The process of getting organised to move abroad as an international student is highly fragmented, stressful, costly and time consuming. International students typically arrange most financial and lifestyle services once they reach their destination country (e.g. visit a branch to open a bank account or purchase a SIM plan). Many of these services require an in-person visit and often international students have to do their own research into the best providers and product choices.
Moving abroad is confusing at the best of times, let alone as a young student embarking on their university journey in a foreign country.
Founded by John Crutchley and Dave Malcolm, Mist is a ‘one-stop-shop’ super app which enables international students to seamlessly set up their banking, telco, insurance and lifestyle services pre-departure, to help them move, settle and live in their destination country of choice. All of this can be done in a matter of minutes and directly from their phone.
Massive market in need for a solution
In FY23, there was 577,295 international student visas granted in Australia. This was a 119% increase since FY22, implying that international student migration is back to pre-COVID levels. International student migration is likely to continue growing rapidly due to a backlog of students unable to move to Australia during COVID, and also with the continued support from the Australian Government to support the international education sector. This market shift is analogous in other developed countries, such as the UK, Canada and the US.
Market research has also showed that >90% of international students want a single platform where they can easily manage their finances, and access lifestyle solutions that are specifically designed for them.
Mist has a first-mover advantage as one of the only comprehensive tech solutions in market which offers an aggregated marketplace to purchase all services pre-departure within an easy-to-use app, through a single KYC process. This allows Mist to capture students early in the relocation process (i.e. acting as their first and primary relationship for all necessary financial and lifestyle services).
Exclusive agreements with channel partners to launch globally at-scale
To provide an aggregated marketplace of key services and scale this across the global international student network, commitment from reputable service providers is paramount. Mist has managed to sign exclusive contracts with key channel partners to enable their B2B2C go-to-market launch in Australia and then eventually overseas.
For example, Mist has already partnered with numerous international student education consultants, such as Global Study Partners, StudyLink, MSM Unify and StudyMe. Collectively, these education consultants have distribution (via their networks of international placement agents) across all major international student home countries (e.g. China, India and Southeast Asia) and are estimated to place 227,000 students in Australia every year (~40% of study visas granted in Australia).
Mist has also secured exclusive partnerships with core service infrastructure providers such as Novatti (for banking and payments), Xtreme Communications (for telco) and ISIC (for international student identity cards) to enable their core product offerings.
Experienced founders with complimentary skillsets
John Crutchley (CEO) and Dave Malcolm (COO/CMO) are experienced startup operators and collectively have deep expertise and relationships in international banking and D2C marketing. They have the complementary skillsets and domain knowledge to scale Mist globally in this market.
John (or JC as many know him as) has 10+years of experience in international banking at Volt Bank and ANZ, specialising in international students and migration. He was specifically hired by Volt Bank as Head of International Banking to lead their go-to-market strategy in the international student market (prior to Volt Bank pivoting their focus and ultimately winding-up).
Dave has 15+ years of experience in D2C marketing as the Co-Founder of Marley Spoon Australia, the former Head of Marketing & PR at Rockstar Games, and the former Head of Marketing at Merivale. He also has a successful track record in building and scaling a Canadian-listed D2C fintech (Banxa).
They have hired an experienced and talented team around them to realise Mist’s vision.
We are thrilled to be partnering with JC and Dave, and we look forward to supporting them as they continue to revolutionise the international student relocation process globally.
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