HelloUni App Launch May 2017

May 2017

ICAN Future Star is proud to announce the launch of an innovative mobile app, hellouni, which helps prospective university applicants navigate the complex application journey. Our new personal application assistant launches May 2017 to our 20,000+ social media followers. This B2C app will be offered as a freemium subscription model, free to download but with payment required to access premium features. hellouni were awarded a prestigious SMART innovation grant to develop this product. We have a successful B2B platform however our intention has always been to launch this complementary B2C platform to simplify and streamline the entire university application process. hellouni is revolutionizing the complex and time consuming process of finding the right university, course, funding and post application lifestyle info. We provide 3 key features: course search, course recommendation (based on user profile) and connect to ambassadors (peers interested in the same institution or course, or from the same cultural background).

UK to Worldwide

Later this year, the company will further develop the app from its UK focus to include universities worldwide with additional funding info and global ambassadors. Millions of students will benefit maximising their application success and accessing a student life portal where they can connect with the university community, experienced tutors for English and other subjects,  legal experts, and take advantage of local deals that will help them to smooth the transition and integrate with local culture.

The hellouni app streamlines essential information to help prospective applicants research courses, funding and campus life. Additionally, the app makes it easy to interact instantly with the university community and ambassadors, such as current students, alumni and professors.

The app also offers applicants the opportunity to connect with other selected ambassadors such as our immigration experts at Fragomen and accommodation experts at Student.com. Students can also reach out to figures leading the international society, politics society or university sports teams for example.

“I’m very proud to announce that building on the success and partnerships of our B2B business, increasing the overall value in terms of technological innovation as well as branding effect and naturally progressing as a high-growth company, hellouni is launching our own consumer facing app – the Match.com for international applicants and their dream universities. This product has received funding and support from various of organisations such as UKTI, Scottish Enterprise, SMART R&D funding, the University of Glasgow and Coventry University. The ambition of the platform is to be the one stop shop for application needs when studying abroad including university and course search, help with applications as well post-application life support. The launch of the B2C app truly shows the vision of the hellouni is to make studying abroad easier and more rewarding for 5 million internationally mobile students.”

Dr Olivia Feng, Founder & CEO ICAN Future Star

Available May 2017, the hellouni app will support prospective applicants worldwide to have an easier and more personalised application journey.

The app is developed by ICAN Future Star Ltd, an education technology company based in Glasgow.  A young but ambitious tech company aims to disrupt the current international recruitment market by developing innovative mobile solutions to empower both universities and applicants worldwide.

To download now, just search hellouni on your app store or click here https://hellouni.world/app

For more information:

Dr Olivia Feng: olivia.feng@hellouni.world               https://hellouni.world

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hellouni_world

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hellouni.world


UK-China International Student Market Update

UK-China International Student Market Update

hellouni by ICAN Future Star

  • Number of international students studying in China has greatly increased year on year
  • 450,000 international students studied in China in 2016
  • Chinese government targeting 500,000 international students received in 2020
  • In 2017 China will compete for foreign students with countries like UK, Canada, Germany & France
  • In 2016 number of UK residents seeking a degree or work experience in China tripled


  • Chinese government driving high education standards & scholarships to attract prospective applicants
  • Chinese government has increased the number of scholarships available to international students 5 times over since 2006
  • In 2016 40% of international students welcomed by China received a government scholarship

#1 Destination Worldwide

  • Our partner Student.com predicts that China will overtake the UK as the #2 destination in the world for study abroad and then go on to compete with the current #1 the US
  • The University of Liverpool forecasts that the number of UK residents going to China will further increase in the run up to Brexit as UK universities seek global partnerships in the East whilst there is uncertainty over EU partnerships


  • China is recognised for high standard of teaching in business & economics
  • Students are more aware than ever before of the need to gain competitive experience valued by employers
  • Demand for study abroad among Chinese students will remain strong whilst Chinese employers continue to value foreign degrees

UK Universities

  • The Universities of Liverpool, Nottingham and Leicester offer study abroad programs and campuses in China

Outbound Chinese Students

  • Over 500,000 Chinese students studied abroad in 2015, yet 80% return home to work after completing their degree
  • US, UK, Australia, South Korea & Japan are most popular destinations for Chinese students
  • US most popular choice for Chinese PhD students studying abroad
  • South Korea most popular choice for Chinese undergraduates studying abroad


