Upswing announces $5 million+ in Series A funding to accelerate the connected college experience for underserved students
Commitment to Nontraditional Students, Development of Mental Health and Wellness Module, and Strengthening Virtual Connections Between Students and Colleges Amid Pandemic Identified as Reasons to Back Upswing’s $5 Million Funding Round
AUSTIN, Texas – March 30, 2021 – Upswing, an online student engagement organization, announces it has raised $5 million as part of an oversubscribed Series A funding round.
Imaginable Futures, a global philanthropic investment firm, led the round, co-led by JPMorgan Chase. Other new investors include Bonsal Capital, the Agave Fund, and impact investing firm Sustain VC. Follow-on investors include Impact America Fund, Lumina Foundation, Rethink Education, etc.
The funds will be used to further scale the company’s integrated student support services, Ana, and new Mental Health and Wellness Module.
“Our current platform provides academic and nonacademic support to students. This investment will propel our work to seamlessly integrate our modules while also creating integrations with student information systems, allowing us to demonstrate the individual impact of using Upswing, as well as the impact across segments or demographics,” says Melvin Hines, co-founder and CEO of Upswing.
Upswing leads the charge to improve college student success using technology to eliminate the gap in academic and nonacademic resources available to students from communities with fewer and inequitable access to educational resources.
Focused on serving nontraditional and diverse populations, especially in rural communities, Upswing works with more than 15 percent of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) to help more college students reach their goals.
Partnering with nearly 70 colleges and universities throughout the U.S., Upswing’s integrated student services platform provides academic support, such as online advising and tutoring and nonacademic mental health resources through Upswing’s Mental Health & Wellness Module to more than 500,000 students.
“Institutes of higher education spend more than $30 billion each year on student success, yet these platforms are often difficult to discover, confusing to navigate, and disconnected from students’ everyday lives, especially the realities of nontraditional students, including student parents,” says Vinice Davis, venture partner, Imaginable Futures. “We’re thrilled to invest in Upswing’s student success platform, which will support these students, who despite their best efforts and intention to succeed, often fall through the cracks of our inequitable systems.”
Upswing’s integrated student success platform relies on innovation to reach nontraditional students, who are quick to embrace Upswing’s virtual assistant Ana, and offers students online resources to ensure their academic success.
Funding from education partners Imaginable Futures and JPMorgan Chase propels Upswing toward realizing their vision of an enterprise engagement system that seamlessly integrates student support modules with college campus’ information systems to harness insights and their impacts across campus demographics for improved student outcomes.
“We are excited to invest in Upswing’s efforts that drive student success and persistence as part of JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to connect young people with promising career pathways,” says Erin Robert, Head of Impact Finance, JPMorgan Chase. “Upswing’s deep focus on HBCUs and community colleges aligns with our strategy to support those critical institutions, address long-standing structural barriers to economic opportunity and empower people with the education and skills they need to navigate the changing world of work.”
This investment is part of JPMorgan Chase’s $30 billion five-year commitment to advance racial equity.
“Upswing has been making strides toward this vision of an enterprise engagement system, and these investments will help us accelerate that vision by providing the necessary talent, systems, and other resources to build and scale our efforts to support student retention and engagement for nontraditional students,” adds Hines.
Upswing is a mission-driven company that partners with colleges and universities to improve nontraditional student outcomes. Over 28% of students using Upswing are working while in college, and 43% are Hispanic or Black, and many are first-generation students. Learn more about Upswing at https://upswing.io/
About JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $3.4 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.
About Imaginable Futures
Imaginable Futures is a global philanthropic investment firm that believes learning has the power to unlock human potential and aspires to provide every learner with the opportunity and the tools they need to imagine, and to realize, a brighter future. By taking a systems approach to solving complex education challenges, Imaginable Futures works across public, private and social sectors to bring to life transformational ideas for learners of all ages.
With a deep commitment to on-the-ground partnership and co-creation with those we serve, Imaginable Futures empowers learners, families and communities to be the changemakers of the future. Managed globally with local operations in Brazil, Kenya and the United States, Imaginable Futures has collectively invested $225 million in more than 125 partners across Africa, Latin America and North America, as well as in India with our sister organization, Omidyar Network India. Imaginable Futures is a venture of The Omidyar Group.
Visit imaginablefutures.com and follow us @imaginablefut