The Keystone Education Group (“Keystone”), a Viking Venture portfolio company, has announced the acquisition of UniQuest, a UK-based student engagement, conversion, and retention service.
– Combining UniQuest’s operations with Keystone’s recruitment services will enable us to offer extremely robust student recruitment, enrollment, and retention services to our 5 500 customer base, across our key geographic markets, including the US, the UK, and continental Europe, said Erik Harrell, Keystone’s CEO.
– With the acquisition of UniQuest, we will be able to help our customers face their enrollment challenges head-on and gain an edge over their competition with the help of our end-to-end global student recruitment, enrollment, and retention services, Harrell said.
– We are committed to serving as a strategic partner for our customers, acting more as an extension of their own recruitment and admissions teams than the traditional agency or third-party vendor models. For students, our extensive counseling services will ensure their journey to the classroom is as painless and informed as possible, helping them every step along the way.
– This is a game-changer in the student counseling and recruitment space, presenting a unique opportunity for Keystone to disrupt and innovate the existing traditional counseling and agency model that has prevailed for years, he said.
– We will also be able to harness our combined data and insights from over millions of students every year to provide enhanced predictive modeling and forecasting to our customer base, making improvements along the entire recruitment value chain.
The deal comes at a time when institutions are facing growing enrollment challenges, from the impact of falling US domestic enrollments on US universities to the impact of Brexit on EU student applications to UK universities, all amidst a backdrop of ever-increasing global competition for student enrollments.
Founded in 2013, UniQuest is led by co-founder & Chair Natalie Letcher and co-founder and CEO Rachel Fletcher, who will continue to oversee daily operations alongside Keystone’s executive leadership team.
– With so much noise in the higher education sector for our university colleagues to deal with, not to mention growing student demand and increased student expectations, we provide confidence to our partners in what they’re doing despite all this change. We bring our focused and deep expertise in student engagement to Keystone. Combined with their impressive global footprint and student reach, together we will be able to help more universities around the world reach their student recruitment goals, delivering unparalleled student support, said Rachel Fletcher, CEO of UniQuest.
– The combination of our business with Keystone will help accelerate our ability to innovate and adapt to changing market conditions. Together, we are even more well-positioned to help institutions remain competitive by enabling them to provide best-in-class, flexible support to prospective and current students, Fletcher said.
– We are happy to welcome Uniquest to Keystone and the Viking Venture family. This is another important step for Keystone to strengthen the mission of matching students with higher ed institutions and Keystone’s international foothold, says Jostein Vik, Partner at Viking Venture
Over the past year, Keystone has evolved from solely a lead generation platform into a complete end-to-end lead-to-enrollment generation platform. Moreover, during 2021, Keystone has extended its lead generation capabilities into domestic student recruitment to complement its core global study abroad strengths – with particular domestic recruitment strength in the UK, the Nordics, France, and Germany.
The deal is the latest acquisition amid a flurry of organizational growth for the Group in 2021, after Keystone’s recent merger with EMG and acquisitions of FindAUniversity, College Scholarships USA (CSUSA), and AGM Education.
About Keystone Education Group
Keystone is trusted by more than 110 million unique prospective students every year to help students and learners make one of the most important decisions of their lifetimes, namely, which higher education degree program or course to attend.
In turn, Keystone helps over 5 500 education institutions reach, recruit, and enroll prospective students in more than 190 countries, across 460 student websites, including Masterstudies.com, Bachelorstudies.com, Educations.com, Studentum.se, and FindAMasters. Keystone also operates a range of other global student recruitment services, including Blueberry.nu, Keystone Sports and Keystone Recruit.
Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Keystone is backed by Viking Venture and Verdane, two leading Nordic venture firms. With offices across the Nordics, Germany, and the UK, Keystone has an international staff of more than 450 employees.
UniQuest was established in 2013 and specializes in improving student conversion and retention – setting the standard in student engagement. To date, UniQuest has engaged 1.2 million students and managed over 20 million student communications resulting in 80,000 enrolments on behalf of higher education institutions across the UK and US. Knowing that student success is driven by personal interactions supported by technology, UniQuest brings together the expertise, the right people, and the technology to strategically engage every student from first inquiry to enrolment and on to graduation. UniQuest works in close partnership with universities to achieve this, acting as an extension of their teams to produce outstanding recruitment and retention results together.