Portland, Oregon-based Verto Education, a company that offers freshman year study abroad programs, has raised $6.3 million in a seed round funding to revolutionize higher education experience and improve its offerings.
The investors who participated in the round include First Round Capital, GSV Ventures, 10xImpact, Box Group and strategic investors.
Founded in 2018 by a group of experienced entrepreneurs with a shared passion for education and travel, Verto is reimagining the four-year college degree by uniquely offering freshman year study abroad programs, getting students out of the classroom and into the world for once in a lifetime educational and cultural experience without disturbing their studies. The company is on a mission to make higher education accessible, affordable, and achievable for all by providing an innovative, enriched ways for students to incorporate travel and learning into their four-year college degree.
Verto aims to positively impact student outcomes, including four-year graduation rates, while also developing student character, resilience, and emotional maturity. By providing a program that helps students identify purpose and direction for themselves, the company empowers students as they choose and enter college. Verto is the only international freshman year experience that partners with colleges to give full class credits so students can graduate in four years. The company claims hundreds of students have already graduated or applied to Verto and are currently pursuing degrees at 27 partner colleges.
Speaking about the company and its work, Mitch Gordon, Co-Founder and CEO, Verto Education, said,
“We believe strongly that we need a fresh approach to college and that the current model prioritizes wealthy students and has artificial barriers. Through our innovative approach to a freshman year at college, we help our students mature, build emotional awareness, empathy, learn, and gain admission to a great four-year college. This is transformative not only for their college experience, but for the rest of their lives.”
Verto’s programs are designed to foster self-discovery through education both in and out of the classroom. Its semester components include service learning, homestays, and a life skills curriculum that helps accelerate students’ growth to be able to flourish on a college campus. Students who are accepted by Verto are guaranteed acceptance into one of Verto’s 27 partner colleges. Students can apply to the Verto program and partner colleges and universities simultaneously through a single common application.
Expressing its excitement to be part of Verto’s growth, Phineas Barnes, Partner at First Round Capital, said,
“We have been blown away by the Verto team’s passion and commitment to revolutionizing how higher education can be experienced. Higher education has needed a new, innovative approach for a long time, and we are thrilled to be part of accelerating Verto’s growth.”
Deborah Quazzo, Managing Partner at GSV Ventures, also expressed its appreciation for Verto saying,
“Verto brings much needed innovation to the higher education system. Their model delivers a high return on education by lowering costs, and increasing access while enhancing learning outcomes and experiences for incoming freshman college students.”
Built on the foundation of three principles – Inclusion, Affordability, and Enrichment – Verto provides students of all different types of backgrounds, income levels, and academic performance with an innovative path towards higher education. It gives students the opportunity to see and explore new countries while graduating in four years at the same cost, and helps them gain a fresh perspective on the world and themselves.
Meanwhile, the company said that the new funds will be used to support growth of new programs/locations, fund scholarships, and develop life skills programs.