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Vericant secures funding to move into HE

Beijing-based admission video interview service Vericant has secured funding from venture capital firm Shunwei Capital. The undisclosed amount will be used to expand business partnerships in to the higher education sector after several years operating in the boarding school industry.

The move marks the first investment into a foreign company for Shunwei who is looking to expand into the education sector.

Founded in 2011, Vericant is the latest third-party video interview provider who is seeing growth as the result of the need to prevent cheating in the admission process to mostly North American universities. The companies claim to offer more holistic impressions of a student’s English language level than traditional English language exams.

“Our interviewers are trained to shake you out of a script and go back to using language rather than regurgitating something that you’ve memorised”

“Existing English tests don’t test English communication,” co-founder and CEO Chris Boehner told The PIE News.  “It tests spoken English ability based on prompt and response.”

“Our interviewers are trained to shake you out of a script and go back to using language rather than regurgitating something that you’ve memorised,” he explained. “In order for them to prepare for this, they’re really going to have to learn to communicate in English.”

To date the company has recorded “thousands” of interviews and has partnerships with around 10 higher education institutions and graduate programmes and about 60 boarding schools in the US and Canada.

With the funding the company will build partnerships through its existing operations in China, South Korea, Taiwan and will start offering interviews in the US and Canada this year to onshore international students.

“There’s a lot of interest from the k-12 group of graduates who want to go on to a Canadian or American university” confirmed Boehner.

Vericant services include a written essay and a face to face video interview that it then evaluates and sends to universities. The number of recipient universities depends on the package students buy with the average package priced at US$380.

The move marks the first investment into a foreign company for Shunwei who is looking to expand into the education sector. Founded in 2011, until now the firm has focused primarily on early to mid-stage investments in China’s internet industry, including mobile internet, eCommerce and social networks.

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