IDP acquires The Ambassador Platform

Published 23/05/2023

Australian international education giant IDP Education has acquired the UK-based student peer chat service The Ambassador Platform, it was announced on May 23.

The Ambassador Platform facilitates conversations between current and prospective students at universities, with both one-on-one and group sessions made available through the software.

It comes just seven months after IDP announced it would acquired the international student support agency Intake Education.

“By acquiring The Ambassador Platform, IDP will be able to accelerate its plans to incorporate peer-to-peer engagement as part of its student placement business,” said IDP’s CEO Tannealle O’Shannessy.

“We believe [it] will further differentiate our offering to students and universities,” she added.

The acquisition’s total consideration will be up to £9 million, the organisation confirmed, which IDP will pay for with “existing cash balance” – and won’t have a “material financial impact” on the company.

IDP has already been boosted financially in 2022 and 2023 by “explosive” growth in student placement in Australia, the move seems to aim to capitalise on that growth by having peer-to-peer tools while expanding to other countries further like the UK.

The Ambassador Platform, however, possesses a similar USP to a product already in the IDP roster – Unibuddy Discover, which it partnered on with Unibuddy in April 2022.

Speaking to The PIE, Nik Higgins, one of the co-founders, said it was important to make clear “it’s business as usual at The Ambassador Platform”.

“There are some absolutely fabulous things in the pipeline”

“There won’t be any disruption for our customers – we’ll operate as a separate but wholly-owned entity of IDP,” he said.

“There are some absolutely fabulous things in the pipeline as a result of our new relationship with IDP.

“These relate mainly to new, joint product offerings we will be co-creating with IDP, which will allow our customers to do more with their student voice, from lead generation to conversion.

“This is a unique new value proposition that only a combination of IDP’s scale and reputation and TAPs peer-to-peer technology can build,” Higgins explained.

While mostly aimed at higher education, The Ambassador Platform did also expand into K-12 learners in late 2021.

The platform is currently listed as being used by over 150 institutions “across five continents”.

However, CEO and co-founder of The Ambassador Platform George Olesen said the move would be “a unique opportunity to combine with a market leader” in order to accelerate the platform’s overall growth.

Ciara McNally, a customer success manager with The Ambassador Platform posting on LinkedIn, called May 23 “a very exciting day for The Ambassador Platform team”.

“We’re looking forward to working with IDP’s 800+ global customers, and helping them to attract, convert, and retain more best-fit students through the power of peer-to-peer recruitment,” she said in response to the announcement on the social media site.

“Students trust their peers for advice when making decisions”

For IDP, it will complement its current roster of counsellors, O’Shannessy said, noting that “students trust their peers for advice when making decisions as life-changing as studying overseas”.

“We started The Ambassador Platform to help higher education providers unlock the power of their students’ voices in their marketing and recruitment campaigns,” Olesen said upon the announcement.

“This transaction will accelerate our efforts in this area and is an exciting milestone for the company,” Olesen added.

“We’re now the only peer-to-peer platform that is part of a global education group and we’re scaling up to bring our technology to every higher ed institution in every anglophone market,” Higgins said.

“It will allow us to deliver an enhanced experience for prospective international students – peer-to-peer is one part of the decision making puzzle and IDP are the world’s trusted experts with the rest of the pieces of that puzzle!”

Starting out as The Access Platform, The Ambassador Platform has been running since 2016, after being co-founded by Olesen and Higgins, who are “thrilled” with how the acquisition has turned out.

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