Andrew Myers ’12 was number one in his class at Yale University when he decided to leave the Ivy League and launch his own digital start-up.
Sound risky? Myers was ready to take that risk.
“CA helped build a foundation of self-confidence and prepared me well academically and socially for the challenge,” says Myers, who attended Colorado Academy from Ninth through Twelfth Grade. “I was also lucky to have the support of family, and being just 21, I was still OK with living off ramen if I needed to.”
Myers became co-founder and CEO of RippleMatch, a digital job recruiting platform for college students. Now, six years later, his team has just hired its 115th employee and has connected more than 175,000 candidates for interviews with employers.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” Myers says.
The Netflix of job boards
So, how does a college student come up with the idea for a successful start-up venture?
“The idea was born out of my own pain of getting a job in college,” says Myers. In his search for a junior-year internship, he applied to 50 different positions—he heard back from just four of them.
Myers and his friends were all going through the same headaches of paper résumés, career fairs, and dead-end online job applications. With traditional online job platforms, Myers says, applicants don’t get many call-backs, because most companies don’t have the bandwidth to sort through the large quantity of online applications that come in.
“Finding the right job is so important. Our job is a source of our identity and livelihood, and we spend the majority of our time at work,” says Meyers, who now lives and works in New York City. “For such a big decision, it was not a data-driven process.”
He and his intramural soccer buddy and would-be co-founder Eric Ho—who was ready to accept a job at Facebook—started discussing ways to make the hiring process effective and fair for both job seekers and employers.
“We were both passionate about the role of technology in big social problems,” says Myers. “We decided to automate the process in a new digital platform.”
Through this platform, college students fill out a profile, sharing what they want in a job and a company. Then, they’re matched to companies with positions that suit their profiles. The technology is designed to save time and money for both employers and applicants, as students don’t have to fill out tons of applications and employers don’t have to travel to college campuses.
“If online job boards are cable TV, then RippleMatch is Netflix,” Myers says.
The technology is linking students in over 1,500 universities to employers at nearly 200 companies, including Amazon, eBay, and Ernst & Young. And its creators say that, since students don’t have to know the right people or go to a top-name school in order to find a match, it levels the playing field for students from underrepresented races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
“We care a lot about helping people find good jobs, increasing access to opportunity, and helping companies implement virtual strategies,” Myers says.
‘The best education investment I ever made’
While Myers loves seeing the results of RippleMatch, he also loves the process that has been involved in creating it.
“It’s special getting to come up with ideas from the product perspective and have a team pursue them,” he says. “It reminds me of the creative process at CA—having an idea and getting the support to make it a reality.”
Perhaps it’s no surprise then that the RippleMatch team has included CA alumni—including Myers’ classmate Paige Steadman ’12 and Ellie King ‘14.
“CA has such a strong, well-rounded liberal arts focus—including arts and academics, as well as sports—that helps students develop multi-disciplinary confidence,” says Myers, who was on both the soccer and mock trial teams.
In the classroom, he learned about persuasive communication, logical argument development, and the impact of language. From the field, he took away lessons in teamwork and rallying people around a shared vision.
And from all of it he gained a work ethic he hasn’t experienced anywhere else.
“I worked harder at CA than at Yale or during any start-up experience I’ve had,” he says. “To have that experience so young gives you mental toughness. You learn that you can persevere through challenges and are capable of more than you think.”
Myers applies all those skills and experiences to his entrepreneurial career. And his social circle still benefits from CA, too. His girlfriend and most of his closest friends share CA as their alma mater.
“There are so many ways that CA impacted me,” he says. “It was such a special experience, and I absolutely loved it.”
And this from the Yale alum: “CA was the best education investment I ever made.”
The tireless quest for new ideas
As RippleMatch anticipates hiring its 200th employee by the end of 2022, Myers feels excited and motivated by the company’s growth. He and his team have raised $34.2 million in funding and are partnering with giants like General Mills and Pinterest, as well as nonprofits like Teach for America.
Myers says companies have started to trust the RippleMatch technology more than their own recruiting teams. He envisions RippleMatch as LinkedIn for the next generation of career seekers.
“We have been able to engineer something really special,” he says. “We have the ability to become the platform that replaces job boards.”
As he envisions what it might be like for RippleMatch to go public one day, he’s also making room for other business ideas to surface. He keeps a document on his phone that is full of notes and ideas for different businesses.
“It would be cool to do another endeavor at some point,” he says. “As an entrepreneur, chasing new ideas is kind of hardwired into who you are.”