Crimson Education Uses Data to Personalize Online Mentoring
Crimson Education, an online personalized mentoring platform, is taking on the academic support and career planning market. To date, over 20,000 students have used Crimson, primarily to increase their chances of admission to top-tier universities. Crimson has 2,300 mentors, over 200 full-time staff, and offices in 21 cities; as of its Series B funding in 2016, Crimson was valued at $160M, and differentiated from competitors due to its proprietary mentor-student matching algorithm and extensive alumni database. Jamie Beaton, the Crimson’s CEO, is currently a first-year MBA candidate at Stanford University.
While attending high school in New Zealand, Jamie Beaton discovered that there was very little guidance on what to do to be admitted to the world’s best colleges. He was studying at a top high school, but even their guidance counselors only knew about local universities. Like many other students outside of the United States and Western Europe, Beaton struggled to decipher the courses and extracurriculars that would increase his likelihood of acceptance to international universities. After achieving top scores on A-Level courses and SAT tests, Beaton was accepted to top schools including Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania.
After his early admission to Harvard, Beaton founded Crimson Education in 2013 to help high-achieving students from New Zealand navigate the international college application process, emphasizing building his customers’ academic and leadership backgrounds. When Beaton arrived at Harvard, he recruited 100 of his friends to be mentors for 50 of New Zealand’s top students, a network initially composed of Beaton’s personal contacts. From there, Crimson grew rapidly.
Crimson Education CEO Jamie Beaton and StartU Scout Dasmer Singh at the Stanford Graduate School of Business
Crimson’s Data-Driven Mentoring Process
Crimson’s immersive platform remotely trains students for IB, A-Levels, standardized testing, extracurricular development, and leadership mentoring. Mentors match to students based on the student’s background and results from psychometric tests given during the Crimson application. Students usually start with Crimson at the age of 15 and stay on for mentorship for two to four years. The company’s competitive advantage is its matching algorithm and private dataset on admissions performance of the 20,000 Crimson alumni. To date, there are no sizeable competitors to Crimson besides localized individual tutors and programs like Kaplan and Princeton Review, neither of which have capabilities comparable to the Crimson’s intel and vast mentor network.
A Crimson package starts at $5,000. The price depends on a student’s background, duration of Crimson study, and geography. Beaton, who grew up without many financial resources, sought to focus on leveling, rather than unwinding, the playing field. To this end, Crimson has an extensive financial aid process where students can apply for pro-bono or subsidized fees if their family income cannot afford the full tuition.
The Future of Crimson
Beaton believes Crimson has just scratched the surface of online education. The college advising market size is over $2 billion, and the global private school market is $300 billion. Crimson is expanding its offices to more cities around the world and creating post-grad products for Medical School, MBA consulting, and career mentoring. In 2018 alone, Crimson will serve 15,000 students; “as the product set and geographies increase, so will demand,” Beaton predicts. Moving forward, Beaton believes Crimson’s biggest challenge will be to recruit mentors fast enough to meet demand while maintaining its high education standards.