College and career planning platform SchooLinks has raised $8.3 million in a Series A round, the company announced Monday.
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Austin-based SchooLinks serves students, school college counseling offices and administrators. On the student side, it includes quizzes to help them figure out what they like and don’t like to do, career guidance, college exploration and application features, according to CEO Katie Fang. On the counselor side, SchooLinks is like Salesforce1 — a system of record to streamline the college application process. And for school administrators, SchooLinks acts as a data analytics tool.
“All in all, it’s a framework to help students to figure out who they are, what they want to do, and how to get there,” Fang said in an interview. “And we supply more than 80 features and experiences within the framework to help guide the process.”
Right now, Naviance is likely SchooLinks’ largest competitor, and is used in high schools across the United States for college and career planning.
The Series A round was led by LiveOak Venture Partners, which focuses on investing in Texas-based companies, with participation from Juvo Ventures and SJF Ventures. The round is SchooLinks’ first round of institutional funding since it was founded in 2015.
The issue of better-tracking college and career planning is something LiveOak founding partner Krishna Srinivasan could relate to as a parent of three children, two of whom have graduated from high school and gone off to college.
“Through their middle school, high school journeys as a parent, and as a kid themselves,” Srinivasan said in an interview, “there is an acute need for better platforms to help kids and parents think through a kid’s strengths and paths, what careers they should be aiming toward, what colleges they should be aiming toward, and what courses they should take.”
The COVID-19 pandemic in a way has “compressed the adoption curve,” of SchooLinks among school districts, Fang said, with “the late majority becoming the early adopters.”
When schools were initially shut down last year, many were waiting for state orders on reopening and school districts didn’t want to make new purchases on technology because it was unclear what the future would look like and they were waiting for guidance, Fang said.
“I think in the summer — Quarter 2, late Quarter 2 and Quarter 3 — we started to see a spike in districts reaching out and trying to get demos and really try to explore different software technologies because they can’t wait any longer,” she said.
With the new funding, SchooLinks plans to invest in tripling its team, product development and integrations, and expanding its partnerships. SchooLinks is currently in 14 different states, with its strongest presence in Texas, Illinois and Washington, and plans to expand to all 50 states, Fang said.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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