StudyFree — which connects students with international educational opportunities via a community-driven B2C SaaS model — has raised a $3 million seed investment round led by I2BF Global Ventures, TMT Investments and Techstars. Also participating was PandaDoc CEO Mikita Mikado and Google’s ex-director of product, Andrey Doronichev. StudyFree has now received a total of $3.6 million in funding. The new funds will be used to attract new members to the community, expand into new markets, marketing and platform development.
Founded in November 2018, StudyFree helps students and alumni to enroll in universities and graduate schools internationally, by listing scholarships and grants. It claims that international students using its platform have now received scholarships and grants worth $10.3 million to study in universities across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia. It offers more than 300,000 programs for various degrees with scholarships, with a user base of 90,000 students.
Dasha Kroshkina, CEO and founder of StudyFree said: “As someone who was born in a small town, but managed to study internationally, I know more than most how important it is for everyone in the world to have this opportunity. We estimate the international overseas education market is 15 million students per year.”
StudyFree’s main competitors is ApplyBoard (a unicorn) and traditional consulting agencies, but unlike the latter, StudyFree leverages its independent community of students with study abroad experience who act as mentors and assist new users with enrollment. These alumni, who have a strong desire to “give back”, can host community events and network with these new students. The service then generates revenue through a subscription model.
Mikita Mikado, CEO of PandaDoc said: “StudyFree has become a leading expert in international university admissions with a proven 98% success rate for its students over the last 3 years. It’s changed the adviser market, not only by digitizing the advising process throughout the application process, but also by making human capital and community the foundation of its product.”
Kroshkina is the first female founder to win the Seedstars global competition in its seven-year history. StudyFree was also selected by Techstars New York City Accelerator and Berkeley SkyYDeck, in addition to attracting investment from Techstars twice. Previous investors included Acrobator VC, the fund launched by Bas Godska and Joachim Laqueur to invest in Western and Eastern Europe, and Chris Adelsbach.