Skip Navigation or Skip to Content
×

ETS Announces Acquisition of Gradschoolmatch.com

Acquisition of the online portal for prospective graduate students provides an even stronger value to students and graduate institutions

PRINCETON, N.J. (Sept. 16, 2020) — ETS announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Gradschoolmatch.com, an online portal focused on assisting prospective graduate students during their graduate school search with the goal of matching the prospective student with the right graduate program. The platform was first launched in early 2013 by Emory University Professor T.J. Murphy with his graduate student and co-founder Brian Clark.

This service empowers students to research and make better decisions regarding graduate education, utilizing data-driven algorithms and institutional data. The match-algorithms, search-engine and business approach are modelled after successful “personal dating” web-driven businesses. Students provide their profile with such information as geography, exam scores, degrees and GPA, academic plans, and work experience during the registration process. Based on these criteria, the website indicates programs of interest and matches students with potential graduate programs.

“The acquisition of Gradschoolmatch is part of an ongoing initiative within ETS to expand upon our digital assets. Utilizing graduate student data within ETS, we believe we can provide more insights and value to the student life cycle journey while providing graduate institutions more data-driven solutions for their recruiting efforts. We believe that ETS’s scale can help further the growth and reach of Gradschoolmatch,” said Alberto Acereda, Executive Director of Higher Education, ETS.

“Gradschoolmatch has always been mission focused with the goal of putting people first by providing guidance to both students and institutions. The combination of ETS and Gradschoolmatch will continue along in this mission and provide even stronger value to students and graduate institutions alike,” added Murphy, Founder and CEO of Gradschoolmatch.

“The acquisition of Gradschoolmatch is part of the core growth strategy within ETS higher education and is part of the diversification strategy currently underway,” said Ralph Taylor-Smith, Managing Director of ETS Strategic Capital, who executed the M&A transaction. “The newly formed ETS Strategic Capital is actively exploring global business diversification in learning, assessment and education-related technologies on behalf of ETS and its corporate subsidiaries, through Private Equity Investments, Growth Partnerships, Mergers and Acquisitions.”

About Gradschoolmatch

Gradschoolmatch.com connects prospective graduate students with individual graduate school programs. Prospective students use Gradschoolmatch to easily find advanced degree programs. Graduate program directors and recruiters are matched to, or can search for, students with precisely the credentials they are looking for and have thoughtful conversations through the website to answer questions potential students may have.

About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. 

www.ets.org

ETS Strategic Capital Secures Acquisition of Pipplet

Acquisition of the language assessment company strengthens ETS’s position in corporate learning and digital-skills testing

PRINCETON, N.J. (Sept. 16, 2020) — ETS Strategic Capital, a new unit of education nonprofit ETS created to grow its business and advance its mission, today announced the acquisition of Pipplet by the ETS Global B.V. A Paris, France-based start-up, Pipplet specializes in language assessment for corporations and its evaluations are used for language audits and skills certification in employee recruitment and internal mobility.

Through digital distribution and integration with widely used HR software, Pipplet has acquired a key position in the recruitment process, especially in sectors where multilingualism and oral skills are important, such as customer service. Since 2015, Pipplet has allowed recruiters from all over the world to verify candidates’ abilities to work in a foreign language. More than 30,000 candidates have been tested in 28 different languages, from English to Vietnamese, speeding up the recruitment process for hundreds of companies, from fast-growing start-ups to large consulting groups.

Pipplet builds on ETS’s existing language assessment offerings, including TOEIC® and TOEFL® tests, which now provide digital and face-to-face testing for corporate professionals, academics and individuals worldwide. Post-acquisition, Pipplet will become a business unit of ETS subsidiary Global B.V., based in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

“This cross-border acquisition of Pipplet will help expand ETS’s global presence and is part of our core growth strategy in corporate language learning and assessment services,” said Ralph Taylor-Smith, Managing Director of ETS Strategic Capital. “The international recognition and robustness of our existing TOEIC tests for the corporate market, combined with Pipplet’s digital innovations and online SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) business model for corporate clients, will enable us to help companies globally meet the current challenges in assessing language skills, which require accurate results, consistency and accessibility at all times.”

