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Growing internationally with Cialfo

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How a Singapore edtech start-up is scaling to make education more accessible worldwide

Five-year-old Cialfo expanding in international markets

In just five years, Singapore-based edtech start-up Cialfo has grown to over 200 employees across offices in Singapore, India, the United States and China. Now a partner to more than 1,000 universities in 50 markets and having reached more than 400,000 students worldwide, the start-up has scaled its business following changes to the education sector in the last few years.

The pandemic has evolved the demand for virtual college recruitment and international student mobility, increasing the need for hybrid recruitment solutions, supporting students’ admissions digitally. Despite the pandemic, there is still huge demand for overseas study with some six million students travelling internationally for tertiary study each year. This number is set to grow to eight million by 2025.1

Cialfo’s cloud-based SaaS (or software as a service) platform provides a range of web and mobile solutions, including AI-powered college search, and application management tools that make it easier for students to apply to best-fit higher learning institutions worldwide.

 

Rohan Pasari

At the end of the day, a banking partner like HSBC empowers us with the international network, proactive relationship and product specialist support that we needed at this stage of growth.

Rohan Pasari | CEO and Co-founder, Cialfo

With ‘hybrid’ student engagement and digital college recruitment becoming more popular since the start of the pandemic, Cialfo pivoted quickly and accelerated their growth journey. Through a series of fund-raising in the last two years, Cialfo has secured US$80 million to support its investments in strategic markets and initiatives including continued product development, enhanced marketing, and growing a first-in-class culture and team.

To support this growth at scale and with speed, Cialfo needed an international bank it could rely on in multiple markets. Having engaged closely with the HSBC team since mid-2021, HSBC was mandated as Cialfo’s global cash management bank and trusted partner to support their operating requirements in Singapore, the United States, India and China. Cialfo is also enlisting HSBC for treasury management and investments.

 

Winnie Yap

Through our partnership and transaction banking solutions, we are pleased to have helped Cialfo streamline its treasury operations and improve its financial efficiency while continuing to grow internationally.

Winnie Yap | Head of Global Liquidity and Cash Management, HSBC Singapore

HSBC's digital banking platform provides Cialfo with a centralised view of its business finances by allowing it to access its global bank accounts in one place. The platform also features a range of tools that help Cialfo manage its multi-market banking needs securely and seamlessly, from cash management, real-time payments and foreign exchange. This makes it easier and more convenient for Cialfo's cross-border transactions.

CEO and Co-founder Rohan Pasari says, “At the end of the day, a banking partner like HSBC empowers us with the international network, proactive relationship and product specialist support that we needed at this stage of growth as well as an intuitive digital platform that allows us to conveniently self-serve. Partnering with HSBC has given us a lot of comfort and confidence, as the team has been always attentive; anticipating our needs every step of the way and finding the most appropriate solutions when they are needed most.”

Winnie Yap, Head of Global Liquidity and Cash Management, HSBC Singapore: “We’re excited to partner with Cialfo on its mission to transform higher education for the better. Companies undergoing rapid international expansion often deal with more complex operating cash flows. Through our partnership and transaction banking solutions, we are pleased to have helped Cialfo streamline its treasury operations and improve its financial efficiency while continuing to grow internationally.

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