  • 97% of Chinese students overseas are self-funded

Chinese Universities

  • Peking University, a prestigious institution in Beijing, opening HSBC Business School branch in Oxford early 2018 with enrolment to start in June


  • Only 2 Chinese universities currently in world top 40, Peking University & Tsinghua University
  • University of Hong Kong is #43 in the world rankings


  • In 2016-17 Times Higher Education World University Rankings ca. 1,000 institutions were listed
  • Mainland China had 52 entries but only 7 in the top 400
  • South Korea had 9 universities in the top 400 despite having a fraction of the population (50 million compared with 1.3 billion)
  • Hong Kong (population 7 million) had 6 entries

What Matters to International Students?

What Matters to International Students?

How the findings of QS Solutions’ Global Overview supports HelloUni software as a service:

The QS Solutions paper is based on a 2015 sample of 1800 students across 15 cities and 11 countries.

Foreign students worldwide increased by 50% between 2005 and 2012 reaching over 5 million in 2015. China and India are the largest provider of international students. Other leaders include France, Malaysia and the US. Emerging markets like Indonesia and LATAM are also predicted to rise with young populations and strong government subsidies supporting international study. In the US it is typically cheaper to study abroad than locally. Consequently this data supports our business plan to prioritise the Chinese market in the short term with a view to expanding to India, USA, Malaysia and further afield in the coming years.

Motivations for Studying Abroad:

Data indicates that, worldwide, students are motivated to study abroad to increase their employment opportunities and for personal development. Our app provides funding and scholarship information in a streamlined, user friendly format. We also incorporate local partners such as banks, accommodation and travel providers to give students super localised, real-time  information on what local life is like all in one place.

Chinese and Indian students identified their motivation to improve their international communication skills as a key pull factor. Communication is at the heart of our products helping universities to communicate with prospective applicants and connecting students with the university community.

American students are highly motivated to develop their network outside the US to increase future career opportunities.  Our forums and live Q&A help bring students into the university community and forge meaningful connections before they even make their application, inciting them to go on to select your institution forming an emotional connection.

In developing countries, there is a clear desire to study abroad at prestigious, internationally recognised institutions. For this reason our app displays QS world rankings and has the functionality to sort by varying categories from student satisfaction to research and facilities.  

All students indicated that rankings cannot be used alone to make a decision. They want information from multiple sources confirming the same message. Our products provide opinions from fellow students, alumni and professors, streamline social media and university content in one place. This will ultimately help students to accelerate the decision making process and push them towards the deposit paying stage faster than they would have reached it organically, minimising frustration, missed deadlines and dropped applications.

There is a global demand for access to peer to peer review and the ability to reach out to peers and gain their personal support. In the QS paper, LinkedIn is cited as a tool that students use to try and reach out, often unsuccessfully or with delayed effects, due to people not checking their emails regularly or inputting a misspelt or old email address.

Worldwide there is frustration with university websites which leave negative impressions and can be overwhelming especially for non native speakers. The personal approach and face to face interaction generated the most positive feedback. For us, personalisation is essential for user retention and also to allow universities to capture user data. We are also developing a personal application assistant using AI and machine learning for maximum personalisation. We offer in app virtual interviewing as a feature, virtual open days and direct contact with ambassadors all including elements of face to face interaction.  Virtual tours are in high demand as people often cannot travel to attend open days in advance of their start date.

Data shows that in China and India teaching can be highly theoretical and students study abroad seeking a more practical education to put their knowledge into practice. Chinese PhD students want to access advanced facilities like laboratories. Some students outlined a desire to have more freedom in their research topics and hoped they could achieve this by studying abroad. Many students aim to access specialised courses that are not available in their home country.

A PhD student from China explains that some subjects are considered Western because they came from outside China, like anthropology. It is considered advantageous to study this type of subject in a more mature environment. Students can be wary of new courses running for the first time. Chinese students also stressed a desire to bring back lessons to China from European finance hubs.

