Abroad101 Aims to Be TripAdvisor for Study Abroad, Seeks Series A
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give the abroad programs ratings in certain categories—like academic rigor, safety, or food—and also posts written reviews from students who have previously participated in the program, Stone says. The profile and search system is particularly helpful for students in certain majors like engineering, where squeezing in a semester off campus can be hard to fit in with the classes needed to graduate.
“It not only increases the number of students studying abroad but it ensures that they select the best program for their needs,” Stone says.
The Abroad101 system is designed to help schools with vast study abroad programs and loads of data, as well as community colleges who are just starting to tap into that as an option for their students and need to access information at other universities.
The evaluation tool is still entirely free for universities to use and give out to their students. Abroad101 generates its revenue with advertising content from the universities that students will ultimately be studying at abroad. These featured profiles and banners are clearly marked as ads, though, and do not impact what programs are rated as best matches for students, Stone says.
Abroad101 has nabbed about $750,000 so far in funding from friends, family, angel investors, and MassChallenge, and is a month into raising its Series A round, Stone says. The company also has the co-founders of TripAdvisor as advisors. “The experts when it comes to online reviews are right in our neighborhood,” Stone says.
Abroad101 is continuing to enlist more schools, but the review database and matchmaking model ultimately extends beyond semester abroad programs. Universities also organize opportunities enabling students to intern, volunteer, or work abroad after graduation—areas that Abroad101 hopes to extend to.