As a new college student in 2012, Sabih Bin Wasi found his excitement over his many course options tempered by his confusion at scheduling them. He spent a weekend logging in a spreadsheet course prerequisites and planning semesters ahead for classes in computer science and business.
“The more diverse you want to create your learning experience, the harder it becomes to pick your courses,” says Bin Wasi, a 27-year-old graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.
That spreadsheet marked the beginnings of Stellic, his startup that offers a platform to help students plan their college careers, achieving in seconds what took him days. And investors have taken note. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company has completed a $3.1 million seed round, its total amount raised to date.
Ten angel investors and firms participated in the round, including Entangled Ventures, Rethink Education, Reach Capital and Arjun Singh, founder of GradeScope and now a vice president at Turnitin.
Founded in 2016, Stellic has 15 university partners, including University of Chicago, University of Minnesota and Bin Wasi’s alma mater, Carnegie Mellon. Stellic is currently profitable, Bin Wasi says, and has 10 full-time employees plus cofounder Rukhsar Neyaz Khan. He declined to provide price ranges for the product but says schools pay per student per year.
The company claims that 88 percent of undergraduate Carnegie Mellon students have logged into the platform to plan their next semester. Stellic has more than 300,000 plan activities and 1.4 million course searches a year.
“When students feel like they have so many questions and no easy access to answers, that’s when it gets frustrating,” says Bin Wasi, who grew up in Karachi, Pakistan, the son of a teacher and a civil engineer.
Other tools that aim to ease students’ college experience have caught investor interest as well lately. Mentor Collective raised $3 million this year to improve its platform that connects students with peer and alumni advisers.
Stellic plans to use the seed money toward marketing efforts to win over more universities. Bin Wasi says he has ideas for ways to expand the platform, such as helping students schedule extracurricular activities.