It is difficult enough for maturing young adults to focus on their schoolwork, but having to also pick their next school, a decision that can have tremendous impact upon the course of their lives, can be quite a lot to bear. British startup BridgeU hopes to help with an data-based platform to guide these students through the selection process.
The idea behind BridgeU’s platform is to take input from the students (grades, career aspirations, and cultural preferences) and churn out a list of relevant schools and courses, offering a percentage that indicates how well a particular school likely matches up with that individual’s wants. And it is not only an informational platform, as the tool helps students to manages other aspects of the process, such as reference letters from teachers and personal essays. The platform further allows students to connect with schools of interest, for other questions or concerns that they may have. BridgeU is aiming to serve educators, as well, by providing insight into how well their students are making progress. At the moment, BridgeU caters to those looking to apply to schools in the United States and United Kingdom, but they are planning to expand their focus to Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, and the Netherlands.
One of the nice aspects this service from the perspective of an end-user is that it is free, as they have instead opted to monetize the platform by charging secondary schools an annual fee, depending on how many students use it.
BridgeU, which launched in January 2015, reports that they have raised $2.75 million, including a recent round valued at $2.5 million that was led by Octopus Investments and included participation by Fresco Capital, existing investor Seedcamp, and a couple of angels. BridgeU says that they intend to use this latest funding to expand its core product by allowing students to make earlier decisions and to diversify their post-program offerings to include include alternatives to higher education, such as apprenticeships and vocational training, foundation degrees, and online programs.