Empowerly, an ed tech start-up that helps students applying for college, has raised $1.6 million from TransLink Capital, Scrum Ventures, Azure Capital Partners, and Spero Ventures, as well as angel investors Yun-Fang Juan, a founding engineer of Facebook Ads, and Russ Holdstein, the first investor in ticket exchange and resale company StubHub and real estate marketplace Zillow.

Empowerly stated it will use the funds to expand its service offerings and “round out the team to drive growth and operational efficiencies”.

San Francisco-based Empowerly says its platform, launched in 2018, provides personalised counsellors and mock admissions-committee reviews, opportunities to intern at Silicon Valley start-ups, and virtual extracurricular activities, to aid the college admission process.

The company also said its new Empowerly Score feature determines the impact of key factors included in an individual’s college application to assess the applicant’s competitiveness for top US colleges. Empowerly says the tool is the only such predictor that can also quantify subjective material such as student essays and extracurricular activities, so students have a holistic view of how best to set themselves apart from other applicants.

Empowerly’s chief executive Hanmei Wu said: “Getting into college keeps getting more and more challenging, and during the pandemic many test scores have been waived. That means for high school students, getting into the college of their choice is even harder and the application process is more difficult.

“Our new Empowerly Score provides students with actionable insights so they can make appropriate changes in real time to improve their chances of college admission. It can be a huge help to students.”

Date published: 8 October 2020

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