Ocelot Raises $117M to Engage Students and Universities

The capital from K1 Investment Management will help add new functionalities to its AI communications platform.

Written by Ashley Bowden
Published on Sep. 28, 2022
Ocelot Raises $117M to Engage Students and Universities
Talin Andonians, Ocelot CEO
Talin Andonians, CEO of Ocelot. | Image: Ocelot / Built In

No matter their size, universities are responsible for fostering the futures of numerous individuals. While students tend to outnumber advisors on campus by a landslide, ways exist for these institutions to offer personalized guidance to each and every future graduate. Ocelot is one company making this possible using the power of artificial intelligence (AI). 

The company announced Wednesday a $117 million investment from K1 Investment Management. The nine-digit round marks the company’s first-ever outside capital injection after bootstrapping for 19 years, according to Talin Andonians, Ocelot’s CEO. 

Ocelot develops AI communication and student engagement tech for the higher education industry. Its platform works to guide college and university students through every aspect of the student lifecycle, addressing matters regarding enrollment, persistence and access. Its solution enables student outreach via its two-way texting, provides student support through AI and live chat and offers an extensive content library of video explainers.

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“Colleges and universities are competing with so many other daily distractions to capture students’ attention and foster their engagement in order to meet enrollment and graduation targets,” Andonians said in a statement. “Ocelot was built as a one-stop platform for higher education institutions to alleviate communication barriers.”

Having resonated with Ocelot’s mission to make a better life more accessible, K1 invested in the company to further its work toward broadening access to career paths in industries like finance and technology that have historically been less diverse, Brian Beard, a VP at K1, told Built In via email. The investment comes at a time when many institutions face challenges regarding budgets, student enrollment and retention, according to Ocelot.

“The need for a one-stop platform for student engagement and communication has never been stronger,” Beard said. “Universities that adopt Ocelot will be able to connect and develop relationships with students using their preferred communication medium. This will result in higher graduation rates, better education experiences and more efficient university operations.”

In line with this projection, Ocelot’s platform has continued to steadily gain traction. Through its platform, Ocelot has answered more than 12 million questions from users over the past 12 months, according to the company. Its solution currently serves about 500 colleges and universities across 47 states. With its new capital, the company will further its growth. 

Ocelot plans to build additional functionalities within its existing suite of products as well as create new solutions for higher education institutions across the country.

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