Social networking firm secures £275,000 investment

Coursematch, a social network that helps young people discuss their university and career options, has raised £275,000 in a new funding round.

Led by the Development Bank of Wales, the round was made possible thanks to an introduction from Innovation Point’s Colin Batten. Shazam founder Dhiraj Mukherjee is among the company’s influential backers.

The firm will use the cash to develop its platform and set up an operation in Cardiff. It now has an office at co-working space Tramshed Tech, which is located in the city centre.

Founded in 2016 by edtech entreprenuer Chris Worsey and former parliamentary candidate Joe Perkins, the app is aimed at supporting “young people considering their next steps in life”.

With the platform, users can create profiles detailing their A Level subjects, predicted grades and extra-curricular interests. The app then matches them with a range of potential degree courses.

“I first looked at university courses in 2001. There wasn’t a platform that allowed me to consider multiple university courses in one place, access the information on course providers I needed, or even talk to other students outside of my social circle (this was pre-Facebook),” said Worsey.

 “There are more than 50,000 different undergraduate courses provided by almost 400 institutions in the UK.  In our initial market research, we found that students consider just seven courses on average before applying to universities, predominantly informed by the opinions of friends and family.

“It would take most people longer to decide on the right pair of jeans, and yet this is a decision that could cost upwards of £27,000 and change a young person’s life forever.”

Perkins said the app helps students make better decisions about their future. “It’s astounding to think that these important life decisions are being made based on such a lack of information,” he explained.

“Coursematch has provided the solution to that problem, enabling prospective students to flick through a broad range of courses and universities at the flick of a finger. Our users now consider an average of 220 courses and institutions before making their final decisions.

“When we started looking at plans for expansion, Colin and Innovation Point pointed to Cardiff as the top city for tech talent.  Leading universities are here and ready to do business.  There’s an emerging digital industry here, and we’re excited to play a part in that.”

So far, more than 14,000 people across the UK have downloaded the app, and it has 5,000 regularly active users. Dhiraj Mukherjee, who founded Shazam, commended the firm.

He said: “My focus is helping start-ups which create a positive impact on society, and I am fully supportive of Coursematch’s mission to help young people make better education and career choices.”

Colin Batten, head of partnerships at Innovation Point, added: “Let’s not allow innovation to become a cliché.  Chris and Joe spotted a problem, designed a unique digitalsolution, and generated an impressive investment.

“That’s innovation – signed, sealed, delivered. They will have no trouble exploiting this market from a bustling tech hub in Cardiff.

“We’ve already held talks with universities here that are keen to pilot the product. For Coursematch, the story has just started.  We’re ready to help shape it.”