Applying to post-secondary schools can be a hassle, but particularly so as an international student. Not only do students need to find the right school for their financial situation, academic background, and desired program, they also need to navigate the murky waters of applying for a visa. Velocity alumnus ApplyBoard has now raised $17 million (CAD) in Series A funding to continue on their journey to make it easy for international students to study at colleges and universities in North America.
With new funding from Artiman Ventures and followup funding from 500 Startups, Candou Ventures, and Think +, ApplyBoard is well positioned to expand its team size, build out its platform, and explore new markets. With 60+ employees, ApplyBoard is headquartered on the 4th floor of the RBC building in downtown Kitchener, after quickly outgrowing the penthouse, following its launch from the Velocity Garage in the summer of 2016. The team is now exploring additional office space, in addition to having an office in Beijing, as well as remote workers in Nepal, Vietnam, and India.
ApplyBoard is the story of three immigrant brothers from Iran, leveraging insights from their personal experience applying to schools in Canada, and wanting to make it easier for other international students to do the same. Co-founder and CEO Martin Basiri came to the University of Waterloo in 2010 to earn a Master’s degree in Mechatronics, and was followed several years later by brothers Meti (Co-founder and CMO), and Massi (COO), who both studied at Conestoga College.
“[Martin, Meti, and Massi] have gone through the entire process and know how frustrating and challenging it is to get to where you want to go. The fact that they have already gone through that experience and can easily relate to the students and to the schools has been a key insight as they work to solve this problem.” – Adrianna Dyczkowsky, Public Relations Specialist at ApplyBoard
Over 10,000 students have used the web-based platform from across 93 countries. ApplyBoard’s software helps students by matching their academic interests and financial situation with the right schools in Canada and the USA, with the goal of helping students get the best education that matches their needs. As students build a profile, they are provided with recommendations from among 750 partner schools, making it easier for students to research post-secondary opportunities. Students can then apply to schools directly from the platform. ApplyBoard also helps students navigate the visa process, employing staff who are familiar with visa requirements, and can help its users navigate the application process. By streamlining the process where international students discover and apply to schools, ApplyBoard is working to remove the hurdles required for international students to get a great education.