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Startup Raises $7.65 Million to Translate the Value of College into Economic Opportunity

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Machine learning (suite of tools) detects the true potential for the labor market

AstrumU, a startup that uses machine learning to forecast the value of educational experiences in the labor market announced its $7.65 million in Series A funding led by Kingdom Capital. The raise along with the KC Rise Fund and City Light Capital brought the company’s total funding to $13.2 million.

Adam Wray, founder and CEO of AstrumU accounts that employers know the talent isn’t dictated by where one went to school, and pedigree isn’t a good proxy for potential. But they don’t always know where to find the skills they are looking for, excluding many qualified graduates as a result.

“This is about providing employers with trusted insights into who college graduates are in ways that go well beyond the college transcript or a resume. It’s about leveling the playing field by helping students — and colleges — translate their experience into an incredibly dynamic world of work.”

Skills over degrees

The White House has issued an executive order that would prioritize skills over degrees in federal hiring practices following the decision by a growing number of employees to eliminate college degree requirements or halt on-campus recruiting. However, in an account to that, a growing body of research suggests that liberal arts and other more traditional academic programs have significant, long term economic value in a future of work where skills like problem-solving and critical thinking are in-demand.

AstrumU’s platform ingests verified data directly from both — colleges and employers, to understand and predict how specific skills, courses, and even internships or extracurricular activities translate into career outcomes. By creating personalized “Learner Scores” for students, AstrumU can help to inform college coaching and advising efforts with an understanding of how course taking pathways, majors, and other choices affect a student’s return on educational investments.

No one-size-fits-all

A fixed room cannot fit heterogeneous nature. It can be seen liberal arts majors thriving in tech jobs and philosophy majors translating their skills into finance. AstrumU is enabling institutions to take the false dichotomy of skills vs. degrees head-on. Employers can utilize the platform to understand the academic backgrounds of top-performing employees, to identify high potential candidates regardless of where they went to school. It enables employers to broaden their search for talent. However, it may also shed light on the surprising ways that college prepares for the world of work, often through experiences that would never show up in a resume, transcript, or test scores.

Originally incubated at the University of Kansas, AstrumU’s suite of tools for learners, advisors, and is now being used by an initial cohort of colleges and universities across the country including the University of Kansas, the University of Washington, American University and [others].

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The Educational landscape is changing dynamically. The new generation of students thus faces the daunting task to choose an institution that would guide them towards a lucrative career.

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