“Pipplet has successfully built an international business meeting the language assessment needs of corporate customers around the world. As part of ETS Global B.V., we will be even better positioned to maintain and expand our network of relationships with leading companies that depend on language skills to support their business success,” added Baptiste Derongs, one of Pipplet’s co-founders.

ETS Strategic Capital’s mandate is to broaden, expand and diversify ETS’s offering in assessment, learning and development for K–12, higher education, and corporations. It is actively seeking transactions to establish a global portfolio of innovative education companies that will have a positive financial and strategic impact by bringing technology, new business models and/or geographic coverage that complement and build out ETS’s current business areas. Pipplet is one of ETS Strategic Capital’s first five portfolio companies.

About ETS and ETS Global

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, and the GRE® tests — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. 

www.ets.org

At ETS Global B.V., we bring expertise to educational and business communities around the world, including companies, language schools, academic institutions and public service organisations. ETS Global serve 80 countries across Europe, South America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. We offer a range of ETS products, services and learning solutions, including English-language assessments, standardized assessments, training and consulting. 

www.etsglobal.org

About the TOEIC Tests

With more than 40 years as an industry leader, the TOEIC programme has set the standard for assessing English-language communication skills needed in the workplace. The TOEIC tests are the most widely used around the world. Over 14 000 organisations across more than 160 countries, trust TOEIC scores to inform the decisions that matter. The TOEIC assessment portfolio measures all 4 language skills for a comprehensive understanding of English-language proficiency. Accurate, reliable and comparable scores can help organisations evaluate individuals with the English-language skills needed to succeed in the global workplace. Learn more about the TOEIC tests and other services provided by the TOEIC Programme.

Contact: Annabelle Junillon, Associate Director of Marketing EMEA, ajunillon@etsglobal.org

About Pipplet

Founded in 2015, Pipplet offers an innovative approach to language assessment. Based on real-life scenarios that ask candidates to express themselves orally and in writing, the Pipplet assessment makes it possible to identify all of a person’s language skills in 30 minutes, without an appointment. Its fully online, multilingual model is preferred by international recruiters who need to select candidates who can work immediately in a given language. More than 400 companies worldwide use Pipplet.

The Pipplet management team will remain in place to ensure the development of their product within ETS Global.

ETS Launches New Arm for Global Edtech Investments and Acquisitions

Over the past decade, the world’s largest educational assessment nonprofit has been testing the waters of education technology investments. Now, it is taking the plunge.

Download Article

Study Abroad EdTech Company ApplyBoard Raises $55 Million Series C Extension

Iranian brothers Massi, Meti and Martin Basiri had such difficulty applying to study in Canada, they quit their jobs in 2015 to build the Common Application equivalent for international students. Now their Waterloo, Ontario-based company ApplyBoard is the world’s largest digital hub for international student recruitment—having helped 120,000 students identify and apply for 1,200-plus schools abroad. Today the company announced $55 million in Series C extension funding from Educational Testing Service, Index Ventures, Blue Cloud Ventures and Harmonic Growth Partners at a $1.4 billion valuation.

Download Article

ETS Creates ETS Strategic Capital to Tap into New Growth Opportunities in Education

The new ETS unit will pursue strategic equity investments, growth partnerships, and mergers and acquisitions

PRINCETON, N.J. (Sept. 16, 2020) — ETS, the world’s largest nonprofit educational assessment and measurement organization, today announced the creation of ETS Strategic Capital, a new unit that will focus on growing the business and advancing its mission through strategic equity investments, growth partnerships, and mergers and acquisitions.

ETS Strategic Capital will broaden, expand and diversify ETS’s offering in assessment, learning and development for K–12, higher education, and corporations. With this mandate, ETS Strategic Capital is actively seeking transactions to establish a global portfolio of innovative education companies that will have both a positive financial and strategic impact.

