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Singapore’s Cialfo raises $3m for US venture

An edtech venture from Singapore called Cialfo is described as a HE admissions startup, and it’s just raised US$3m to help it expand into the US.

Singapore has been a launchpad for Cialfo, but it now has sights set further afield. Photo: Unsplash

With expansion plans to New York and Delhi from 2020, the firm is expected to grow fast

The series-A funding has taken the total raised by Cialfo to $5m after its consulting side was sold in 2017 to ChangedEdu.

The round was led by DLF Venture, and money was also provided by an arm of Enterprise Singapore, called Seeds Capital. DLF is a family-owned holding company based in Luxembourg and focused on edtech and digital media.

“What convinced us about Cialfo was their ability to disrupt the market”

The product allows prospective students to research key information on global HEIs to assist with their application processes.

It also collects data on both failed and successful applications, which the company says allows it to better assist future students when advising them on courses and institutions to fit their wants and needs.

The firm currently boasts 400 global partners with most currently in Asia – though Stanley Chia, co-founder and COO, said the US was the company’s next target market.

He also highlighted the attention to customer service and customisability of the service.

“The flexibility and customizability to every school are much more rigorous [than other products],” he said.

The company currently employs 25 people, but with expansion expected in New York, Beijing and Delhi from 2020, that number is expected to grow.

François-Xavier de Mevius, principal at DLF Venture, explained why his fund was keen to invest in Cialfo.

“What convinced us about Cialfo was their ability to disrupt the (admissions) counselling market, by going back to the core: an obsessive focus on the customer.

“The entire platform is built around its users (counsellors, students and parents) and by offering 24/7 customer support, they bring average response times down from days to just hours,” he added.

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