Sign up

Have some pie!

Keystone widens portfolio with Edunation & Asia Exchange acquisition

Keystone Education Group has acquired the Edunation and Asia Exchange businesses, as it seeks to expand into the Asia Pacific market with a well known study abroad organiser joining its stable of brands.

People sitting on bench in Gamla stan, Stockholm, Sweden.Edunation promotes Finland as a destination to study and settle in. The plan is to broaden its reach to more Nordic destinations. Photo: Unsplash

Last year, 120 million students used Keystone as part of their study search journey and over 70,000 directly enrolled into a program through our services.

Meanwhile, Edunation promotes study in Finland and will help Keystone ultimately position the Nordics as a high-quality study destination for the millions of students using its portfolio of platforms to search and discover international education opportunities.  

“Last year, 120 million students used Keystone as part of their study search journey and over 70,000 directly enrolled into a program through our services. With the help of Edunation and Asia Exchange, we expect to support thousands more in 2024 and beyond,” said Fredrik Högemark, CEO of Keystone. 

The acquisition, of an undisclosed value, will help the Norway-based international education organisation expand its reach beyond Europe and serve and enrol more students in the Asia-Pacific region.  

Both businesses had been set up by Finnish entrepreneurs Harri Suominen and Tuomas Kauppinen.

The partnership will also aid Keystone’s aim of evolving beyond search and discovery, helping students all the way through to enrolment and retention.

“These students will benefit from access to an expanded range of programs, including gap years, study abroad, pathways and full degrees,” Högemark told The PIE.  

The news comes after years of deepening ties to the Finnish business owners, he added.

“This has been in the works for many years. We’ve been getting to know each other in the Nordics and now is good timing to finally join forces,” he said. 

“What started as a two-guy team, now we can grow to a global scale”

Asia Exchange was founded by Suominen and Kauppinen in 2007. Ten years later, the pair launched Edunation which is now the leading provider of pathways to work and study in Finland.  

“This is probably the most exciting Monday that I’ve ever had in my professional career,” Suominen told The PIE, a day before the acquisition was officially announced.  

“We are proud and humbled to be able to join a global powerhouse in the field of international education, especially one with roots in the Nordics,” he said.   

Asia Exhange has helped 10,000 students from 115 different countries study in destinations across Asia and Latin America since launch.  

According to Suominen, South Korea is their fastest growing study destination, followed by growing markets in southeast Asia such as Malaysia and Thailand.  

Bali is also a “hidden treasure,” receiving about 1000 students a year from Germany and Nordic countries, said Suominen.  

The PIE recently helped the company organise a pre-APAIE event promoting the value of Indonesia as a study abroad destination and rapidly developing Asian economy, with the theme, “The further you go, the more you grow”.

The acquisition of Edunation will see a big push on sending more students to Finland and eventually, other Nordic countries, promoting the region as a high-quality study destination with a high number of top ranked institutions.  

“There is no higher density of high-level universities than in the Nordics. It’s not in California, it’s not in the United States where the [density of] top-ranked universities are, it’s in the Nordics. So now we just need to claim our position as top of the world,” Suominen told The PIE 

Edunation aims to attract full degree-seeking students and pathway students who want to stay in the Nordics, bring their families and find jobs. 

The focus is squarely on migration and education access. Edunation has strong strategic partnerships with many Finnish employers, the companies explained.

“We are having big talent shortages in these countries and the other Nordic countries have been missing an operator like Edunation,” said Suominen.

When we established Edunation in 2017, the goal that was someday it would not only be Edunation of Finland, but it could be Edunation of the Nordics and Europe. Now the day has come.”

He added, “What started as a two-guy team, now we can grow to a global scale. Finland is a small country, together we are much bigger.”

The merger with Edunation and Asia Exchange will help Keystone achieve its long-term aim of evolving the business beyond search and discovery, supporting universities and students throughout the process, to application, enrolment and retention.  

In 2021, Keystone acquired UniQuest, a UK-based student engagement, conversion and retention specialist, to evolve its lead-to-enrolment business aim.

“Now we can help more students go all the way. Students are expecting are a more seamless, more digital and faster journey and I think by bringing these companies together, we’ll be delivering that. Asia Exchange and Edunation have been really good at 24-hour turnarounds, speeding the journey up and making it easier for the student,” said Högemark.   

Keystone also added postgrad specialist FindAUniversity, to its list of acquisitions in 2021, offering students enhanced search options and enhancing reach for partner institutions.

Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Keystone is backed by Viking Venture and Verdane, two leading Nordic venture firms.

Asia Exchange has a new sister brand, Beyond Abroad, and now enables study abroad opportunities for semesters abroad, summer- and language schools, gap years and full degrees in Asia and more recently, in countries such as Mexico too.

Still looking? Find by category:

Add your comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Disclaimer: All user contributions posted on this site are those of the user ONLY and NOT those of The PIE Ltd or its associated trademarks, websites and services. The PIE Ltd does not necessarily endorse, support, sanction, encourage, verify or agree with any comments, opinions or statements or other content provided by users.

To receive The PIE Weekly with our top stories and insights, and other updates from us, please