“We’ve reached a pivotal point in the ongoing evolution of education — there is a fundamental change in how educational services are delivered, how tools and assessments are structured, and how learners, schools, and companies are engaged and connected,” said Ralph Taylor-Smith, the Managing Director of ETS Strategic Capital. “With our funding, expertise and experience in education, ETS Strategic Capital is well positioned to help emerging education companies that are addressing these gaps grow and increase their impact, while tapping into new opportunities. ETS brings value-add capabilities in assessments, research and development, global distribution, and innovative technologies to our portfolio and partner companies.”

ETS Strategic Capital currently has a portfolio of five companies that bring technology, new business models and geographic coverage, and that complement and build out ETS’s current business areas:

  • ApplyBoard: Guided by ETS Strategic Capital, ETS made an equity investment in Canadian-based ApplyBoard Inc., the world’s largest platform for international student recruitment. As part of this investment, ApplyBoard and ETS’s TOEFL® business unit, which provides the world’s premier English-language test for university study, work and immigration, are also developing a strategic growth partnership. https://www.applyboard.com/
  • Pipplet: A start-up specializing in language assessment for businesses, Paris-based Pipplet helps companies assess job candidates’ language fluency based on their practical, real-world ability to interact in a professional context. ETS’s subsidiary, ETS Global B.V., acquired Pipplet S.A.S., guided by ETS Strategic Capital. https://www.pipplet.com/en-gb/home
  • Capti (by Charmtech Labs LLC): Through the use of machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural language processing, Buffalo, N.Y.-based Capti, created by Charmtech Labs LLC, provides personalized literacy and learning support to K–12 students. Capti – dubbed a “AAA” for teachers – helps teachers accommodate, assess and accelerate reading for all their students. ETS Strategic Capital arranged a seed investment from ETS in Capti and established a strategic business partnership with ETS Research & Development (R&D) and New Product Development (NPD). Capti is licensing ETS’s ReadReady™ intellectual property in internet-driven reading diagnostics, and will work closely with ETS’s R&D and NPD teams to expand opportunities to positively impact K–12 student reading success across the United States. https://www.captivoice.com/capti-site/
  • EdAgree: Focused on the international student experience, EdAgree, Inc. is a newly formed spin-out company from ETS that will match international students with universities and support those students throughout their education journey. EdAgree plans to validate student profile information, package it for streamlined processing by admissions departments, and collaborate with universities to identify and deliver support that will optimize learning outcomes. EdAgree also will collaborate with partner universities on research efforts to optimize student success. ETS Strategic Capital arranged $1 million of seed funding from ETS to incubate the new start-up company and facilitated the spinout from ETS. https://edagree.com/
  • Gradschoolmatch: Gradschoolmatch.com is an interactive internet-driven software platform that helps prospective graduate students match with potential graduate academic programs. The match-algorithm, search-engine and business-approach are modeled after successful “personal-dating” web-driven businesses; students can post biographies, research interests, career plans and academic profiles; they can also “bookmark” a graduate program profile to “signal their interest” in learning more or send “private messages” to graduate school recruiters. Both prospective graduate students and graduate institutions may subscribe, which allows them to search by location or academic interests, tracking prospects and making contact with simplified one-click interconnectivity for matching. ETS Strategic Capital arranged the purchase of the Gradschoolmatch.com platform, and it will be incorporated into ETS’s offerings to the graduate school market. https://www.gradschoolmatch.com/

ETS Strategic Capital will serve as the private equity investment and M&A execution arm for ETS, its subsidiaries and its partners. It will source transactions both within the domestic United States and internationally. It will partner with the broader EdTech ecosystem, to identify and execute deals, coordinate with other ETS business units to identify opportunities and needs, network with professional services firms with education expertise, and build direct relationships with businesses internationally — especially within Asia Pacific, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East & Africa (MENA) regions.

