An all-in-one finance and lifestyle app for international students has raised $1.6 million in Seed funding.
Mist was backed by Investible, Allectus Capital, Archangel Ventures, Seedspace, and The Hunter Angels.
It wants to become the go-to app for international students, offering a streamlined solution for relocating to another country to study, especially around banking and telecommunications.
Mist will provide payments solutions, local accounts, a phone SIM, overseas health cover and international student ID cards as part of its initial in-app features.
John Crutchley, a former ANZ exec focused on international students, who spent 3 years has head of international banking at the ephemeral neobank Volt, and began working on Mist in early 2021, with cofounder Dave Malcolm, who also cofounded Marley Spoon and more recently ran communications at Merivale, the hospitality empire of Justin Hemmes, joining at the start of 2023.
Crutchley sees Mist as a “cutting-edge” finance, services, and lifestyle app for foreign students – a sector that sees around five million people move overseas to study every year, with that number predicted to double to 10 million by 2030.
“The process of moving to a new country to study is stressful and complicated. As the international student market continues to grow rapidly, Mist is developing our application to ensure a smooth relocation by solving many of the pre-departure issues around verification, payments, and communications.,” he said.
“This funding will enable us to launch our services through our partnerships with Education Agents, Institutions, and accommodation providers and cater to the dynamic needs of students worldwide, helping them ‘Move, Settle & Live’ in their new country.”
He’s gone on to sign contracts with key channel partners for B2B2C go-to-market launch in Australia and then eventually overseas. They include international student education consultants such as Global Study Partners, StudyLink, MSM Unify and StudyMe, targeting the Chinese, Indian and Southeast Asian markets. Combined they’re believed to place more than 225,000 students at Australian universities annually – around 40% of study visas granted.
Mist has also struck deals with infrastructure providers Novatti for banking and payments, Xtreme Communications for telco and ISIC for ID cards.
Investible investment principal Jayden Basha said Crutchley and Malcolm have the collective expertise and industry knowledge will set Mist up for success.
“Their offering is poised to tackle the rapidly growing international education sector in Australia, with student migration now exceeding pre-COVID levels,” he said.
“Mist will become synonymous with the relocation process for students studying abroad.”