[Funding alert] College admissions startup Cialfo raises $3M in Series A round led by DLF Venture, others
Singapore-based college admissions startup Cialfo has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by DLF Venture, with support from SEEDS Capital (the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, the government agency driving enterprise development), YK Capital, and angels.
Started in 2012 by Rohan Pasari, Stanley Chia, and William Hund, Cialfo's platform helps manage student applications to colleges in the US and around the world. Besides a platform, the company had also developed a consulting business in the same segment, which it sold to ChangedEdu in 2017.
(L to R) William Hund, Rohan Pasari, and Stanley Chia, Co-founders, Cialfo
François-Xavier de Mevius, Principal at DLF Venture, stated, "What convinced us about Cialfo was their ability to disrupt the counselling market, by going back to the core: an obsessive focus on the customer. The entire platform is built around its users (counsellors, students, and parents) and by offering 24/7 customer support they bring average response times down from days to just hours."
Some of its college partners include Castilleja School (Palo Alto, CA), Episcopal Academy (Newtown Square, PA), Loyola High School of Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA), Brooklyn Friends School (New York, NY).
In India, Cialfo’s clients include Dhirubhai Ambani International School and Oberoi International School (Mumbai), and British School New Delhi (New Delhi).
It’s also working with Singapore American School, and Hwa Chong Institution (Singapore), UWC Thailand International School (Thailand), and Taipei American School (Taiwan). In China, Cialfo it works with Beijing No. 4/BHSF and the Yew Chung International Schools network. In Europe, Cialfo’s clients include American School of Warsaw (Poland), American School of The Hague (Netherlands), and American International School of Vienna (Austria).
The startup will use the funding to support Cialfo’s US expansion, and this takes its total funding to date to over $5 million. The company now has a global headcount of 25, expected to double in the next year, with offices in Singapore, New York, Beijing, and New Delhi.
Rohan Pasari, Co-founder and CEO of Cialfo, said,
"We’ve seen a twenty-fold increase in the numbers of students using our platform in the last 15 months, and our revenues have tripled year on year. We now have clients in more than 40 countries, with around 100,000 students using Cialfo worldwide – a number we expect to grow to 500,000 by year end. Overall, we’re targeting a $2 billion addressable market for our services globally and remain committed to increasing access to education everywhere.”
The company added in its statement that over the next 12-18 months, Cialfo is planning to expand its product reach both upwards and downwards — to colleges and students. For colleges, Cialfo wants to work more closely with admissions representatives around the world to add visibility for their college profiles on the platform, making it easier for prospective applicants to discover suitable courses and get in touch.
Besides this, Cialfo has also secured partnerships with The Common Application and Parchment to support electronic document delivery to colleges, and plans to raise a Series B by late 2020 to support its global expansion.