More specifically, ETS Strategic Capital will target private equity investments that are typically in Series B, C or later, where companies already have a proven product and/or market fit, initial customers, and developed business-model, and are seeking further new growth capital to scale the business; in select situations, earlier-stage investment may be possible. Acquisitions will primarily focus on middle-market scale deals, though smaller or larger acquisitions may also be possible in certain situations. ETS Strategic Capital defines growth partnerships broadly and they might involve joint ventures (JVs), channel-partner or distribution agreements, Intellectual Property (IP) licensing and technology-transfer relationships, along with similar strategic value-add business partnerships.

Ralph Taylor-Smith, currently the Vice President of Corporate Development at ETS, will become the Managing Director of the new unit, bringing a wealth of experience in private equity investing, M&A and growth partnerships and joint ventures. ETS Strategic Capital has a growing bicoastal team based in offices in Princeton, N.J., Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley, Calif. Read more about our team.

About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. 

www.ets.org

ApplyBoard Secures C$70M in Series C Funding Extension and Announces Partnership with ETS

Strategic partnership with TOEFL creator and additional funding will empower more students to access the best educational opportunities around the world


September 16, 2020 — ApplyBoard, the online platform that empowers students around the world to access the best education, today announced it has raised C$70M (US$55M) in Series C extension funding with participation from ETS, Index Ventures, Blue Cloud Ventures, Harmonic Growth Partners, and additional investors. Adding to the C$100M (US$72M) in Series C funding closed in March 2020, this extension brings ApplyBoard’s total Series C funding to
C$170M (US$130M).


The funding extension has also brought with it a new strategic partnership between ApplyBoard and ETS, the world’s largest non-profit education testing and assessment organization as well as the administrator of the TOEFL® English-language proficiency test and GRE® graduate admissions test. ETS’s equity investment in ApplyBoard was executed by ETS Strategic Capital, a new unit of ETS created to grow its business and advance its mission through strategic equity
investments, growth partnerships, and acquisitions.


Ralph Taylor-Smith, Managing Director of ETS Strategic Capital, said, “The equity investment in ApplyBoard reflects ETS’s strategy to embrace new technologies and strategic partnerships that help broaden the global reach in education—both in terms of student countries of origin as well as their destinations for studying. In partnering together with ApplyBoard, we look forward to leveraging ETS’s expertise in assessments to help them further scale their business, bolster their offering, and best serve international students and academic institutions in higher education.”


ETS and ApplyBoard will work together to provide prospective international students with an end-to-end application experience, from preparing and taking the TOEFL or GRE test to searching for, applying to, and commencing studies at one of ApplyBoard’s 1,200+ partner schools across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. “At ApplyBoard, we believe that education is a right, not a privilege,” explained Martin Basiri, Co-Founder and CEO of ApplyBoard. “United in our shared belief in the power of education to change the world, ApplyBoard and ETS will leverage this exciting new partnership to transform the entire application experience for prospective international students, breaking down barriers and empowering even more students to gain access to the very best educational opportunities available to them.”


“ApplyBoard is providing students with access to schools around the globe at the click of a button,” said Dino Becirovic, Principal at Index Ventures. “Between schools, programs, eligibility requirements, and other criteria, there are over 10 billion combinations that are considered for a single admissions decision today. ApplyBoard offers a unique platform that abstracts away this complexity and provides students with a seamless application and enrollment experience. We are excited to partner with the company to help students access the best possible educational
opportunities.”


ApplyBoard plans to use these funds to fuel its rapid growth by investing heavily in its proprietary technology, further developing its school and student services, expanding its destination markets, and serving a broader diversity of students and recruitment partners globally.


About ApplyBoard
ApplyBoard empowers students around the world to access the best education by simplifying the study abroad search, application, and acceptance process. By connecting international students, academic institutions, and recruitment partners on a single online platform, ApplyBoard drives qualified student applicants and diversity to over 1,200 campuses across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Founded in 2015, ApplyBoard has helped over 120,000 students along their educational journeys. The company is headquartered in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, with more than 500 staff members across 20 countries. To date, the company has raised C$242M (US$180M) in funding.

