The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is proud to announce our support for RaiseMe, whose college readiness software platform is making higher education more accessible by empowering students to pursue their own path to college and beyond. CZI joins Teamworthy Ventures and impact venture funds Salesforce Ventures and Strada Education Network in the $15M Series B funding round.
RaiseMe’s platform, which launched nationally in the fall of 2014, helps college-bound students gain earlier access and transparency to institutional scholarships before applying for admission to college. Using the platform, students can accrue incremental, performance-based “micro-scholarships” from specific colleges starting as early as ninth grade for achieving certain college readiness milestones, like getting good grades, taking on leadership roles, or working to support their families. That money, traditionally only awarded to students at the end of their college admissions journey, represents a minimum guarantee of what a student will receive from an institution upon matriculation.
The company’s innovative model is grounded in decades of research demonstrating the impact of increased transparency in financial aid and the power of shorter feedback loops in improving student outcomes. RaiseMe leverages behavioral science principles to translate the often far-off, nebulous goal of attending college to immediate, tangible rewards, providing students with motivation as well as a clear path to college. Meanwhile, students can begin to engage with colleges on RaiseMe as early as 9th grade, which often leads to more successful recruitment and retention for those institutions.
“Four years ago, we set out on an ambitious path to create a more transparent and empowering way for students to achieve their college and career goals,” said Preston Silverman, CEO and Co-Founder of RaiseMe. “We could not be more thrilled to welcome this group of experienced and dedicated impact investors as we grow our community of students and colleges.”
“RaiseMe uses a creative solution to open doors of college opportunity, especially for students who are often overlooked,” said Vivian Wu, Managing Partner, Ventures at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “We are proud to support their efforts to ensure students, starting in 9th grade, are better prepared applicants who have the financial resources to make college a reality.”
In the past year alone, RaiseMe has nearly doubled its student community to over 1.2 million users across two-thirds of U.S. high schools, and has awarded upwards of a cumulative $2.5 billion in college scholarships. RaiseMe has partnered with over 285 colleges and universities, including Arizona State University, University of Chicago, Northeastern University, University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Florida.
With CZI’s support, this spring, RaiseMe will introduce an expansion of its micro-scholarship platform specifically geared toward empowering students attending community colleges. The newly announced expansion, RaiseMe for Transfers, will support students looking to transfer to four-year institutions—many of whom are at a higher risk of dropping, or stopping, out—by providing college planning and readiness tools specifically geared for a non-traditional path to college.