations’ job fair or knocking on doors.

As anyone who has been in the job market lately knows, general employment sites and “Careers” pages on company websites have morphed into a faceless, repetitive  exercise with little available customization or the ability to compare opportunities without going to the ends of the digital earth.

The process is particularly difficult for first-timers to navigate – a.k.a. college students –  given their relative lack of experience both in their chosen industry and in their job-seeking acumen. Worse, many college and university career services departments find the digital job marketplace just as unwieldy as the impending grads who come to them for help.

It is into this arena that Kansas City-based Briefcase was born.

Described as the for job seekers, Briefcase was developed as a tool by which colleges and universities can more effectively assist their future or recent grads in navigating the often-frustrating process of that first “real” job. The software platform provides novice job seekers a  comprehensive list of available positions, tailored to their areas of interest, education or desired geographic location.

School personnel, meanwhile are able to monitor the students’ job search progress and advise and adapt accordingly. Briefcase CEO Christian Fisher said the current challenges in the job market have made effective career advisement a key selling point for institutions, a fact not lost on the schools that have already adopted the white-label platform, including Park University in Parkville, Mo.; Kansas City’s Rockhurst University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City and University of Missouri-Columbia.

We were joined in this deal by some familiar partners – NelNet – and some new ones, including St. Louis-based Saturday Capital and Kansas City-based angel investor Jon Bentz.

Briefcase officials can already point to the specific benefits of having such partners, particularly Dundee Venture Capital which provides a personal relationship and day-to-day mentoring. Fisher said forging the partnership with Dundee took time, but once done, the impact was immediate.

“We were pitching for more than nine months before Dundee signed on as an investor. But once they were on board, that was the validation the others needed. The whole thing came together in just three weeks after that.” – Christian Fisher, Silicon Prairie News, January 2014


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