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March 21, 2022

Investment Notes: Cialfo $40m Series B

We have led a $40M round in Cialfo, a global edtech pioneering a new way for students and schools to undertake overseas tertiary education.

Tushar Roy

January 28, 2022

Investment Notes: Cialfo $40m Series B

We have led a $40M round in Cialfo, a global edtech pioneering a new way for students and schools to undertake overseas tertiary education.

Tushar Roy

We have led a $40M round in Cialfo, a global edtech pioneering a new way for students and schools to undertake overseas tertiary education.

It is our privilege to partner with Cialfo’s founders: Rohan Pasari, Stanley Chia and William Hund. It is rare to meet such a synergistic combination of founders that share a passion to change the status quo in international education. We are also delighted to work with new incoming investor, SEEK, and Cialfo’s existing investors that have backed the company yet again.

A passionate team on a mission

Cialfo is a vessel to manifest the passion the co-founders share to transform international education for the better. It is a passion born of each founder’s personal experience, be it Rohan moving from India to Singapore for university and experiencing first-hand the friction and misaligned interests inherent in the status quo, or Stanley chasing his lifelong passion to make education more accessible.

Rohan, Stanley and William have spent almost their entire careers focused on improving education outcomes in different ways.

Paving a new way

Each year 6 million students travel internationally for tertiary study. This number is set to grow to 8 million by 2025. However, the 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. This agent-facilitated process is understandable given most of the international student flows are from developing to developed markets, and many students and families going through the process do not have English as their first language. The agency model can also 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.

A unique approach

Cialfo’s approach is to put students and schools in the driving seat. Its core product is used in schools to assist students to plan for and embark on their journey from school to international tertiary education, helping multiple participants:

  • Students: Learn about, apply for and track their tertiary education journey on one single platform
  • Student counsellors: Spend less time on admin and more time helping students plan to achieve their goals; and
  • Schools: Give their students access to top global tertiary institutions
  • Universities: Get a single platform through which they can directly communicate with a diverse pool of global candidates.

This model seeks to redistribute value away from agents back to students and schools, but also grows the pie by democratising access to more students to study abroad.

In addition to its existing products, Cialfo is also building out other capabilities to streamline the international student journey, including

  • Providing data analytic tools to universities to help them engage with more international students that would fit their criteria, and
  • Augmenting the counselling capabilities in schools via Cialfo’s in-house “virtual counsellor” service.

Today, many of the leading international schools around the world use Cialfo to help their students and counsellors. These include the likes of Cambridge, Oxford, Brown, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, as well as local universities Singapore Management University and Yale-NUS. A growing number of university partners are also using Cialfo to engage more meaningfully with students around the world.

Cialfo is building a single platform that unifies and makes easier the international student journey, which in success will encompass many other facets of the transition students make from their home to a new country.

We are excited to partner with the team to build something that improves and grows international student mobility and experience, and in so doing contributes to bringing the world closer together.

Learn more about Cialfo.