A cross-platform higher education comparison service that helps universities and students connect.
- Chelmsford, United Kingdom
Categories: Advertising & Marketing Digital Mixed B2B/B2C
- Social Media
- Company number
- Incorporation date
- 18 Jun 2012
- Investment sought:
- Equity offered:
University Compare displays university statistics, student reviews and personalised choices to help students decide which course to choose when applying to university. Our service helps sixth-formers make a better-informed decision through a suite of tools before entering into Higher Education.
We work with many universities, ranging from Russell Group (top 15 universities) to University Alliance (universities typically ranked 50+).
We are comfortably generating a six-figure incoming revenue. We aim to be cash flow positive in the next 6 months.
We will shortly release our brand new app: https://universitycompare.com/download/app/
Many students today are unsure of the benefits of applying to university and are not aware of the opportunities available for them. Many students have consistently struggled to find external support outside of their school, and University Compare addresses this problem.
The government's Browne review considered the balance of contributions to universities by taxpayers, students, graduates, and employers, with the result being that student fees should be increased to £9k per annum (+/- U.K. inflation rate), and government contributions direct to universities have reduced dramatically.
Universities are now under greater financial pressure to fill places to cover their costs, and this is creating a more competitive marketplace.
We're able to offer a realistic perspective on the university experience. University Compare specialises in gaining reviews from former and current students who share their experiences online; they give a great insight into university life, similar to the reviews on TripAdvisor.
Substantial accomplishments to date
- University sales committed to the site
- Teacher interest grows to 6,500+ subscribers
- Focus groups held in multiple schools
- Best Newcomer 2014 by Education Investor
- Higher Education sales and site traffic double since 2014
- Disruptive technology; Clearing App introduced on App stores
- Major press; including Sky News & BBC broadcasts University Compare
- Site traffic double from 2015
- 25% of the Clearing market use our app to search for a Clearing Course
- Our service reaches 26M UK App store impressions
- Users grow to over 36,000 by December 2016
- Increased site rank, with an est 60% increase in referring domains
- Featured in; Metro, Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post and more
- Traffic increases to 100,000+ hits in July, October, and November
- Social following increases from 2,227 (Nov 2016) to 193,146 (Dec 2017) (Student Feed UK Facebook page added)
- Surpassed our revenue target by 132%
- Custom technological infrastructure built for uni budgets
- Custom user data-tracking allowing in-depth student insights
- Head of Apple App Store UK meets Owen O'Neill to discuss App
- Working with Apple for their feedback to help design an outstanding product that helps students
- Increased site rank (SEO) to 1.5M
Current revenue streams:
- Annual Subscription (featured university listing) for universities.
- Annual Subscription (featured course listing) for universities.
- Social advertising for universities/companies.
- Email advertising campaigns for universities/companies.
- Cost per referral in Clearing, £50 per connected lead.
- Data CPA's for student-related companies, i.e. marketing to our users to encourage registrations elsewhere.
Additional revenue streams we plan to implement in 2018:
- University open day bookings £50 per connection.
- App-based marketing, features and referrals, custom quotes.
- European agency recruitment, helping EU students into UK universities
We have hit our previously projected revenue targets outlined in our previous funding round held by Seedrs, showcasing realistic and scalable targets. We moved sales resources to focus on user growth in 2017, growing to 75,000 registered users, instead of our forecasted 16,000 total users. We see growing the user base and increasing customer engagement as a stronger long-term strategy to increase our market share.
Use of proceeds
The company has stayed extremely lean over the past 12 months, our average monthly cost at £15,750 PCM. This includes 4 full-time staff, consultants/freelancers, product development and a marketing/advertising budget. The company has no outstanding debts/loans.
Estimated costs for year 1:
£113,000 Salaries (Incl. NI/Tax).
£40,500 Product development.
£378,050 = Total spend
Estimated costs for year 2:
£203,000 Salaries (Incl. NI/Tax).
£53,625 Product development.
£453,375 = Total spend
Note: The marketing budgets supplied above are a maximum spend and will scale proportionately to the sales generated.
Upon reaching our goal, within 2 years we can continue to build the core business, continuing our successful entry into the UK undergraduate market along with a small EU market share; students looking to study outside of the UK.
Any additional employees will be placed predominately into sale-based roles and any changes in salary will be performance based only.
We are a B2C service that sells B2B products. Targeting prospective students between the ages of 16-24, who are looking to study in Higher Education.
We aim to reach 150,000 registered students in 2018 (100% increased from today), and when we achieve this, we will begin extending our target market to postgraduate study adding an additional revenue stream, allowing a strong entry-to-market from the students who have used our services in the past (2015-2017) and will now, be graduating.
We own other domains, including studyphd.com, whatcourse.net which could both offer unique services should we consider an alternative media outlet other than universitycompare.com.
University Compare has collected 185+ Trust Pilot with an average rating of 9.5/10, and some of our past users have expressed their gratitude:
" Such a great tool for helping people find out exactly what they need from a company!! Reviews are so specific, and I've saved so much money and time as a result! It's like TripAdvisor but for unis! "
- Danny Hutcheson.
Characteristics of target market
As our market matures, so should we and it's important that we follow the research data that we collect because as we sign up more students, we naturally have an entry-to-market into graduate recruitment.
University Compare aims to collect more than 1m+ data records of students by January 2019. We’ll know; graduation years, course interests, email, mobile, etc. of each user and will be able to directly offer jobs that would interest them at the opportune time, generating a higher conversion.
A portion of this market will move into postgraduate study. Students are increasingly taking on postgraduate degrees at University, a rise from 22% from 2015/16 to 2016/17. Uni Compare has the client relationships in place and will be able to generate further sales in this market with existing universities.
The management team is strategically placed via existing investors to make this opportunity a smooth transition and also open up a series of revenue streams through the characteristics of this target market.
University Compare looks to entice users to make a university-application decision when using our service using the tools that we provide to offer a more in-depth view for students.
Many of these students use our service to view more than 10 opportunities throughout the 12-16 week period as they search, compare and save their opportunities.
1 in 3 of our users calls a university to connect throughout Clearing, which is chargeable to the university at a base referral price of £50, resulting in 121x return our acquisition investment.
Our competitors sell advertising space that does not allow institutes to directly engage with high-value prospects. University Compare is in a position to offer either solution, should they wish to stick to their current advertising campaigns.
We have identified our competitors in our Investment Deck and have provided side-by-side comparisons on URL Strength, Domain Rating, and an overall SEO rank. We run a competitor analysis every week and keep a regular tab on our competitors so we're able to stay well-informed of any changes that may introduce.
To our knowledge, we are the only service that offers an app-based model and are the leading provider in this area with 22% of the addressable market using our service in 2016, and 30% in 2017. Not only are we first to market, but we also have an innovative, refined service that is set for mass scalability.
We identify our key competitors as; Whatuni.com, Studenthut.com, Applytouni.com and comparetheuni.com.