Cialfo sells consulting business to Verlinvest-backed ChangedEDU

The business team of Cialfo.

Cialfo, a university guidance platform for education institutions, counsellors and students, has sold its consulting division to ChangedEDU, the education investment arm of Brussels-based family office Verlinvest SA. ChangedEDU is based in Singapore.

Following this acquisition, Cialfo’s counselling division will be merged with Collegewise, one the largest private college counselling organization in the United States, and a key education brand in the ChangedEDU portfolio.

This portal had recently quoted Nicholas Cator, executive director of Verlinvest Asia, as stating: “So we have done three deals in Education so far. Xseed was our first foray into education… Then we did ChangedEdu which is an education platform based in Singapore through which we intend to deploy between $200 million-$300 million over the next 3 to 4 years.

In an exchange with this portal, Rohan Pasari, co-founder and CEO of Cialfo, said: “We’re not at a liberty to disclose deal details as it’s a private transaction. But what we can say is that Cialfo has been seeing significant growth in the last five years, and the deal speaks to this growth around size, valuation, and most importantly, its strategic fit.”

In terms of how proceeds from the transaction will fund other elements of its growth, Pasari told DEALSTREETASIA: “Besides Collegewise becoming among our largest clients, it enables us to further enhance our tech through recruitment, development, and marketing.”

Founded in 2012 by Pasari and Stanley Chia in Singapore, Cialfo launched its technology platform as a B2B solution for education institutions and counsellors in 2016. It enables students to find admissions into their target colleges.

Pasari told this portal: “Over the last two years, Cialfo has increasingly been focusing on its technology platform. Our vision remains to help over a million students to find the dream college of their choice – by focusing on a tech platform we’re able to accelerate our scale and growth to achieve this vision. We are better positioned to continue to build our tech platform and scale the operations in key regions – India, China, US.”

“We’ve always had a high-performing team of admissions counsellors based in Singapore. This will be wholly absorbed by ChangedEdu under its Collegewise brand. It brings a lot of pride for our homegrown team to catch the attention of America’s largest college admissions brand, and to now be a part of the Collegewise family. Collegewise will also bring thousands of students to Cialfo’s tech platform.”

Over 2017, Cialfo has entered strategic partnerships with various players across the US, India and Singapore. In the US it has partnered Houston-based Brightfutures LLC, a college counselling company which has migrated students onto Cialfo’s tech platform around their college admissions process.

In India, Cialfo has inked strategic partnerships with Red Pen and The Edge, major admissions counsellors, as well as with elite boarding school Mayo College and the Global Indian International School in Singapore.

Since then, its technology and partner-led expansion significantly increased Cialfo’s footprint and seen it grow its business presence into markets such as the USA, China, India, Thailand, Vietnam and the Middle East.

ChangedEdu was founded by Brian Rogove who until 2016 was the CEO of Asia-Pacific for Cognita Group of Schools. Verlinvest first invested in ChangedEdu in 2016. Now, the platform has key areas of focus — English learning, K-12 education and enrichment education.

ChangedEDU acquired Collegewise, the largest private college counselling organization globally earlier in 2017.

Collegewise looks to continue its success with students from Singapore seeking college admissions globally, having successfully migrated all Cialfo’s counsellors under its brand.

With the growth of Asia’s education industry, driven by surging demand from parents, students and institutions for a high-quality international education, the acquisition will see ChangedEDU, through its counselling brand Collegewise, wholly absorb the Cialfo consulting team.

It also plans to leverage Cialfo’s technology platform, which Pasari claimed to have had a record year in terms of “surging global uptake”, with the company planning to enter into a strategic partnership with Collegwise.

“Cialfo is even better positioned to focus on its technology platform which is its core strength. Collegewise has been a key partner of Cialfo, a relationship we are pleased to continue as they become one of the largest customers by bringing several thousand students onto Cialfo’s platform,” he added.

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