Global Edtech startup Unibuddy, raises AUD$26 million Series B to reinvent university recruitment

Unibuddy, the number one peer-to-peer university recruitment platform that has helped 770,000 students from over 180 countries make better decisions about their higher education journey, has raised AUD$26 million in funding.

The Series B round was led by Highland Europe with additional participation from Stride.VC. Unibuddy has raised a total of AUD$42 million since its inception in 2017. This comes after a record-breaking year for Unibuddy that saw the company almost triple its revenues.

Why is Unibuddy attracting investment?

Accelerated by the pandemic, interest in the peer-to-peer platform and its products soared.

Unibuddy’s growth is also indicative of a larger trend, as the rate of digital adoption within higher education marketing has skyrocketed with 82% of institutions either engaging in, exploring or working to develop a digital transformation strategy.

Unibuddy has provided a first-of-its-kind virtual window into the higher education experience for the digitally native Gen Z community.

When exploring a university’s website, applicants from anywhere in the world can chat with existing students and staff in real-time about a variety of topics.

Popular discussions on the platform centre around fitting in, programs of study, employability upon graduation, student life, admissions requirements, and testing criteria.

In 2020, the number of messages sent by university applicants via Unibuddy’s platform quadrupled compared to the prior year. Unibuddy has partnered with 450+ higher education customers to help prospective students applying to university in 35 countries worldwide.

By connecting student ambassadors and staff with applicants, institutions can attract a more diverse student population as well as significantly increase student enrollment.

The 12 million messages exchanged on Unibuddy to date have provided universities with insights that inform their marketing strategies.

Australian universities have taken well to Unibuddy’s offering, with 5 out of 43 major institutions using the peer-to-peer platform to assist with recruitment.

Australia is in the top market for Unibuddy’s growth as internationals steadily increased by 58% since 2015. Universities are ready to rebuild and innovate in the era post-COVID-19.

Data shows that those studying in Australia are concerned about personal finances, mental and physical health, inadequate funding and happiness with their chosen courses.

When researching Australian universities, the most popular courses discussed are medicine, accounting, dentistry and business management.

Comments on Unibuddy’s Series B funding round

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 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 United States and APAC where there is a strong appetite for university admissions and recruitment teams to engage with both domestic and international students.”

“At the University of South Australia, we pride ourselves in providing quality education. Our students are future change-makers, tomorrow’s business, political and community leaders,” said Carly Bell, Coordinator of International Admissions Lead Management.

“We are able to connect our ambassadors with prospects and help guide them through their journey, help them understand the best fit programs, and set them up for success.”

Fergal Mullen, partner at Highland Europe said, “Higher education market is projected to reach USD $118 billion by 2027 and areas such as recruitment and retention are ripe for innovation.”

“Unibuddy’s institutional partners and growth in participation from students around the world are indicative of the platform’s impact on university marketing and recruitment.”

“We know from many University administrators that Unibuddy delivers significant benefits by enabling effectively target suitable student applicants and to improve yield on offers made.”

“Unibuddy impacts first-year retention which is a huge win for Universities. We’re excited to invest in disruptive products such as Unibuddy and the ambitious teams behind them.”

Fred Destin of Stride.VC added, “Unibuddy empowers kids to take that life-changing leap of faith, to build the confidence to go study anywhere in the world their talent takes them.”

“At Stride. VC, we are happy to put both our name and capital behind this mission.”