With the recent signing of the KIWI Act, which allows New Zealand citizens to apply for E-2 treaty investor visas and E-1 treaty trader visas, now is the time for New Zealand entrepreneurs to branch out and start a U.S. based business or bring their existing company to the United States. The U.S. is ripe for innovation, with a thriving economy and a thirst for fresh ideas offered by foreign entrepreneurs. Often, the most innovative ideas are born from young minds, and age is no barrier for those with a real drive to help others and change the world.
Securing Investors; Securing Futures
Two of these young New Zealand entrepreneurs, Jamie Beaton and Sharndre Kushor, founded a business aimed at helping young people like themselves achieve their dreams of earning a degree from top U.S. and U.K. universities when they were just 18. Their company, Crimson Education, reaches out to high school students around the world and connects them with a network of tutors who assist with standardized testing, like the SAT and ACT, provide career mentorship, provide support for obtaining scholarships, and much more. Within its first year, Crimson Education reached its first million in funding, and it is now valued at over $160 million, with about $37 million secured from investors. The company has attracted the attention of investors worldwide, including Chinese venture capitalist Chen Xiaohong. Globally, over 20,000 students now use the company’s network of 2,400 career advisers, teachers, admissions advisers, and academics to advance their scholarly careers.
Changing Lives Through Education
Crimson Education uses a state-of-the-art compatibility algorithm developed by dating website eHarmony.com’s former chief scientist, J. Galen Buckwalter, to pair students with their mentors and ensure they receive the best possible advice for gaining entry to their dream schools. This has generated outstanding results, with one reviewer on Yelp.com calling the service, “…absolutely the best college consulting company,” and another saying, “Crimson literally changed the course of my life.” The company’s website cites impressive outcomes. Between 2013 and 2018, Crimson Education has helped its clients receive 133 offers to attend Ivy League universities, 38 offers to Oxbridge universities, and over 330 offers to other top universities. It also guides its clients through the process of obtaining financial aid, and as of 2018, has helped students receive over $45.7 million in scholarships to top schools including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth, and many others.
Global from the Get-Go
Crimson Education’s user base is truly global, with students primarily hailing from New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, China, Vietnam, Thailand, and South Korea. These U.S.- educated students typically achieve excellent results, and many have already gone on the become entrepreneurs themselves. Their time in the United States as students will undoubtedly pave the way for some of them to obtain visas in the future and spearhead further growth in the U.S. economy as immigrant entrepreneurs.
Crimson Education’s global takeover of the education consulting industry is well underway after only five years in business, and it has recently opened satellite locations in Munich, Zurich, Cape Town, and Singapore. It already has four offices in North America and, despite fierce competition from mainstays like the Princeton Review and Kaplan, Crimson Education is rapidly gaining traction.
From Model UN to Millionaire Power Couple
Crimson Education’s rapid climb to success would be an impressive feat for any entrepreneur, but Jamie Beaton, the Chief Executive, and Sharndre Kushor, the Chief Operating Officer’s resumes would be astounding even if they were not the founders of a multi-million-dollar company. The pair met at age 18 when they were both selected to be part of a small group representing New Zealand in a Model United Nations event in The Hague, Netherlands. They were immediately impressed by each other’s drive and ambition and hatched the plan to start an education consulting company over coffee while touring Europe. Beaton, who completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard and who is studying full-time for his MBA at Stanford Business School, still finds the time to fulfill his role at Crimson Education. Kushor handles the bulk of the New Zealand operations and currently juggles her time between the head office in Auckland and Crimson Education’s 23 other global locations.
Despite their often-tremendous geographic distance, the two maintain a close romantic relationship and make a lasting impression the second they enter any boardroom. “We’d sit down in these boardrooms, and everyone would be triple our age, lots of white hair and beige,” says Jamie. “We’d turn up, and they’d think we were the assistants or the interns.” Despite their youth, the two maintain a 45% stake in the business. Currently, their ownership interest is valued at about $72 million, and their natural prowess and willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals is undeniable.
Expanding to the U.S.
Although Crimson Education already has four U.S. – based offices, Beaton currently resides there as a student and will have to apply for a different visa upon graduation if he wishes to stay and grow the business. If Kushor decides to join him, she will also require a visa. For potential foreign entrepreneurs with impressive international resources and demonstrated investment, the E-2 treaty investor visa would be an excellent choice if the couple decides to make the United States their home base. Because most of the universities their clients seek to attend are in the U.S., and because Beaton has attended two top U.S. universities himself, a physical presence in the country could make all the difference when interacting with universities and securing more highly qualified academic mentors. Obtaining an E-2 visa would save Kushor travel time, as she would be able to more easily reach a larger number of the company’s offices. The E-2 is ideal for entrepreneurs working on a global scale, like Kushor and Beaton, because of its flexibility. E-2 visa holders can travel outside of the U.S. and as frequently as needed. As long as Crimson Education continues to meet the E-2 requirements, their visas could be renewed indefinitely.
No matter what Jamie Beaton and Sharndre Kushor decide to do as Crimson Education expands (or what visa they might decide to apply for), their drive to achieve greatness is an inspiration to all aspiring New Zealand entrepreneurs. They are exceptional young people with uncommon talent and motivation, and, thanks to the KIWI Act, they are now eligible to take a logical next step and transition Crimson Education to the United States.