VSollege is difficult. But for international students, the application process to study abroad is often even more difficult. That’s why ApplyBoard, which is free for students and serves as a one-stop-shop for overseas applicants pursuing graduate studies in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, has doubled its enrollment in less than a year. year by streamlining visas, financial aid, and entrance exam and essay requirements on its platform.
Today, the Ontario and Canada-based company confirmed that it has raised a $ 300 million Series D at a post-currency valuation of $ 3.2 billion. The round was led by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and existing investors Fidelity Management & Research, Harmonic, Index Ventures, Garage Capital and Blue Cloud Ventures, and brings total funding to the company at $ 475 million.
“We started this company because we believe education is a right, not a privilege,” says Martin Basiri, CEO and co-founder of ApplyBoard. “I’m so excited because we started this business with this mission… now my brothers and I can make our dream of educating people come true. “
Basiri and his brothers have firsthand the pain of studying abroad. Originally from Iran, Martin Basiri and his brothers Massi and Meti wanted to do their master’s degree in engineering in Canada. In the end, they ended up at the University of Waterloo, but in the process, they struggled with visas, financial aid, and other requirements, which they said took each of the hundreds of hours.
“Our business happened accidentally,” said Martin Basiri Forbes when ApplyBoard raised a $ 55 million Series C extension in September 2020. “Meti, Massi and I came to Canada 10 years ago and in doing so we realized how difficult the process is. From day one we knew it was such a big deal that if our idea worked it would be a really big business. “
In 2015, the brothers quit their jobs to create the Common Application equivalent for international students. While they weren’t sure exactly how the platform would work, they knew it would never bill students directly. On the ApplyBoard website today, students from over 125 countries can fill in their degrees, interests and financial backgrounds, and its AI links them to over 1,500 undergraduate and graduate institutions like the University of Delaware, University of Waterloo and University of Liverpool. Similar to the Common App, students submit a Universal ApplyBoard App – complete with essays, tests, and demographics – to prospective schools. Once a student is accepted into an ApplyBoard school, they can work with the company’s visa team for guidance throughout this process, all at no cost beyond the standard paid application fee. to establishments. (He said the fees collected were $ 300 million in 2019.)
ApplyBoard, which is considered one of the fastest growing companies in Canada, has already served over 200,000 students. Although the company does not disclose its income, it does make money by charging universities a percentage of the tuition fees for enrolled students. Despite the fact that the recruitment of international students decreased by 75% with Covid-19, ApplyBoard increased its revenue by 400% compared to 2020, the company declaring that it has become the ‘Zoom’ for virtual recruitment in international colleges. The company currently employs more than 1,000 people in 25 countries and is looking to hire 250 more people now.
“We are moving towards a future where transnational education will play an increasingly important role in higher education,” said Rick Prostko, CEO of the Teachers ‘Innovation Platform at the Teachers’ Pension Plan Board. teachers in Ontario, who led the last round of ApplyBoard funding. “The need to streamline these interactions with technology on a single platform has never been greater. “
The opportunity to strengthen international education is what motivates Martin Basiri. With the new funding, he says the company plans to develop new products and advance existing ones, like ApplyProof, which authenticates documents including English test results and offers of acceptance for profit. government officials and admissions officials. “Peace goes away when people don’t know each other,” he said. “When people study together, they grow together and have a heart for each other. If they return to their country of origin, there is a permanent bond between the countries which promotes not only prosperity but also peace in the world.
Currently, students can only use ApplyBoard to apply for studies in UK, US, Australia and Canada. In the coming months, ApplyBoard aims to add more schools in these four countries to the platform.
“The University of Waterloo sees ApplyBoard as a natural partner because of the unique value it brings to recruiting international students and, at the same time, showcases the best of the entrepreneurial spirit for which our institution is known. Said Feridun Hamdullahpur. , President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waterloo, who has used ApplyBoard to enroll international students for more than five years. “We couldn’t be more excited about the impact they are having on the post-secondary education sector. “