London-based Unibuddy, a peer-to-peer university recruitment platform, announced that it has secured $20M (approx €16.94M) in its Series B round of funding. The investment was led by Highland Europe with additional participation from Stride.VC.
With this fundraise, the company has now raised a total of $32M (approx €27.1M) in funding since its inception in 2017.
Recently, the winners of the 2021 Future Hamburg Award were announced.
The Series B round follows Unibuddy’s record-breaking year wherein it almost tripled its revenues. The pandemic accelerated the interest in the peer-to-peer platform and its products took off. Also, the rate of digital adoption within higher education marketing has skyrocketed; 82 per cent of institutions are either engaging in, exploring or working to develop a digital transformation strategy.
“Connecting peers for better decisions”
Unibuddy claims to have provided a first-of-its-kind virtual window for the higher education experience for the digitally native Gen Z community. It helps universities and students to attract, engage, and convert prospects through peer interactions.
Unibuddy offers smarter student recruitment for higher education institutions by enabling prospects and applicants to virtually connect with student ambassadors and school staff through the web-integration of its direct messaging platform.
According to the company, by connecting student ambassadors and staff with university applicants, institutions can attract a larger and more diverse student population as well as significantly increase student enrollment.
In 2020, the number of messages sent by college applicants via Unibuddy’s platform quadrupled compared to the prior year.
The company was founded in 2017 by Diego Fanara and Kimeshan Naidoo, and currently has 117 employees across its offices in New York, London, Bangalore (India), and Singapore.
Let’s talk numbers!
Unibuddy’s platform has helped 770,000 students from over 180 countries make better decisions about their higher education journey. It has partnered with more than 450 higher education customers to help prospective students applying to college in 35 countries worldwide.
To date, the platform has exchanged over 12 million messages and has provided universities with insights that inform their marketing strategies.
With the UK being Unibuddy’s largest market, the platform has more than 80 per cent of local institutions on board, including the University of Cambridge, Imperial College, and King’s College London.
What are students most curious about?
In 2019, Unibuddy partnered up with UCAS, the UK’s shared admissions service for higher education that manages almost three million applications from around 700,000 candidates each year.
More than 35 per cent of prospective students chatting through Unibuddy’s platform are based in the UK, which is also one of the top five markets for international student demand (Unibuddy reports that 12 per cent of students studying in the UK come from abroad).
When engaging with Unibuddy Ambassadors, students are most curious about the application process and how to best prepare for coursework. Some of their biggest concerns span racial
inequality, the impact of Brexit, and work placements upon graduation. And the most popular courses discussed are business studies, accounting and finance, undergraduate law, economics, and art & design.
Diego Fanara, co-founder and CEO of Unibuddy, explains, “By 2025, our goal is to partner with institutions to empower 10 million students to progress on their higher education journey. We will triple the size of our engineering team, expanding our product suite and with it, our role in the higher education journey – from selecting a program, to onboarding to post-graduation. In particular, the team will double down on efforts in the US and APAC where there is a strong appetite for university admissions and recruitment teams to engage with both domestic and international students.”