Along with Data Tech Fund, Chicago Early Growth Ventures, Gener8tor, and others, Atland Ventures is proud to announce our newest investment into Loper. Loper, an EdTech startup based in Chicago, IL, is an app helping thousands find a post-secondary path that best fits their unique preferences. Co-founders Sam Bernstein and Eric Menna (CEO and COO, respectively) set out to make it easier for students to explore the education marketplace, as it is often a confusing and overwhelming experience. Many, including my high school self, struggled to navigate post-secondary options. With Loper’s matching algorithm, the app can personalize its content for users, creating a free and easy way to engage with different post-secondary options.

How does it work? Think of it like Tinder, but for finding a college or other educational program. Students get to swipe on schools based on factors such as location, student body, cost of attendance, etc. Additionally, Loper offers unique value by providing insights that are hard to Google, such as what the dining hall food is like and the best dorm on campus.

Beyond our excitement for what the team at Loper is building, we chose to back this startup because of our confidence in the founder, the strong alignment with our investment thesis, and the significant market opportunity. 

Led by a rockstar founder.

Throughout our diligence process, it was an incredible experience working with Sam, who is genuine, passionate, and deeply cares about user experience. He was willing to help our team out in any way that he could. Whether that was regarding the diligence process itself or supporting our professional journeys by connecting us with individuals in his network, Sam would always take the extra step – much like he does while building Loper.

Phenomenal thesis fit. 

As a fund, Atland focuses on investing in companies solving problems felt by the digitally native generation, with EdTech being one of our core investment themes. By simplifying the complex journey of exploring post-secondary options, Loper is addressing a problem that many Gen Z-ers currently face or have faced in the past. We look forward to leveraging our (and our community’s) insights as students to support Loper’s initiatives and further drive downloads. 

A large market opportunity. 

Beyond being an engaging and useful app, there is a large market for a platform like this. In fact, $11 billion is spent annually on student engagement with $3 billion dedicated to traditional higher education and $2 billion spent on affiliate services. There is a substantial market for an app like Loper, as the user experience on the platform also aligns with modern digital preferences. 

So, there is a clear market opportunity regarding potential users, but what is the incentive for colleges to pay for this? Loper provides lead generation and an ads platform for institutions, but more importantly, the data Loper aggregates hold a lot of power. For college customers, the value of Loper as a marketing channel increases drastically from the data collected, which includes uncovering student preferences through user behavior on the app. 

With over a dozen paying college customers and 150K downloads, Loper is on its way to reshaping how students navigate and engage with educational opportunities. Atland is grateful and delighted to be a part of the team’s journey to transform the educational landscape for future generations.