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Iowa City startup College Raptor acquired by Citizens Financial Group

College Raptor, a college planning platform based in Iowa City, announced yesterday that it has been acquired by Citizens Financial Group.

Founded in 2012, College Raptor matches prospective students to schools based on both academic and financial fit. It offers content and tools to help prospective students evaluate and select a college, including side-by-side comparisons of estimated aid packages, as well as campus match scores and admission chances.

“College Raptor’s mission is to empower students and their families as they plan their college journey, and this combination will deepen our capabilities while connecting users with a best-in-class financial partner,” said Bill Staib, CEO and co-founder of College Raptor in a news release. “Together with Citizens, we look forward to expanding our platform and offering families a richer and more valuable overall experience to help them realize their educational and financial dreams.”

Citizens Financial Group is an American bank headquartered in Rhode Island that offers personal and business banking, student loans and home equity products.

“The acquisition of College Raptor offers unique opportunities to engage with prospective college students and their families as they navigate the college search and selection process,” said Chris Ebeling, EVP and head of student lending at Citizens Financial Group. “This innovative platform further strengthens our ability to provide personalized advice and insights during this important stage of their lives, while also bolstering our commitment to financial empowerment. We are committed to providing our younger generation of customers with the digital support and services they need throughout their financial journey.”

The transaction is set to close in the fourth quarter of 2022. Upon the closing of the deal, College Raptor will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Previous coverage

College Raptor is helping students make smart, affordable college choices

Iowa City startup College Raptor acquired by Citizens Financial Group | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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