UCL-backed Unibuddy platform receives $20m in funding to fuel global expansion
21 July 2021
The student recruitment platform Unibuddy has secured $20 million (£14.5 million) in funding after its revenue almost quadrupled during the pandemic.
Unibuddy was set up in 2015 by UCL alumnus Kimeshan Naidoo (UCL Computer Science 2016) and co-founder Diego Fanara. The pair came up with the idea for the platform after moving to the UK to attend university and realising the difficulties of adapting to a new country.
Unibuddy allows prospective university applicants to build meaningful connections online with existing students and staff through chat, live events and partnerships. Popular discussions include issues such as fitting in, programmes of study, employability and admissions.
The site now works with more than 450 institutions in 35 countries, with around 12 million messages sent via its platform to date. Its largest market is the UK where it works with more than 80% of institutions. In 2019, it also began a partnership with university admissions service UCAS.
As a student from abroad, Kimeshan needed a Graduate Entrepreneur visa to work on Unibuddy full time. He pitched Unibuddy to UCL and they sponsored his visa.
Kimeshan and Diego were also supported by UCL Innovation & Enterprise at BaseKX, UCL’s entrepreneurship hub, between 2016 and 2017. Here they received business advice and free office space. They then moved to IDEALondon, UCL’s flagship tech hub, which gives new businesses support to grow.
Unibuddy raised the impressive $20 million in funding in a series B round led by Highland Europe, with further participation from Stride.VC.
Thanks to the funding, Unibuddy will be expanding globally, with the aim of partnering with over 1,500 universities in the next 18 months. They also plan to triple the size of their engineering team and expand their product suite.
Kimeshan is also giving back to UCL as part of its mentor network at BaseKX, where he’s given talks and shared his journey with other UCL entrepreneurs.
Find out more about:
- innovation and enterprise support for students and graduates
- UCL BaseKX
- UCL Computer Science
Photo © Unibuddy