Many international students are looking forward to the independent ‘self-study’ style popular in the UK with less contact hours. English speaking countries continue to be favoured and many young applicants cite their inspiration coming from English speaking media. Some students also refer to Snapchat Stories, a looped video accessible to all users anytime, as the reason behind choosing a particular location. This type of authentic and natural communication inspires trust and is seen as reliable. At HelloUni we hold bi-weekly live streaming sessions for our student community exploring topics about international study and university life. Livestreaming and our social media presence makes the HelloUni brand an equally trusted voice and source of information to compare with Snapchat, Youtube etc. .  

International students value a university that supports them in integrating into the local community and helps them access internships and part time jobs. Our app will collaborate with local partners to allow students to communicate with potential employers in real time on their mobile. This invitation to collaborate can also be extended to any other service used by the student community, from banks to accommodation providers, food outlets and travel agents.

So given that students have already indicated they want to see the same message conveyed by multiple sources to create credibility and that rankings will undoubted by one of the reference points they use in their decision making process, how do students use this data? Students prefer to see subject specific global rankings followed by global university ranking but place less importance on national rankings.

With the graduate job market becoming increasingly competitive Chinese students hope that a famed institution will give them the edge over other job candidates. The first question from potential employers is often, “Which university did you attend?” as opposed to querying GPA or subject choice.

Students believe a higher ranking implies more resources, better teachers, high quality education and being surrounded by driven, ambitious students. They believe that being surrounded by likeminded individuals will motivate them to work harder and develop better communication skills. Findings also suggest people will compromise their course choice in favour of a high ranking university.

In addition to corroboration between different sources, students place the utmost value on goodwill and personal feedback. They would like to receive word of mouth recommendations and personal advice from friends, family, tutors and other students, ideally from trusted students and tutors from their home university. Online forums like ChaseDream (China) and Erasmusu (Europe) are popular.

The data confirms our long time belief that there is a global need for an intuitive software that facilitates the study abroad process and gives students confidence in their decision making process, working closely with universities to provide a bespoke solution.

HelloUni is a customisable, mobile partner providing a wide range of bespoke features to enhance the application journey ultimately increasing conversion:

Some examples of our features:

  • Prospectus
  • Funding Search
  • Ambassador Programme
  • Forum
  • Live Q&A
  • Application Journey Checklist
  • Push Notifications
  • Virtual Open Days
  • In App Interviews
  • App Personalisation
  • Gamification

Let us know your thoughts at HelloUni!

hellouni – the Match.com of Universities

hellouni is an innovative mobile app founded by students for students making study abroad easier. We see ourselves as the dating app of universities helping international and domestic students meet their dream universities, courses and scholarships on their mobile phones.

There is no doubt that this has been the decade of dating apps with over a billion matches created on Tinder and global market demand for the app to be available in 30 languages. At hellouni we are ready and waiting to find the perfect match for the five million students who study abroad worldwide every year.

A quick scan of the App Store puts Tinder at no. 68 in the paid app chart, next to international heavy weights such as Outlook, BBC iPlayer, Groupon and Gumtree. The hellouni app offers a communication tool, showcases university content, and helps students access discounts from trusted partners – combining small elements of all three of these well known student essentials, it won’t be long before hellouni is the first item on every student’s checklist.

Going back to Tinder, what is even more impressive is their no.1 spot on the top grossing chart, which is dominated by dating apps, Match.com at 18, Badoo at 19, Plenty of Fish at 21 and Zoosk at 29. Typically we see paid, subscription based apps like Spotify and Netflix dominate these charts given that they generate money from advertising in addition to their service charge, but that is why it’s so impressive to see a free app like Tinder, generating money only through advertising and premium versions of the app. Our app hellouni is 100% free to use – the app is made for students but anyone can access it whether they are a parent, work in education or are from the press.

