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Mergermarket: Adventus.io plans Series B to grow university marketplace

Originally published in Mergermarket by Christel Thunell

Adventus.io, an Australia-founded, Singapore-headquartered edtech startup, is planning to raise a Series B round later this year or early in 2021, CEO and co-founder Ryan Trainor said.

The company will raise a “meaningful” amount, “absolutely double digits”, after raising a total of AUD 12m (USD 8.3m) in its seed and Series A rounds over the past two years, Trainor said.

Australian investment and advisory firm 333 Capital and the founding team invested in both rounds. 333 Capital will advise on the Series B round, in which Adventus.io is targeting new investors, Trainor said.

The company is already fielding interest from investors in North America, the UK and Asia.

It will consider venture capital firms as well as strategic investors in education or adjacent areas supporting students, Trainor said.

Adventus.io has developed a software as a service (Saas) marketplace that enables universities to connect and transact with international student recruiters. The platform is the first of its kind in the education sector, and Adventus.io aims to transform the industry, which places 5.3m international students annually, Trainor said.

70% of international students make their decisions about which university to choose via student recruitment agents, but each agent only has 20-30 university relationships on average, so Adventus’ mission is to democratize access, the CEO continued. More than 470 universities are signed up to the platform, a number that is expected to increase to 750 by the end of this year, he said. The company aims to place more than 50,000 students per year by 2023, he added.

Of course, the movement of international students has stopped due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but in the meantime, Adventus.io is positioning itself to support universities once borders open again, which the company expects in 2021, Trainor said.

After the SARS outbreak, there was an increase in students wanting to go overseas, he noted.

COVID-19 has also given universities an opportunity to think about how they can access students, and recruitment agencies are assessing more options for the students. Universities are seeking ways to access a global marketplace of vetted student recruitment partners due to limited marketing channels and restricted staff travel, the CEO said. Adventus.io is signing up on average one university a day, he said.

Capital raised in the Series B round will be used to expand into new student source countries, Trainor said. Aside from Australia and Singapore, Adventus.io also has offices in the UK, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and has universities from the US, Canada, Europe and Malaysia signed up. In 2021, the company is planning to set up offices in Africa, the Middle East, Indonesia, and on the US East Coast, most likely Boston, Trainor said.

The company, founded in 2018, has gone from 14 to 150 employees in the last year, and aims to double its number of employees by 2021, the CEO said.

The founders, Ryan Trainor and his brother Lincoln Trainor, Victor Rajeevan, and Richard Uren, have no thoughts of an exit at this point, Trainor said. Their vision is to transform an industry, where a student might pay USD 100,000-200,000 for a degree, which can be the largest ever purchasing decision for a family, he said. “We want to help make sure they’ve made the right choice”, Trainor said.

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