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Edtech traders are flocking to SaaS steering counselors

ApplyBoard, a startup that helps worldwide college students discover alternatives to review overseas, announced right this moment that it has almost doubled its valuation in a bit over a yr. The Ontario-based firm is now price round $3.2 billion after elevating a $300 million Collection D spherical led by the Ontario Academics’ Pension Plan Board.

Startups that assist college students navigate institutional paperwork to allow them to get extra worth out of their academic expertise could turn into a rising focus for traders as shopper demand for digital customized studying will increase.

ApplyBoard makes cash from revenue-sharing agreements with schools and universities. If a pupil attends a university after utilizing their providers, ApplyBoard receives a reduce of the schooling. In the meantime, the service, which helps college students search and apply to colleges, is free to make use of.

Co-founder and CEO Martin Basiri didn’t share specifics on income, however he confirmed that his firm is rising its gross sales at a 400% year-over-year fee in 2021. For context, gross sales in 2019 hit $300 million, that means that ApplyBoard is making at the very least $1.2 billion in gross sales this yr.

These figures violate the prevailing edtech narrative from final yr: Increased ed is lifeless! College students don’t need to attend faculty anymore. Carry again the hole yr, however make it everlasting!

As an alternative, this firm is proving that the college tech stack is extra profitable than many assumed, particularly in case you look past content material choices and into back-end advertising and marketing help.

My take: Startups that assist college students navigate institutional paperwork to allow them to get extra worth out of their academic expertise could turn into a rising focus for traders as shopper demand for digital customized studying will increase.

“College students need a seamless and pain-free utility course of”

ApplyBoard’s current fundraising efforts shed a lightweight on its technique to turn into, successfully, a tech-savvy steering counselor for the roughly 200,000 college students that it has served thus far.

The corporate raised a $55 million extension spherical in September to carry on a associate, Training Testing Companies (ETS) Technique Capital, the enterprise arm of the world’s largest nonprofit schooling testing and evaluation group. ETS helps administer the TOEFL English-language proficiency take a look at and the GRE graduate admissions take a look at.

The synergies there led ApplyBoard to launch ApplyProof, a service that helps admissions and immigrant officers confirm paperwork that worldwide college students want to use to schools world wide. In the present day’s financing occasion equally brings in a strategic investor, Ontario Academics’ Pension Plan.

“The demand stays excessive post-pandemic and we proceed to see a powerful, pent-up demand from college students wishing to review overseas,” Basiri stated. “College students need a seamless and pain-free utility course of and have the ability to have all the knowledge they should make an knowledgeable determination.”