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RBC seeks buyer for student payments platform Cohort Go

It said students used the platform to securely and pay tuition and study fees, as well as insurance, accommodation and other costs associated with crossing borders to head to university.

Cohort Go was founded in 2012 and is owned by founders Mark Fletcher (CEO) and Paul Jones (CTO), and well known Queensland angel investor Steve Baxter.

The business started servicing international students traveling to and studying in Australia, but has branched into other big education markets including Canada, Europe and the UK. It has been used by more than 200,000 students to make payments in 60-plus currencies.

Cohort Go expects to process $880 million in payments in the 2022 calendar year, and record $21.4 million in revenue and $4.1 million EBITDA, representing strong growth on all three counts.

While Cohort Go’s growing quickly, it’s a relatively small player in the student payments market which is said to be worth $660 billion a year.

One thing suitors will be looking for is how the business fared in the past two years, when international student numbers were crunched in Australia.

Cohort Go’s expected to tell them it missed the worst of the sector’s fallout, thanks to a strategic decision to take its payments product to offshore markets in 2018.

It is understood RBC sent the flyer to potential suitors earlier this month, and told them to expect an official information memorandum shortly. It was hired to advise the company on options to continue growth, including raising funds or strategic partnerships, late last year.

It comes amid corporate activity in the fintech/cross border payments sector, including in a pair of businesses also targeting students. Last year, US payments company Flywire flew on to the Nasdaq (albeit it has been sold off in the past few months), while Western Union sold its student fintech to private equity firms Goldfinch Partners and The Baupost Group for $US910 million.

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