Cialfo raises US$40 million to reach ‘100 million students’

The total investment the Singapore-based edtech company has now raised is $57m. In early 2021, it announced $15m in investment in Series A funding, including a $3m investment raised in 2019.

The latest round was led by global investment firm Square Peg and Australian-headquartered SEEK Investments, which also has stakes in online learning providers OES and FutureLearn.

The $40m investment – which includes backing from existing investors SIG Global, Vulcan Capital, DLF Venture, January Capital, and Lim Teck Lee – will help to make “international higher education accessible to 100 million students”, according to Cialfo CEO and co-founder Rohan Pasari.

“Their support will allow us to examine potential acquisitions and also to continue to expand our offerings – at scale and with speed – in ways that will better equip students, high school and universities alike for the future,” he said.

“We believe this ultimately will create massive and lasting value for society at large”

“We believe this ultimately will create massive and lasting value for society at large, as accessible education is key to our shared success.”

The company added that along with growing its user base globally, the funding will create more unique features for its high school and university clients.

It will also enable Cialfo to release new product features later in 2022, it added.

One plan it is set to introduce is Direct Apply, a “game-changing” tool allowing students and counsellors to apply, track, and send documents to hundreds of programs globally, using a single application form.

Additionally, Cialfo is developing its data analytic tools for universities to engage more prospective students, it is also augmenting counselling capabilties in schools via its in-house “virtual counsellor” service, partner at Square Peg Capital, Tushar Roy, highlighted.

“Cialfo is a vessel to manifest the shared passion of its co-founders to transform international education for the better,” Roy said.

“SEEK Investments is proud to support the Cialfo management team as they strive to help young people around the world more directly access a high-quality international tertiary education from a range of countries,” added Josh Nester, MD Education at SEEK Investments.

Cialfo’s partnerships with more than 1,000 colleges include ones with Imperial College London in the UK, The University of Chicago in the US, and IE University in Spain, as well as INTO Partnerships.

In early 2021, Pasari predicted the platform would reach “about a million students” by the end of the year.

Roy also added that Cialfo offers students and schools a “unique approach”, putting them “in the driving seat”. Without disruptors like Cialfo, the current process is “riddled with unclear information, differing application processes for different colleges, and – in many cases- relies on 3rd party agents that facilitate admission for a fee”.

Cialfo is also an alternative to the “agent-facilitated process”, he contended, which “in many cases lead to misaligned interests, as agents may not be incentivised to place a student in the ‘best fit’ college vs the one that pays them the greatest commission”.


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