Singapore edtech startup Cialfo raises undisclosed pre-Series A

  • Successfully places students in Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge
  • Aiming to expand into China and India, eyes rapid SEA growth
Singapore edtech startup Cialfo raises undisclosed pre-Series A

SINGAPORE-based education technology (edtech) startup Cialfo said it has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-Series A funding.
The round was led by Singapore-based Govin Capital, which partnered and encouraged former Singtel chairman Koh Boon Hwee, DBS Bank and Singapore Airlines to co-invest.
A number of angels with significant experience in scaling high-growth businesses also participated, Cialfo said in a statement.
Funding will be used for product development, recruitment and expansion into high-priority growth markets China, India, and South-East Asia, it added.
Cialfo was cofounded in 2012 by Rohan Pasari and Stanley Chia in Singapore to make tertiary education more accessible to students. It does this by streamlining the US and UK university application process with a unique combination of an online platform, together with expert mentoring.
It claims it has successfully placed over 90% of its students in top 50 US and top 30 UK universities, but did not give actual numbers.
With its pre-Series A funding, it is now looking to expand its Asia footprint through a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform offering to education institutions and private college counsellors. Its solutions are available on the Web and via mobile (Android and iOS).
“Cialfo has seen remarkable growth the last four years; we now look to accelerate through strategic partnerships beyond Singapore and South-East Asia,” said Rohan, also the chief executive officer.
“Cialfo now works with some of the leading private college counsellors and high schools across Singapore, China, Vietnam, and India. We will now reach more students, tapping into the multibillion-dollar a year opportunity of helping Asian students find their ideal university,” he added.
According to the company, the annual market for Asian students enrolling in UK and US universities is about US$4 billion. That goes up to US$80 billion per year for global students enrolling into universities.
According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), around 627,306 Asian students studied in the United States in 2014-15. Of these, 304,040 originated from China and 132,888 from India.
The British Council estimates 493,570 international students are in the United Kingdom as of 2013-14, of which 92,915 (18.8%) and 21,000 (4.3%) are from China and India respectively.
Forty million students enter university every year; this is expected to double by 2025.
“Working with thousands of students in Singapore, and across Asia, Cialfo’s understanding of the pain points faced by educational institutes, consultancies, and students has enabled it to build innovative platforms and tools that are seeing rapid uptake within the education ecosystem,” said Govin Capital founder and chief executive officer Anand Govindaluri.
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