But for all the noise and success in the edtech sector, there are some platforms that fall by the wayside once the hype has faded.
This fate seems to have befallen student recruitment platform SchoolApply, a promising digital profiling tool acquired by INTO University Partnerships in 2020.
Based out of Dubai and founded in 2016, SchoolApply experienced rapid success, quickly attracted 350+ university partnerships, with further offices opening in the US and India.
However the company website now links through to INTO’s student-facing site and the company confirmed to The PIE that the business has ceased trading.
“It was a business decision to cease the SchoolApply business after a thorough assessment and taking into account a range of factors, including the impact of the pandemic,” a company spokesperson told The PIE.
“Innovation and entrepreneurship are central to INTO University Partnership’s approach, and we continuously learn and adapt based on our experiences,” they continued.
“What is important is that we keep the interests of students at the heart of what we do, and our decisions are driven by our commitment to provide the best service and value to students for their investment.”
According to Crunchbase, the company won two rounds of seed funding in 2018 with a total value of US$2.2 million and received a further $2m in 2019.
Early investors attracted to the idea of an online educational marketplace were rumoured to be Swedish DJ Avicii and Google’s northern European marketing manager Peter Jetzel.
However, The PIE understands that lead qualifying and conversion of application to enrolment remained a challenge despite the company projections.
INTO University Partnerships had been a key client for SchoolApply since its inception and in May 2020 it acquired the platform for an undisclosed fee.
Enrolment conversion is the acid test
Just nine months later, SchoolApply was shut down in February 2021. Despite the website being removed and the staff let go, many universities still list SchoolApply as an approved partner on their own websites, such was the speed of its demise.
The dormant social media accounts are frozen at a time when operations ceased.
What appeared to be a unique proposition is now being replicated widely in the sector. Online marketplaces, matching tools and digital agents are crowding the recruitment field and dominating headlines.
It remains to be seen which of the current crop can truly deliver a bottom-line return. Enrolment conversion is the acid test.
Like MySpace to Facebook, many may remember SchoolApply as ahead-of-its-time in digital recruitment, its early potential now overshadowed by the current market leaders.