Cialfo raises US$3mil in Series A funding

  • Round is is led by DLF Venture with support from SEEDS Capital, YK Capital
  • Funds will be used to support its US expansion; plans to raise a Series B by late 2020


Cialfo raises US$3mil in Series A funding


CIALFO, a college admissions platform headquartered in Singapore, has raised US$3 million (RM12.47 million) in Series A funding led by DLF Venture with support from SEEDS Capital (the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore), YK Capital, and angel investors.

It follows the sale of its consulting business to a private equity firm in 2017. The funding will be used to support Cialfo’s US expansion and takes its total funding to date to over US$5 million (RM20.78 million), making it Singapore’s top-funded edtech startup.

The company now has a headcount of 25, expected to double in the next year, with offices in Singapore, New York, Beijing, and New Delhi. Cialfo claims it has already broken into the top three US providers of college admissions platforms and launched its free Google Chrome app.

Cialfo’s platform helps manage student applications to colleges in the US and around the world. Early adopters in the US 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).

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.

Cialfo cofounder and chief executive officer Rohan Pasari (pic above), said: “We want to say a big thank you to all those who have supported us on our journey over the years. Our platform is growing and our customers love what we’ve built. 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 US$2 billion addressable market for our services globally and remain committed to increasing access to education everywhere.”

DLF Venture principal François-Xavier de Mevius, said: “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. Education counsellors love the platform, spending on average six hours per day on it," he adds.

“Students love it too, averaging two to three hours per week in research and admissions-related tasks. Its goal is big and bombastic, 100 million students having used the platform by 2025, and we’re looking forward to helping this great team achieve it in the years to come.”

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 counts Beijing No. 4/BHSF and the Yew Chung International Schools network among its clients. In Europe, Cialfo’s clients include American School of Warsaw (Poland), American School of The Hague (Netherlands), and American International School of Vienna (Austria).

Over the next 12-18 months, Cialfo is planning to expand its product reach both upwards and downwards — to colleges and students. It is also increasing access to the best education opportunities irrespective of a student’s background.

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.

Cialfo’s free Google Chrome app scrapes data to help students find essay prompts set by college admissions tests across the US, which vary by college, savings them hours in research time.


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