Guardian Life partners with Edtech startup Upkey

Upkey , a Chicago startup that offers students free online career readiness tools, announced it has closed $2.6 million in seed funding and signed Purdue University, Southern New Hampshire University and Guardian Life as customers of its platform that helps transform students into confident professionals. S3 Ventures led the seed round funding, joined by Tensility Venture Partners, Bronze Valley, Lofty Ventures and other angel investors, including Steve Schaffer, the founder of

“There has never been an effective and remote professional development service focused on assisting students from underrepresented communities and schools. The product’s viral growth in such a short time has highlighted a significant gap in the market. We are excited to partner with Upkey to fuel their next stage of growth.” – Charlie Plauche, partner at S3 Ventures, who will join Upkey’s board of directors.

Upkey offers an arsenal of free professional development navigation tools that provide students ranging from high-school to university level with individualized, self-paced support. These tools include resume-building, pitch development and interview prep, as well as virtual classes and internships at leading universities and companies.

“As is the case with many university career centers, we find value in offering students smart technology platforms in support of their job search efforts. We’re especially excited about the Upkey product. Upkey is a particularly great fit for freshmen and other students who have never before created a resume. The hands-on elevator pitch feature also resonates well with students. In our efforts to more effectively serve first-gen and low income students, Upkey is a phenomenal partner and offers a multi-use platform to address these needs.” – Timothy B. Luzader, Executive Director of Career Success and Director of Center for Career Opportunities at Purdue University.

“Upkey allows students to consider various career options and provides businesses with a new avenue to engage, connect and select future talent. Working with Upkey reinforces our commitment to investing in the future workforce, diversity and developing the next generation of accomplished professionals.” – Caitlin Pemble, director of Agency Growth and Development at Guardian Life.

“Over the past year, nearly 100,000 students have benefited from Upkey career preparation tools. Our mission is to level the playing field so that every student has the opportunity for support and training to reach their goals while giving organizations access to qualified candidates ready to take on new and varied challenges.” – Amir Badr, founder and CEO of Upkey.