Investors Back Startup Business Element451 With $3 Million Series A for College Admissions Platform

By James White Friday, April 30, 2021

Pursuing higher education and enrollment in a postsecondary institution is an immense step in a student’s academic journey. However, according to a report from the National Student Clearinghouse, postsecondary enrollment declined 2.5% in the US during Fall 2020. In an effort to turn the trend in the business around for colleges and other academic institutions, startup company Element451 built an end-to-end marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) platform to bring universities and students together. The software startup business recently closed a $3 million Series A to help students with the college admissions process.

"Student engagement is more important than ever following the pandemic," said Ardis Kadiu, CEO and founder of the software startup. "The past year has leveled the enrollment field, and schools need better and more innovative tools to help them compete."

Funding for Element451 in the latest Series A was led by investor Cultivation Capital. Additional support for the software startup business was driven by Cofounders Capital, who was previously the lead investor of a $1 million seed round for Element451 in 2019.

"This was a perfect raise because it brought in the next round of VC with deep vertical expertise in this space and a strategic investor/partner," said David Gardner, founder and partner at Cofounders Capital.

The newest capital raised in support of the college admissions startup will help Element451 expand student engagement opportunities for its software company.

Cell phone app that says college Enrollment App.

Optimizing Higher Education Recruitment

Founded in 2017 by Kadiu, Element451 offers postsecondary institutions a zero-code, cost-effective CRM solution for recruiting prospective students. The cloud-based platform built by the startup company uses automation and analytics to optimize the student engagement and enrollment process.

Element451 allows higher education institutions to build relationships with future students through an omnichannel communication platform. CRM Software from the startup business automatically sends out messages after an interested student completes a specific action, such as visiting a financial aid page. Furthermore, the cloud-based CRM software solution lets institutions use a drag-and-drop customization system to build personalized messages and emails.

Beyond drawing in prospective students, the Element451 CRM software also helps users during the college application process. For students, the platform built by the startup company provides an approachable interface for filling out college applications and requesting supporting documents. For academic institutions, the interface is easily customized to the needs of their business. The software can even perform an initial review of submitted applications based on personalized criteria before sending the approved documents on to the next evaluation during the college admissions process.

"With my personal experience as a faculty member and program director, I understand the value that Element451 is creating for college admissions offices, and I am excited to help them grow," said Cliff Holekamp, co-founder and managing director of Cultivation Capital.

Competition in the Higher Education CRM Space

The startup company finds itself in a competitive industry. Potential rivals to the startup CRM software business include Salesforce Education Cloud, Technolutions’s Slate, and PeopleGrove. Market research projects the global CRM market, valued at over $40 billion in 2019, to grow at a CAGR of 14.2% from 2020 to 2027.

About the Author


Headshot of James White

James White is a Michigan State University graduate with a BS in Environmental Biology. He is interested in reporting emerging trends in technology, especially with regard to alternative energy and environmental conservation.

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