Auckland-based education consultancy Crimson Consulting has raised a further US$20 million ($31.5m) in a funding round spearheaded by Hong Kong-based CTF Education Group.
The fresh equity comes as Crimson expands into Asia and includes a previously reported US$5 million investment from Korean firm Solborn Investments.
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CTF Education is part of Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, controlled by the family of the late Hong Kong tycoon Cheng Yu-tung. The group is active in more than 40 locations, including the Victoria Education Organisation and Delia Group of Schools in Hong Kong.
Crimson co-founder and chief executive Jamie Beaton said CTF invested US$10m in the latest series C round for a 4.06 per cent stake and has appointed its chairman Adrian Cheng to the Crimson board.
Another US$5m came from strategic investors, including New Zealand's K1W1, which added to an earlier investment. Crimson's total funding to date sits at US$57m, following a $30m series B capital raise led by Julian Robertson's New York hedge fund Tiger Funds.
Beaton, 24, said existing investors all wanted to maintain their shareholdings but there would be some amendments based on the new capital coming in.
According to the Companies Office, Beaton's stake has fallen from 34.77 per cent to 32.54 per cent and Tiger Funds has gone from 19.43 per cent to 18.19 per cent due to the new shares being issued.
Beaton founded the firm, along with girlfriend Sharndre Kushor, in high school in 2013. The company's core business involves tutoring high school students wanting to achieve admission and scholarships to exclusive Oxbridge or Ivy League universities.
Beaton said Crimson had expanded into Asia in recent years and now China was the company's largest market outside of Australasia.
"There are very few New Zealand companies that have started in New Zealand and gone global as fast as we have," he said.
"We have large operations in the US, China, Korea, Russia, the UK, South Africa and Brazil … our core consulting business, helping high school students get into top universities, grew more than 100 per cent year on year in terms of revenue last year."
When pressed for detail he would not disclose any actual revenue figures, just saying it's a "pretty big revenue number".
"At this point Crimson has definitely gone beyond the start-up phase and we are really seeing meaningful product penetration in many different geographies and across different ages of students.
"And although we have achieved substantial scale, there's still huge opportunity in front of us in these large markets."
Crimson's college admission preparation services has to date seen 1000 students gain acceptance to top universities in the UK and US, he added. The company employs more than 2400 tutors and consultants.
He said CTF shared a similar vision to Crimson and was a long-term strategic investor.
Crimson's path hasn't been all plain sailing.
The firm used its initial funding in part to acquire a handful of smaller operators but some of those deals turned sour and last year Crimson lost a long-running fight in the High Court in Auckland to keep secrets details of its dispute with 2015 takeover target Dunedin's UniTutors.