A new college planning startup out of Austin, Texas has announced a successful completion of a seed round of $4.5 million through investors including FastForward, entrepreneur Lorne Abony, and a number of other private sources.
Schoold, the college search app that has already been downloaded over 500,000 times in its first month, said the money will be put toward aiding the company's mission of helping students and parents when it comes time for them to begin the college search. The company said they goal is to keep users around, helping to find a college, and then offering additional help to navigate the new system once they have enrolled, writes Dean Takahashi for VentureBeat.
Funds are expected to be used for the introduction of new core functionality for the app in addition to increasing the company's engineering and marketing teams. The funding comes just after the company appointed Joe Ross, an expert education technology leader, to be president and chief operating officer.
"We're excited to get this funding from Fast Forward, Lorne Abony and the rest of our investors. Their investment, coupled with the rapid adoption that Schoold's app is experiencing, is a strong endorsement of our vision, approach and the underlying technology driving the product," said Sourabh Ahuja, CEO of Schoold, in a statement.
The mobile app was released on Google Play about a month ago and then was released for iOS shortly after that. Since then it has become the number one top free college search app on Google Play and is in the top 15 free apps in the Apple store. The app has an average rating of over 4.5 stars and is currently available to download for free in both the App Store and Google Play.
The company discussed the timeliness of the release, saying April 1st is typically the last day that college admissions decisions are sent out to high school seniors across the country. Students then have about a month to determine which college they would like to attend and accept the offer. Schoold hopes to help students and parents make the best possible decision about which college to attend by putting together hard-to-find facts about each school and offering other key information such as graduation rates and salary projections organized by each major at each college.
"The choice of a college and a major literally sets the stage for a young person's future career options, earning potential, and job satisfaction," added Ross, in a statement. "Schoold simplifies an unnecessarily confusing, complex process for students and families with a customized, intuitive app powered by rigorous data science."
Funding for educational tech companies has been on the rise recently, with the sector receiving a 503% increase in investment over the past five years. According to CBInsights, funding for global education technology rose 58% in 2015.
The company describes themselves as a private technology firm looking to help students make informed decisions that will lead them to living happy, successful lives.