Additionally, Spotify and Netflix are products designed for ongoing use, over a user’s lifetime. Tinder competes, and wins, with a value proposition that lasts only a short time and renders the app defunct once it serves it purpose, finding your match. Our hellouni app is somewhere in the middle – although it can serve its purpose, helping students find the right course in minutes with our smart course recommendation feature, it can also serve as a valuable research tool to manually search for courses in detail over time, a year or two in advance of making your application for those of us who like to be prepared!  Post application, the app is still a handy portal to connect with other students and trusted student services and communities which are an essential part of the application process, like paying your fees, planning your trip and booking accommodation. Finding these partners through the hellouni app means you know you can trust them, and you will be able to see reviews from other students who have gone through the same experience as you.

hellouni create customised software solutions for students and universities, our leading product is a first in the market mobile app to simplify the complex university application process for international and domestic students. We see it as the Match.com of universities, helping students find their dream institution and get the most out of their study abroad experience. Like Match.com, we use user data and machine learning algorithms to calculate the best possible match for the individual user. Like Match.com our user friendly and streamlined design means that you can use the app with ease, on the move, with minimal time input. Like Match.com, you might be happy with your first match and your undergraduate degree, or you want to keep using the solution a second and third time for your postgrad!

Most importantly, like Match.com, we help students connect with the university community online, so they can have a great relationship offline, helping ambitious young people get the most out of their university experience.

“I’m very proud hellouni is launching our own consumer facing app – the Match.com for international applicants and their dream universities. This product has received funding and support from various of organisations such as UKTI, Scottish Enterprise, SMART R&D funding, the University of Glasgow and Coventry University. The ambition of the platform is to be the one stop shop for application needs when studying abroad including university and course search, help with applications as well post-application life style support. The launch of the B2C app truly shows the vision of hellouni is to make studying abroad easier and more rewarding for 5 million internationally mobile students.”

Dr Olivia Feng, Founder & CEO ICAN Future Star

Available May 2017, the hellouni app will support prospective applicants worldwide to have an easier and more personalised application journey.

The app is developed by ICAN Future Star Ltd, an education technology company based in Glasgow.  A young but ambitious tech company aims to disrupt the current international recruitment market by developing innovative mobile solutions to empower both universities and applicants worldwide.

The app is available now to download, just search hellouni, don’t forget to leave some feedback for our team with a comment in your app store! https://www.facebook.com/hellouniapp

For more information:





How Artificial Intelligence Can Benefit University Recruitment and Marketing?

How Artificial Intelligence Can Benefit Students and Universities


HelloUni makes study abroad easier through a bespoke mobile solution fostering emotional connections. Our HelloUni solution for students is a personal application assistant helping students throughout the application journey from searching and accessing recommendations to connecting with the student community. Our HelloUni solution for universities is an innovative recruitment and marketing tool to increase conversion rates. Digital transformation and how to achieve it is a hot topic with universities worldwide. Optimising manual administration creates more time to spend on face to face interaction, offline marketing and overall strategy.


B2C – Personal Application Assistant for Students



Before AI: Lengthy research process, difficulty to ascertain best possible fit, overwhelming range of courses and institutions and unmoderated internet content

After AI: Mobile prospectus for on-the-go use with intelligent university/course recommendations based on multivariate equation considering multiple parameters eg. country of origin, gender, age, QS solutions rankings/reports, cultural priorities, IELTS, budget, campus lifestyle, personality, career progression



Before AI: Lack of transparency in student-agent communication

After AI: Students have confidence in their own decisions and make direct applications



Before AI: Advertising not trusted by prospective applicants, high marketing costs

After AI: Accessible peer to peer review and trusted university brand ambassadors



Before AI: Generalised scholarship directory and mass mailing promotion

After AI: Targeted scholarships based on data capture to display only eligible funding



Before AI: Missed deadlines and last minute changes

After AI: Smart calendar autoscheduling key dates in application journey sending auto generated push notifications


B2B – Optimising Recruitment and Marketing for Universities



Before AI: Manual screening by university staff to assess applicant suitability, time consuming, admin heavy and potential for human error, bias or duplication

After AI: AI powered applicant engagement and data capture for enhanced screening process



Before AI: Manual engagement with 30% of prospective student email enquiries to UK universities unanswered

After AI: AI enhanced engagement, automated process that directs queries to appropriate member of staff



Before AI After a student accepts an offer time passes and communication drops until start date, in this time there are often drop-outs

After AI: AI can be used to identify which applicants are more likely to drop out based on communication history and prompt re engagement, reduce likelihood of losing student to competing institution



Before AI: Time consuming scheduling of appointments managed manually by dedicated staff member

After AI: AI schedules meetings without human input, maximise workflow and increase conversion time


By Christina Boididou, Machine Learning Engineer & Ella Louise Finn, Business Development