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Shane Dillon is Connecting International Graduates with Potential Employers when they Return Home from Their Studies with Cturtle and UniAdvisor
By Julie Lam
Welcome back to another episode of the “Perfect Pitch Show” where Brandon Burns, Head of Community – Runway Virtual, interviews small business founders / entrepreneurs about the secret sauce to their successful start-up journey.
On today’s episode we are chatting with a special guest all the way from Vietnam, Shane Dillon. Over the last 4 years Shane has developed 2 major EdTech platforms specialising in international education. He is currently the Founder and CEO of Cturtle, and Co-Founder of UniAdvisor. Cturtle is an employment network who assists international graduates, of which 95% will return to their home countries after completing their studies abroad in Australia, UK, USA, Canada or New Zealand. UniAdvisor, on the other hand, is a university-ranking platform and comparison tool. UniAdvisor utilises the information collected from Cturtle, such as the experience of the international graduates and their employment outcomes upon graduating. Through Cturtle, graduates are able to connect with over 12,000 hiring managers across Asia. With a network of over 1.3 million international alumni and over 100,000 who have applied for employment through the platform, Cturtle has helped international graduates on a global scale. Similarly, UniAdvisor has developed exponentially with currently over 34,000 reviews from real students.
Real Value Proposition
According to Shane, International Education is a $300 billion yearly industry and is Australia’s third largest export. Despite this prime market, there was previously no resource available to help returning students to transition from education into the employment sector. With the services that Cturtle provides, international students, potential employers and Universities all benefit as a result. Through Cturtle employers are able to connect with a bilingual, educated talent pool. On the other hand, Universities are able to assist their graduates smoothly transition into employment. By ensuring international students get a return on their investment, they are likely to recommend Australia to future international students.
Next Big Goal
Shane’s overarching entrepreneurial goal is to shift the dynamics of international education from student recruitment and university revenue-focused to student outcome-centric. He plans to achieve this by creating a student-data driven ranking system and developing scalable employment outcomes. By using an innovative approach, Shane plans to capture a larger percentage of the industry.
Shane reports that there are currently 6 million international students globally, and this is expected to double by 2030. With an industry that will allegedly overtake the global hotel industry within the next 5 years, there are plenty of avenues in which Cturtle and UniAdvisor can expand.
Cturtle and UniAdvisor are able to capitalise on their returns with three main revenue streams:
- Data reports - reports on the factors that affect university alumni opinions when considering whether to recommend an educational institute are provided to Australian state and federal governments, Universities, University groups and study clusters.
- Improving University Employment Rates - assisting alumni enter the employment sector.
- Marketing Universities & Courses - to attract international students to specific educational institutions.
The Highs & Lows
Shane admits that he spent too much time and effort on raising capital. Along with other mistakes, he had trouble hiring the right people, and was distracted by vanity metrics instead of focusing on revenue.
A proud achievement for Shane was the phenomenal growth in interest from international alumni. In the first 12 months alone, over 100,000 alumni signed up to the platform. In addition, he has received immense support from the industry. Having been shortlisted for several awards, including the Pioneer Of The Year Award in the UK, the Employability Award at the Reimagine Education Awards, and the Australia-China Business Awards, he consistently receives affirmation that his companies contribute real value to the industry.
Advice – The Good & The Bad
Shane received great advice recently that he would like to share with the audience. That is, do not start a business where universities are your clients. The main struggle when dealing with education institutions is the stagnation of progress. It can be difficult to deal directly with the decision-maker and as a result, one can endlessly be passed from one faculty to another.
In terms of bad advice, Shane refers to an unethical practice that is unfortunately recommended all too often. Specifically, situations where founders either provide gross exaggerations or rely on dishonesty to raise capital.
You can connect to Shane and his businesses with the following links: