ChaseFuture, a Shanghai-based startup that built a platform where admissions experts and college alums can coach international students on how to get in, just raised $400,000 in a fresh seed round.
Led by Banyan Partners and Harbor Pacific Capital, the round also included Artesian Capital Management and other educational technology angels including an AngelVest consortium, SingTel Innov8’s managing director William Bao Bean, Lightspeed’s managing director Ron Cao, and Joshua Motta, who oversees special projects at CloudFlare.
Founded a year and a half ago, the company started in mainland China where the appetite for Western university degrees is enormous. They have basic products that help students with admissions essays, choosing schools and polishing resumes, then higher-tier packages that can cost several thousand dollars depending on how much hands-on help a client wants.
ChaseFuture’s platform connects about 140 alums and admissions experts from top U.S. and U.K. universities with prospective applicants through an online messaging system and video tutorials.
CEO Greg Nance says the company now has about 1,000 paying clients, who are charged annual fees of anywhere from $300 to $5,000 per year. In their first cycle, seventeen students got into Columbia University, another 17 got into USC, then 16 got into Imperial College London and another 11 got into LSE.
“Over the last eight months, we’ve just made a ton of progress in terms of our brand and establishing ourselves as a leading provider in the space,” Nance said.
They’ll use the new funding to grow the company’s sales and technology teams and explore opportunities outside of mainland China in markets like India, Egypt, and Turkey. They’ll build out Arabic-language versions of all their videos in their library.
They also released a beta version of App Tracker, a new tool with how-to articles and videos that guide students through the university application process. The company also implemented a ratings and reputation system for mentors and a new CRM tool to manage prospective clients.