Julie Hare – Education Editor
Julie Hare is the Education editor at the Australian Financial Review. She has more than 20 years of experience as a writer, journalist, and editor.

Originally published by AFR on 8th November 2021, written by Julie Hare.

A pandemic-induced pause in the global overseas student market has failed to put the brakes on an Australian start-up online marketplace that links educational institutions and student recruiters.

The equivalent of HubSpot or TripAdvisor, Adventus has signed up over 5000 recruitment agents and 1300 institutional partners globally since it launched its business in 2018.

Last week, the company launched a new tool called Adventus Drive which gives institutions personalized and real-time data on the international student market.

Adventus co-founders Lincoln Trainor, Victor Rajeevan, Ryan Trainor and Richard Uren started the business to help connect universities to international students more easily. 

Ryan Trainor, Adventus’s co-founder and chief executive, said the data-rich platform would help institutions target students who were the right fit for them.

“Institutions traditionally invest in top-of-the-funnel activities like Facebook and Google advertising, mid-funnel ventures like expos and open days [but] they’ve never had the ability to influence a captive audience at the end of the funnel until now. Adventus Drive gives institutions the ability to market to quality international students ready to apply,” Mr Trainor said.

Mr Trainor said the platform worked like TripAdvisor by providing education agents and counselors with “the right information to be able to support the student”.

Traditionally, student recruitment works on small-scale, human-to-human interactions, with most recruiters working with an average of 30 institutions.

From 30 to thousands

“If you were an international student and went to an agent to apply for an overseas university, they would only have a certain number of relationships,” Mr. Trainor said.

“So your opportunities aren’t very open. The idea here is that an agent can now have relationships with thousands of universities and other educational institutions.”

The online platform also allows institutions to connect with a far more diverse range of nationalities than by dealing with individual agents.

Currently, around 40 percent of education institutions using Adventus are in the US, with 20 percent in Australia. A total of 34 Australian universities or their pathway colleges use the platform, alongside hundreds of schools and vocational colleges.

Mr. Trainor, a former AFR Young Rich Lister, said 70 percent of international students decided about where they would study in collaboration with a recruitment agent.

The SaaS-based platform has found that applications to Australian universities from international students have dropped 50 percent since March this year.

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