Alumni-founded company StudentCrowd raises £2.55 million of funding

Pete Sisson and Paul Humphreys standing together smiling

Pete Sisson and Paul Humphreys

Paul Humphreys and Pete Sisson founded StudentCrowd with a vision to transform the way in which prospective university students choose where to study.

Now, nine years on from its inception, StudentCrowd has raised £2.55 million of funding from its Series A round led by PwC Raise Ventures and the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund (managed by Mercia Ventures).

This new investment will enable the Midlands-based company to expand its operations and cover a wider range of student decision-making areas, alongside enhancing data and related insights to the higher education sector.

The platform's initial launch was facilitated by private investments totalling over £600,000, last raising funds in 2019.

On the news of the latest investment, alumnus Paul Humphreys, CEO of StudentCrowd, said:

“Choosing a university is one of the biggest financial decisions that a young person can make. Our mission is to offer them the best quality information so they can make the best choices. Our reviews also provide valuable feedback to universities and accommodation providers, enabling them to further improve their services. This funding round will enable us to further enhance the platform and pursue our goal to become the Tripadvisor of higher education. We’re delighted to start this new season with Raphael on our board and Mercia/MEIF in our corner. We'll use the funds to further innovate our products and services as we build the world’s largest decision-making platform for students.”

About StudentCrowd

StudentCrowd produces league tables of UK higher education institutions that are based on student views alone. Reviews from current students provide those considering their options with in-depth information on accommodation, courses, and university life. Universities and accommodation providers can also interact with the reviews.

As well as verified reviews, StudentCrowd also collects data on student decision-making, providing insights and giving accommodation providers the ability to price according to supply and demand dynamics and make changes as necessary.

This approach improves student satisfaction rates, helping to create trust and transparency. In 2022, over 1.7 million students used StudentCrowd – of which around 30% were international.

A successful alumni duo

The business and its platform were established in 2014 by Paul Humphreys, a BSc Management Sciences alumnus (2010) and Pete Sisson, a BEng Engineering graduate (2001).

Paul is the Chief Executive Officer and Pete is the Chief Technology Officer at StudentCrowd.

Paul is also a member of the House of Lords-based Higher Education Commission, and co-founder Pete has 20 years’ experience developing software and leading teams as a systems architect.

The co-founders are also supported by Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Gabriel Behr, who brings 20 years of CFO experience, including time within the university accommodation space at UPP and Liberty Living.

Working with their dataset specialists, partnerships staff, customer support colleagues, development, and student community teams, alumni duo Paul and Pete are ready to get set on their journey towards making StudentCrowd even bigger and better.

We asked Paul what it means to him and to StudentCrowd to receive this funding:

“This a momentous milestone for everyone at StudentCrowd. Over the years, we’ve received plenty of plaudits from the Higher Education sector, but this is the first time that the business has been appraised by the investment community.

As we start this new phase of growth, our mission remains to help students to make the best decisions. With the new resources now at our disposal, we are making substantial long-term investments in enhancing our suite of decision-making tools, which are designed to make a profound difference in the lives of students.

On a personal note, I couldn't be more thrilled that this funding round allows us to bring more exceptionally talented individuals into the StudentCrowd team.

When asked about how this stemmed from his time as a student at Loughborough himself, Paul added:

“During my time at Loughborough University, I was fortunate to develop two passions that would ultimately shape the vision behind StudentCrowd.

The first of these passions was a deep appreciation for the power of data in making informed decisions. In today's world, data is the key to unlocking insights and driving progress, and it was this belief that fuelled our drive to create data-driven solutions for students.

My second passion was a strong desire to start a business that could genuinely make a positive impact on people's lives. The idea of leveraging technology to help students navigate the complexities of education and student life became a driving force behind the creation of StudentCrowd.

I am profoundly grateful for the support and inspiration I received during my time at Loughborough University. In particular, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to four remarkable individuals who played pivotal roles: Dave Coates, Graeme Boocock, Julie Holland, and Amanda Berry. Your mentorship, guidance, and dedication to education left an indelible mark on my life as I’m sure it did with countless others.

Many congratulations to StudentCrowd on this achievement.