The story of HigherEdMe
Back in 2012, I was running an association of Higher Education Schools. At this time, with some colleagues, we decided to build a very innovative school called Talent Campus, where you only learn interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, to boost your talent. This experience was a success. We trained more than 3.000 people and participated in revealing their full potential, regardless of their age or social status.
We thought : “why do we limit ourselves to our french territory? Let’s push the experience to foreign students in the form of a summer school”.
So we started to talk about it in the medias and directly to the schools abroad. But almost no one answered. We thought it was a cost reason. So we decided to make it free for students. But again, almost no one answered.
The reason was : it is very hard to reach students abroad. How can you give students opportunities if you can’t reach them?
We cancelled the summer school and I was really sad about it.
A new life
Then I changed jobs. And I became an entrepreneur. I remembered this situation, and thought “what if we build a place where Schools and Universities can easily find students?”
I did not know how to program it though. So I had no solution for it, just the will to solve this problem. To go further anyway, I needed to know if others had the same attractivity problem. So I did my homework, I studied this international field. And discovered how Schools and Universities do usually.
It was a real shock
Basically, I understood institutions had 3 options :
1/build partnerships, difficult to balance, very time consuming, and at the end students have a limited choice;
2/use agents, very efficient because they take care of all the paper work, but they charge 10 to 20% of the tuition fees;
3/use media kits and pay for marketing advertising, very expensive if you want to be visible all around the world.
All of these options end in an increase of tuition fees for students. And on the students’ side, it seems to be a pain to look for an institution, understand the offers and transfer credits and costs.
With all the existing meeting platforms to find love, a car, or a house, why don’t we use these technologies to make students and Universities meet?
I had to build a solution, but not alone
I really needed a CTO to make this happen. And one day, I met Pierre-Alexandre during a pitch in Lyon. He had a crazy and useless project http://www.chemspeak.eu/. But so fun. I knew we could fit together.
We discussed the idea of building this platform where Universities could contact students, and decided to spend time together to make a project.
Then we had the chance to meet BPI France, who decided to support us, on a 50% base in financing.
I had to find the other 50% needed to start. I worked many days to achieve it, but I did it, and Pierre-Alexandre did great on the prototype during that time.
In August, we decided to see how we could find students’ wishes. The challenge was : can we get 50 wishes in one month?
We got 49. So we decided to continue and to launch the company, make connection free for students, and almost free for universities (less than an international phone subscription). We based our values on student respect, and full transparency.
HigherEdMe was born in November 2015
We built a good launching team, installed in headquarters, had meetings with users. Now we are in May 2016.
We count 10.000 study abroad wishes and the first connections are done between students and Universities.
Our funds are very low but we can prove our concept with real cases.
Burgundy Angels invested in the company during summer 2016
Thanks to Burgundy Angels and to our first cutomers, we could continue to grow. We hired new team members and participated to one of the biggest fairs of international education in Liverpool gathering 5.000 professionnals. Things are getting really serious and we must adopt new technologies for better services.
Today is October 28th, HigherEdMe celebrates its first birthday
The company counts 7 employees, helps more than 13.000 students to be seen by more than 120 professionals of Higher Education on a global scale.