SchooLinks startup lands $8.3m Series A for college, career success for diverse student population

SchooLinks startup lands $8.3m Series A for college, career success for diverse student population

Published: 18-03-2021 12:49:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 888 | Tags:

SchooLinks, an Austin, TX startup founded by Forbes 30 under 30 entrepreneur Katie Fang to democratize access to modern career and college planning resources for the broader student population, raised an $8.3m Series A funding. 

The round was led by LiveOak Venture Partners, with participation from SJF Ventures & Juvo Ventures.  As part of the funding, Krishna Srinivasan, Founding Partner at LiveOak Venture Partners, will join the board of directors. The capital will be used towards expanding the team, product development and integrations, and building out new partnerships for future growth.

School districts are faced with the challenge of serving a student base with an increasingly diverse set of needs, and with such a large percentage of careers filled by non 4 year degree employees, there is an amplified focus for counselors to ensure students graduate not only college ready, but career ready as well. In addition to providing an engaging student-centric platform for those college bound, SchooLinks also provides a comprehensive career interest and preparedness platform inclusive of those who are traditionally underserved. Their platform solves the demanding legislative-driven need for districts to track various success metrics, while also engaging students, their families, and leveling the playing field for the entire population.

Katie Fang, Founder and CEO, SchooLinks: "Changing legislation at state level and evolving market conditions are putting a spotlight on the school districts' ability to set their students up for success in the job market regardless of whether they attend a 4 year college or not."

Founded in 2015, SchooLinks has made tremendous strides with helping districts drive post-secondary success through improving graduation rates, FAFSA completion, student engagement with post-secondary plans and more. These are achieved through over 80 experiences built for students, counselors and families beginning in 6th grade. Students explore their interests through fun and engaging assessments, explore college and career options, job and internship opportunities, learn about financial literacy through a gamified lesson, scholarship application and videos and more. With a modern product that has been architected and customized to the precise needs of administrators, teachers and students, it has led to student engagement at unprecedented levels compared to other products in this space.

SchooLinks is growing rapidly, serving customers nationwide with prominent school districts across the country including Dallas ISD, Greenville County Schools, and San Antonio ISD. One reason for the growth is the student centric nature of the platform. "SchooLinks is honestly the future of college and career planning: seamless, intuitive, integrated, and interoperable by various stakeholders. In less than a year, this tool is finally moving us out of using bulky spreadsheets and into data analytics that goes from aggregate data to student lists with just a few clicks." said Dr. Eduardo Sesatty, Director of Postsecondary Initiatives at San Antonio Independent School District.

SchooLinks not only caters to diversity, they proudly represent it as an organization. Katie Fang is a minority, female founder who dealt with this struggle firsthand when she was using the legacy platforms herself in high school. Additionally, this investment round is led entirely by minority investment professionals.  

Krishna Srinivasan, Founding Partner, LiveOak Venture Partners: "At LiveOak we look to invest in visionary entrepreneurs that are leading companies to become category leaders by building and deploying magical software and solutions. We have known Katie for many years and have been incredibly impressed with her leadership, drive, and hustle in leading SchooLinks. Within a short period of time, the company has managed to demonstrate growth and customer success in the same league as best in class enterprise software companies, which is a testament to the powerful impact they are having on students and schools across the country.  We are excited to partner with the company through the next phase of growth."

Arrun Kapoor, Managing Director, SJF Ventures: "Workforce development is a huge priority for the country, and ensuring students are properly prepared for college and careers when they graduate is a key element of that equation. As evident with federal and state mandates, this preparation cannot start at the collegiate level and includes many factors that current solutions in the market are dramatically ill-equipped to solve. At SJF, workforce development has been a focus since our founding 22 years ago, and from our extensive survey of this category, we developed the conviction that SchooLinks has the potential to revolutionize how talent and skills are being prepared in K12. We're excited to back SchooLinks and its founder to bring the most innovative college and career readiness solution to K12 and modernize the space."

Additionally, as part of the funding round, LiveOak's Mason Rathe will be joining as VP of Finance and Operations. "As an investor, I spend my days with hundreds of founders a year, and rarely am I this energized by a CEO. I have such strong conviction in the team and market opportunity that I decided to leave my career as a venture capitalist to join the leadership team here," he says.