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$35 million grant to Niche will change how Gen Z kids apply to college

NEXTpittsburgh Staff
May04/ 2020

Photo: Abigail Kneuss (right) chose her college through Niche and is now an ambassador for the company.

By Justin Vellucci

When Abigail Kneuss was a high school junior living 40 minutes south of Akron, Ohio, the aspiring communications professional set her sights on going to college in Pittsburgh. Though indecisive, she narrowed her choices down to the University of Pittsburgh, Point Park University and Chatham University.

For insights about the schools, she turned to Niche, a Pittsburgh-bred tech portal that has accumulated more than 140 million first-person user reviews.

“When you’re 17 or 18, trying to figure out where you’re going to spend thousands of dollars, it gave me realistic opinions. It had the good stuff, as well as the bad stuff — I appreciated how genuine it could be,” says Kneuss, now 19 and a Niche “ambassador” finishing her freshman year at Chatham. “It really helped tell me what kind of experience I was going to have.”

Last week, the Strip District-based company took its mission a big step further, announcing $35 million in Series C funding to make the platform a leading destination for users to manage their school-search journey — right through the application process.

New York-based Radian Capital led the funding, with additional participation from Salesforce Ventures and existing investors Allen & Company and Tim Armstrong.

“Look at Tripadvisor in travel or Glassdoor in jobs — they started on aggregated data … and built out,” said Weston Gaddy, co-founder of Radian Capital and the newest board member at Niche. “Obviously, the educational journey is much more complex. As a business model, though, [Niche] is starting with information and deepening its assets with other tools. This is the path Niche will follow.”

Learn how it works in the complete story in NEXTpittsburgh.

NEXTpittsburgh Staff

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