Interstride: No Boundaries for International Students
Getting a higher education degree is no easy task, and international students know it best. They need particular, customizable advice and insights, job opportunities, and a community they can reach out to and receive the support they need for academic success.
Inspired by their own experience, Christian Eder and Nitin Agrawal had these exact needs in mind when they teamed up to start Interstride.
The two entrepreneurs founded Interstride in 2018 in San Francisco as an educational tech startup with one primary vision - to help international students and their universities with convenient support services that will close the gap in job prospects.
Christian and Nitin’s platform builds partnerships with reliable service providers to offer support to international students in many areas, from tax advice to immigration issues.
Stick around to see how two enthusiastic young people offered a helping hand to knowledge-driven international students.
The Budding Years of Two Knowledge-Thirsty Youngsters
Both Nitin Agrawal and Christian Eder stood out in their environments as bright and promising young individuals that the world would hear of.
Through his education, Nitin Agrawal had much experience as an international student himself. He studied abroad at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana, then attended the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.
Nitin obtained a BBA degree from the University of Miami and an MBA from the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
On the other hand, Christian Eder started as an Austrian student who faced many issues with his work authorization in the United States. Having grown up in Austria, he came to the U.S. to pursue his academic education at the USC Marshall School of Business. While he had extensive opportunities for studying and working there, Cristian still faced significant hardships in his initial adaptation to living and studying in the U.S. - especially regarding the international work visa system.
Reaping the Seeds of Experience
Besides their extensive academic education, Christian and Nitin also had significant practical experience before founding Interstride.
Christian Eder has been working in the finance department of Quantum Jets since 2016. In addition, he had another brainchild before Interstride - in 2017, he served as the co-founder of District1010.
As an exceptional international student, Nitin started volunteering as Berkeley Haas Regional Representative for Nepal at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2010. After that, he spent three years (from 2016 to 2019) as the Chief of Staff and Head of Strategic Initiatives at Western Union in San Francisco, California.
Agrawal accumulated more valuable experience in his brief time as a finance associate at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2011. In addition, he served as a strategy advisor at Aker ASA in the US, Brazil, and Norway.
On a Quest for Education
Eder and Agrawal’s first-hand experience as the starting point made this platform stand out as an inspirational success story. Having moved to the United States for their academic journeys, they met at the graduate program of UC Berkeley. They built a close friendship, bonding over their similar experiences as international students.
Both Nitin and Christian faced many obstacles connected to immigration and career during their academic education. Their determination to make everything easier for other international students resulted in the idea of Interstride at the start of 2017 over a friendly dinner in Berkeley.
Shaping the Idea
Right after the platform’s launch in January 2017, Interstride introduced workshops where international students at Berkeley and Stanford could speak up about their experiences and challenges. Two months later, Nitin and Christian’s team introduced a texting hotline for international students in the San Francisco Bay to share their concerns, ask questions, and seek advice directly from the founders.
As a promising tech company that has been assisting international students in their academic journey for 4 years, Interstride has raised a total of $1.8M in two funding rounds.
In March 2018, Interstride announced a seed funding round, and yet another funding round with Lighthouse Labs RVA as the main investor occurred three years later in March 2021.
In July 2017, Interstride finally went digital and launched its mobile app for Android and iOS users. The next year, this platform built the first significant partnerships with 20 universities and introduced a cloud-based web application following the success of its mobile app.
In March 2019, Interstride already achieved partnerships with 50 universities and attracted more than 20,000 international students. Finally, at the end of 2020, Nitin and Christian’s team launched Interstride 2.0, a fully rebranded portal with several novel features to support underrepresented international students further.
A Helping Hand for International Students
Interstride assists international students in five vital areas of their academic journey. First of all, the platform increases university engagement by helping students get mentorship from alumni students. It also gives access to convenient resources and creates a unique network for students to reach out to each other.
Interstride also strengthens the sense of community and networking, helping students understand the complex visa procedures and work requirements abroad.
In addition, Interstride guides students through the specific immigration opportunities in each country and helps them plan their next move. The platform’s student services assist students in checking out available job ads and internships in real-time and using available options in various fields.
Finally, Interstride supports international students’ career searches via interactive resources and productivity tools that encourage them to follow their career dreams. Interstride’s platform directly links students to convenient career services that can educate them on up-to-date resources and job opportunities aligned with their academic field.
A Vision for the Future
Nowadays, Interstride is an acclaimed and trustworthy platform headquartered in San Francisco, California, that employs dozens of enthusiastic experts working hard to aid international students in need.
During their 4 years of operation, Nitin and Christian’s project has teamed up with more than 130 universities and attracted 60,000 students with a 95% retention rate.
That being said, Interstride is the number one place for the guidance of international students in the United States and globally. The company supports the professional growth of international students by providing them with valuable insights, data-driven resources, and community networks, taking the shape of an all-in-one, user-friendly platform.
Having partnered with some of the most acclaimed universities such as Harvard, Stanford, University of Chicago, Duke, ASU, USC, UT Austin, University of Georgia, and more - Christian and Nitin’s team plans to extend its influence even further. This way, the two former international students can help young people with their immigration issues, university engagement, employment search, and community integration.
Where Is Interstride Headed?
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the dozens of employees in the acclaimed Interstride team have one vision - making education fair and accessible for international students. The genuine sense of community and cultural integration is what makes Interstride stand out from the competition.
Interstride’s goal for the future is to perfect the student portal with new engaging content, service networks, and workshops for all career-related needs of international students. Furthermore, the platform also offers assistance to domestic students who want to pursue international academic education.
International students and alumni already using Interstride confirm the platform’s valuable contribution to professional mentorship, cultural integration, and career guidance. According to a recent survey including more than 2,450 Interstride users, 90% of the participants would recommend the platform to their colleagues, and 86% stated that Interstride helped them in their career pursuits.
With the help of Interstride, we can only wait and see when the next Marie Curie or Dmitri Mendeleev will grace the world with their knowledge.