, Singapore

Meet the guys behind education tech startup Cialfo

They aim to help 1m students through their platform by 2020.

When the time comes for students to get into university, sometimes the application process can seem daunting or just downright confusing, with all of the forms that one needs to submit and the deadlines that need to be met. But there's a start-up that aims to help students with exactly those concerns, and help them get into their dream schools.

Founded in Singapore in 2012, Cialfo is an education technology company. It’s a B2B web and mobile platform for education institutions and consultancies.

Cialfo is on a mission to help one million students get into their dream universities by making university applications simple, efficient, and accessible to every student. It offers its platform to partners across Asia to streamline their university admission process and enhance their online-to-offline strategy by enabling efficient communication, task management; and a proprietary college shortlisting algorithm.

The educational technology startup was founded by Rohan Pasari and Stanley Chia. Pasari is the CEO of Cialfo, while Chia is the COO.

"We began this journey with Cialfo as both of us had experienced the challenges of getting into best colleges and we were inspired to improve on the college application process for students," says Pasari. "We are on a mission to democratise education globally and help 1 million students through our platform by 2020."

Throughout the growth of the company, the duo has faced challenges along the way. These include, they say, talent acquisition and retention, building a company culture where people can thrive and achieve their best work, fundraising from imminent industry leaders, and expanding to countries like China, which are significantly different from Singapore, have been some of the challenges in the growing company that they have hurdled.

In terms of job growth, the company started from just the pair to 23 at present. "We are expanding operations in the region to establish a greater presence in countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam," says Chia. "Since 2012, we have sharpened our business-to-business focus to reach even more students by working with strategic partners across China, India, Mongolia, Singapore, Thailand and the UAE."

The two share the achievements that have helped shape them. Pasari says that it has to do with "People-building and creating a culture from scratch that attracts the best global talent. Giving them a platform to produce their best work is crucial."

Chia, meanwhile, shares that the achievements he is most proud of include co-founding two companies (excluding subsidiaries), voluntarily mentoring more than 10 enterprises either personally or as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at NgeeAnn Polytechnic's startup incubator, and founding or mentoring 12 social enterprise initiatives.

"Entrepreneurship is not a career choice, it is a lifestyle choice, or more loftily phrased, a decision to take-charge of your own life and the opportunity to make a difference in the life of others," the pair says.

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