About Index Ventures
Index Ventures is a San Francisco- and London-based international venture capital firm that helps the most ambitious entrepreneurs turn bold ideas into global businesses. Index-backed companies that are reshaping the world around us include Farfetch, Figma, Robinhood, and Revolut. To learn more about Index, visit www.indexventures.com.

About ETS
At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually—including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments—in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.

www.ets.org

ETS Strategic Capital Arranges Seed Capital and Facilitates Strategic Business Partnership with Capti

ETS and Capti will partner to develop and bring to market personalized literacy and learning tools for K–12 students

PRINCETON, N.J. (Sept. 16, 2020) — ETS Strategic Capital, a new unit of education nonprofit ETS created to grow its business and advance its mission, today announced that it arranged seed capital and established a strategic business partnership between ETS and Capti. Based in Buffalo, N.Y., Capti provides a personalized literacy and learning platform that helps K–12 students improve their reading comprehension through machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural learning processes.

In 2019, Capti licensed ETS’s intellectual property in assessment, developing and integrating them with the existing tools in their Capti platform. There was solid market interest in this collaboration, which helped lead to the decision by ETS to provide seed capital and establish a strategic business partnership which was completed in July 2020 by ETS Strategic Capital.

ETS and Capti then launched the ReadReady™ assessment together in August 2020 to help identify areas where readers are struggling and provide teachers with detailed information to target these areas for intervention. Based on ETS’s research and experience in assessment, the ReadReady assessment looks at specific components, either individually or collectively, that can affect a student’s success in reading and provides a clearer, more comprehensive picture than other current assessments. Capti is the official distribution platform of this tool.

Commenting on the transaction, Ralph Taylor-Smith, Managing Director of ETS Strategic Capital, said, “ETS’s seed investment and strategic business partnership with Capti makes strong strategic and financial sense, advancing ETS Strategic Capital’s mandate. Capti complements and builds out ETS’s existing offering — it serves the large and growing K–12 market, leverages advanced innovative technologies, and takes on the core skill of reading comprehension in new and exciting ways. With our experience of successfully working with Capti in the past, we are confident in the ability to hit the ground running with them and create further value together for the benefit of students and teachers alike.”

Dr. Yevgen Borodin, CEO of Capti, added, “ETS’s expertise in assessments provided Capti with a critical component, helping us create a more comprehensive and complete solution. With the ReadReady assessment, Capti is now the ‘AAA’ for teachers, helping them assess, accommodate and accelerate reading. Importantly, we have an opportunity to make an immediate difference for millions of students nationwide in overcoming the COVID-19 slide in reading and addressing their new needs in remote and hybrid settings. We also see tremendous potential in the future once the country transitions back to more traditional school settings.”

Established in 2012 by Stony Brook University’s computer science professors and Ph.D. students to develop a novel assistive-learning technology, Capti has now a team of 20 developing universally accessible tools that help personalize students’ reading experience and make learning more interactive and productive. As part of the agreement, Taylor-Smith will join Capti’s Board and Capti will work closely with ETS’s Research & Development (R&D) and New Product Development (NPD) teams to expand future opportunities to positively impact K–12 student reading success across the United States.

ETS Strategic Capital’s mandate is to broaden, expand and diversify ETS’s offering in assessment, learning and development for K–12, higher education, and corporations. It is actively seeking transactions to establish a global portfolio of innovative education companies that will have a positive financial and strategic impact by bringing technology, new business models and/or geographic coverage that complement and build out ETS’s current business. Capti is one of ETS Strategic Capital’s first five portfolio companies.

About Capti

Capti, created by Charmtech Labs LLC, is used as a literacy tool and the assistive technology of choice in school districts, colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. Capti is ideal for students with and without disabilities who are learning in an online and hybrid settings. For its innovations in accessibility and education, Capti has been recognized with a number of awards, including those from the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation and Federal Communications Commission. For more information, visit www.captivoice.com.

About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. 

www.ets.org