The London and Hong Kong-based education and talent technology startup BridgeU today announced the closing of a €4.5 million Series A funding round led by Octopus Ventures. Existing investor Fresco Capital also participated, and new investor Downing Ventures joined the round. Founded in 2014, BridgeU’s university preparation and careers guidance software uses big data and streamlined management tools to empower secondary schools to offer a smart, modern university and careers guidance service to their students.
Higher education has undergone a rapid change in the past decades. Yet, the fundamental practice of university and careers guidance has neither evolved to reflect these shifts, nor changed to meet the developing needs of industry. Students frequently make higher education decisions in a vacuum, leading to high dropout rates and poor skills alignment with emerging labour market opportunities.
Lucy Stonehill, BridgeU’s co-founder and CEO, stated: “At BridgeU, we’re dedicated to building a solution which empowers schools to prepare the students of today for the world of tomorrow. In a world where 65% of students in primary school will eventually find employment in jobs that don’t currently exist, helping young people to make informed decisions from the ages of 14-24 is critically important.”
With BridgeU, students build a personal profile, incorporating data on subject interests, grades, social, professional and learning preferences. The BridgeU matching algorithm cross-references a vast database of historical admissions data points to generate university and course recommendations that are personalised to the preferences and strengths of each individual. BridgeU’s application tools help students build compelling university applications, and enable teaching staff to manage and track progression throughout the guidance process, assign tasks, collaborate on references and submit applications and supporting files for students.
BridgeU integrates with leading school and curriculum management systems to facilitate seamless transfer of data and efficient teacher interactions across school systems. The platform enables schools to track performance and admissions trends, and performs analysis to provide teachers and senior leaders with powerful insights. With the passing of each admissions cycle, BridgeU uses machine learning to weave results back into its matching algorithm which improves the overall solution. In a traditionally opaque decision-making environment, BridgeU is lifting the lid on how universities admit applicants, and empowering schools with this insight.
In May 2017, BridgeU announced a partnership with ManageBac, the world’s leading Curriculum First learning platform, which serves 4 in 5 International Baccalaureate Diploma students worldwide. The partnership enhances access to university and careers guidance for IB students, allowing them to explore, discover, and manage their post-secondary school careers.
In the coming weeks, BridgeU will launch its modern, adaptive Careers planner. This will enable students to discover and explore a vast array of job families and industries, all the while learning about how real time changes in labour markets could impact their choices. The Careers tool has been produced in partnership with Burning Glass Technologies, which is powered by the world’s largest and most sophisticated database of jobs and talent, and will help BridgeU students frame higher education decisions within the wider context of transitioning into adulthood.
The latest round of funding brings the total raised by BridgeU to about €7.2 million since the company was founded in early 2014. BridgeU’s team has grown to 40 and works with schools in over 50 countries. The new funding, which will also support team growth, will allow BridgeU to carry on adding to its product offering, further developing the platform around the needs of schools and young people.