A plethora of startups have realized the importance of education—not just in terms of their hiring decisions (although I’m sure education plays a big role there, as well), but in terms of their target audience. Every year, more and more students are applying to college. This year, Stanford received a record 32,022 applications, Brown received 30,135, and UCLA led the fray with 57,670 applications. Several education-oriented companies like Grockit have jumped into the arena to provide solutions to students in need of guidance. ConnectEDU, an online education and career planning platform, is poised to be a major educational resource for students.
ConnectEDU announced Monday that it has raised $7 million in Series D funding from Allen & Company. Founded in 2002, the Web-based education solutions provider has raised a total of $18.7 million, and the new funds will be used to support the company’s growth as it develops tools to help students make major educational and career-planning decisions.
The company is best known for its Connect! platform, which allows students to network with advisors, admissions officers, career advisors, and employers to help them navigate the academic and career channels they’re interested in pursuing. Like a LinkedIn for students, the Connect! platform includes five million high school and college aged students, 2,500 high schools, 450 colleges, and nearly 50 employers.
While ConnectEDU was created to help students plan their college lives and careers, “we are also focused on eliminating the processing hurdles associated with students moving from high school to college by making the college application form completion process informative, fast, secure and efficient for all parties involved," said ConnectEDU CEO Craig Powell in the company’s announcement. To this end, the company created the SuperAPP, which streamlines the college application process by allowing the student to enter data into all of his or her applications in one sitting, rather than fill out each individual application separately. The student can also track his or her application materials from one dashboard.
In 2011, ConnectEDU will be rolling out new SuperAPP capabilities for simplifying the process of applying for financial aid, filling out the FAFSA, and so on. The SuperAPP financial aid capabilities will even remind admitted students when to reapply for financial aid to avoid losing their funding (which would’ve been helpful when I was in college…I ended up crying in the financial aid office every fall because I forgot to reapply).
"The funds raised today will enable us to meet the growing demand for ConnectEDU to be the standard for states, high schools and colleges committed to the success of their students and those who serve them. ConnectEDU can now accelerate the expansion of its regional service centers across the country,” said Powell in a prepared statement.
Image source: networkalive.net