By Nancy Dahlberg
Education firm EAB has acquired Miami-based YouVisit, the leading provider of virtual tour and interactive web content for higher education. YouVisit’s technology platform and expertise in immersive content creation will help further EAB’s ability to help colleges and universities find, engage and enroll new students, the companies said.
Washington, DC based EAB services about 1,500 schools, colleges and universities. Terms of the deal were now disclosed.
“Adding YouVisit’s capabilities to EAB’s leading suite of digital marketing services will usher in a new era of higher education recruitment where institutions and prospective students are able to interact in more meaningful ways online, transforming the recruitment process for all,” said YouVisit CEO Abi Mandelbaum, in announcing the news.
The story of YouVisit reaches back to the founders’ college days.
While international students at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, Abi Mandelbaum, Taher Baderkhan and Endri Tolka were frustrated by the lack of affordable options for international and out-of-state students to get a better sense for what it is like to live and study at different college campuses. They launched YouVisit in 2009 to enable prospective students and families to tour colleges and universities around the globe for free from the comfort of their own homes. In 2012, their proprietary Virtual Guided Walking Tour technology had proven so effective on college campuses that institutions in other industries, including hospitality, started asking YouVisit to build immersive experiences for them.
Over the years, YouVisit tiptoed into other industries, including travel and corporate, but in the end it was YouVisit's original mission and core focus on education that attracted the acquisition deal. In 2017, YouVisit was selected to join the global entrepreneurship network Endeavor, the 16th Endeavor Miami company to join. "Most people in the virtual reality and 360 content space are very caught up in the technology, while for us it is how we use this technology to enable actual business results rather than just PR," Mandelbaum said at the time.
Today, YouVisit provides 360 virtual tours and other interactive content for more than 600 educational institutions, evolving the way colleges recruit and students digitally experience colleges. This content is especially valuable for underrepresented and out-of-state students for whom visiting college campuses in person may be a challenge, the companies said.
“Attracting today’s high school students, the first generation of true digital natives, requires institutions of higher learning to provide compelling, customized web content that conveys how the student experience at their schools is unique,” said EAB Chief Executive Officer David Felsenthal. “Integrating EAB’s enrollment platform with YouVisit’s market-leading student-centric content will help to drive even greater success for our partners in today’s challenging enrollment environment.”
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