Startup Q&A: Rachel Fletcher & Natalie Letcher, UniquestLast Updated: February 2, 2020
Rachel Fletcher (pictured right) and Natalie Letcher spoke to AGENT about their successful edtech startup business UniQuest and its impact on how universities recruit and enrol students.
HAVING worked for three decades in higher education, Rachel Fletcher and Natalie Letcher launched UniQuest in October 2013 to help universities manage the ever evolving demands of home, EU and international student enrolment.
The London-based business provides customised solutions to help universities maximise their enrolment-driven revenues from tuition fees, through fluid and real-time access to data, reports and insights, enabling the third-level institutions to tailor their marketing strategies for student enrolment.
Education technology is a lucrative sector, currently worth £45bn globally and set to expand three-fold over the next four years. While the worth of a sector is no predictor of success, Fletcher and Letcher’s approach has paid off, with the cutting-edge and user-friendly UniQuest tech platform complemented by a hands-on and embedded working relationship with clients.
The first three years of UniQuest have seen the business grow to profitability, and the founders now head a team of 21 employees. Poised on the cusp of expansion, Rachel Fletcher (UniQuest MD) and Natalie Letcher (UniQuest chair) cleared some time in their schedules to settle into the AGENT Startup Hotseat and answer our questions on the story of their successful startup to date.
1. Very simply, what does your company do?
Natalie: We help universities meet their student enrolment goals in the most cost-efficient way possible.
2. What was the ‘Eureka!’ moment?
Rachel: Recognising that off-the-shelf technology couldn’t keep universities competitive in a more crowded and challenging market. We set out to build a managed student recruitment business, grounded in unparalleled client service and a high level of responsiveness to changing market conditions, all underpinned by a market-leading platform to track unprecedented data into the effectiveness of marketing and conversion activities.
3. What were you doing before starting?
Rachel: I worked with higher education institutions across Australia, the UK and the US. In the year leading up to forming UniQuest, I consulted with a broad range of UK-based universities around their student engagement and conversion strategy and operations.
Natalie: I’ve worked with universities for over 20 years, but in the few years right before we started UniQuest I took time to travel the world with my family.
4. How are you funded?
Natalie: We’re funded by a group of angel investors who are a fantastic combination of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and experts in the fields of higher education and digital technology.
5. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs starting their own company?
Rachel: Think hard about your strengths, how you work best and what kind of people you’re going to need around you to enable this. It’s a hard slog whatever you do, but ensuring you play to your strengths and build a team who bring skills to the table that you don’t have, will help you get further faster.
6. What item would you never leave the house without?
Rachel: My phone. It’s my lifeline to the office, clients and what’s going on in the world.