I chose #146 – Koru on the GeekWire 200 list of Pacific Northwest Start-ups (http://www.joinkoru.com/). Koru is an education start-up with locations in Seattle, San Francisco and Boston. Its 4-week programs offer supplementary business education and assist soon-to-be college graduates to develop the connections that they need to gain the attention of prominent business and tech companies. The program is open to students who are within six months of graduating from college.
Koru’s target audience is college seniors and others who are exiting university programs who seek to break into full-time jobs. Koru offers these students the connections within their local job markets and promises to provide them with the business and real-world problem solving skills to help make them enter into successful careers in the Seattle, San Francisco and Boston tech sectors.
Within the local (Seattle area) market, I cannot find another venture that is doing precisely what Koru is doing. However, other networking/job training ventures nationally with postings within the Pacific Northwest include the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), job websites such as Internship.com and to a lesser extent Indeed.com, and short-term university, college and professional development programs (courses, certificates, etc.).
What makes Koru particularly impressive is its placement rates. According to its website, 85% of Koru graduates land full-time jobs within two months of graduation. Additionally, if exiting students have not landed full-time employment within six months, their program is free of charge. These statistics, combined with a line-up of highly impressive companies and organizations (Amazon, Nordstrom, Harvard Innovation Lab) make the investment in a Koru program very attractive to prospective graduates.
With its high profile partners and physical locations in tech-friendly cities that demand large numbers of qualified employees, Koru’s position to steal market share from other competitors looks promising. As a potential customer, one thing Koru could do to convince me that they are confident in their programs is to display their pricing more prominently. If they are priced correctly and if their programs deliver as claimed, I should not have to search for pricing. Additionally, I hope that Koru takes the time to be selective in its candidate admissions to ensure a high caliber set of exiting potential employees. In this regard, Koru may seek the graduates who do not really “need” extra assistance with their job searches, but are risk-averse and enjoy the assurance of hand-holding through their college-to-workforce transition.