Washington D.C.-based startup Localized, an edtech platform that connects top college/university students and alumni with employers and industry experts in emerging markets, has raised $1.2 million in a seed round led by investment firms Bisk Ventures and Next Wave Impact.
A choir of angel investors including Esther Dyson, Jim Hornthal, Jacob Hsu and Sara Sutton also participated in the funding round.
Founded in 2017 by Ronit Avni, Localized aims to bring the benefits of alumni and career networks to institutions across the world. It unlocks educated talents for global companies by connecting students and alumni, schools and companies. The company offers a mix of career advice and matchmaking tools that connect students with alumni and employers in their local communities and abroad.
Localized helps students get industry insights from top professionals and find great jobs; facilitates employers recruit from schools without attending in-person career fairs; enables schools to engage students, manage alumni and prepare them for the future of work; and helps organizations to connect members and alumni with industry experts.
The company currently works with over 65 universities and campus career centers to provide students with access to working professionals from across the world. Localized’s platform has the look, feel and features of a professional social network. Users create profiles where they indicate their interests and experience, and can sign up to follow channels where peers and mentors share tips, resources and employment opportunities related to the channel topic.
Localized’s mentors hail from local businesses and international professional networks, including the Arab Bankers Association of North America and Techwadi, a non-profit that connects entrepreneurs in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the Silicon Valley. While the platform is currently open only to universities, students and mentors, the company said that the new funding will enable its efforts to bring companies onboard who will pay to access Localized’s network of students. The company also plans to expand its headcount from its current team.
Localized hopes to attract businesses that are expanding into MENA regions for the first time that have little to no experience with the local labor market. The company believes that companies flying in executives and delegations to establish liaisons with local university officials should not be necessary and can be done away with through its platform.
Localized is currently live in the Middle East and North Africa in more than 65 career centers, universities and student organizations in Arabic and English and they’re expanding to India this year.