Toronto-based Kira Talent is trying to reinvent the process of college and university admissions.
Teams at Kira Talent have developed tools that allow students to tell their story in a more vibrant way to really show their potential to schools in an attempt to improve the admissions application process
Schools can take advantage of Kira Talent tools, such as timed videos and written assessments, to dig deeper into what a particular applicant has to say.
“At Kira, we believe that admissions teams should be assessing the skills of the whole individual, not just the grades and test scores,” Kira Talent CEO Emilie Cushman told Toronto Business Daily.
Cushman said the company was founded through a nonprofit entrepreneurship program in Toronto called Next 36.
“We were fortunate to have incredible mentors through the Next 36 and to be introduced to excellent investors and board members who have shared our vision and helped guide us from the beginning,” Cushman said.
Cushman also described some of the benefits of being based in Toronto.
“We were growing our company just as the Toronto startup scene was starting to bloom,” Cushman said. “The community is vibrant, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. We’ve reaped many of the benefits, as well as the excellent talent located in the (greater Toronto area) and Waterloo. In the early days, most of our team was made up of co-ops, who have always been and continue to be a great resource for us.”
Cushman said Kira Talent works with local schools like universities of Toronto, Waterloo and George Brown College.
Thinking back on the work of building the firm, Cushman said much of the process is very collaborative.
“Running a business is a lot of hard work, and you must constantly be setting more aggressive targets and challenging yourself; however, you also need to be constantly asking for help,” Cushman said. “It’s so important to stay humble as you build a network of amazing people around you. Help others, and they will help you. In the end, you will realize you have an entire community rallying behind your goals and your success.”
Cushman said Kira Talent made a lot of effort related to those partnerships that eventually led to the company's success.
“There were so many opportunities where we could have stopped, or quit or left the game but despite all the ups and downs that come with early stage startups we chose to fight through, and because of that, today we are so strong as a company,” Cushman said. “We’ve had great mentors, investors, and board members guiding us, and we’ve continued to grow our team with people who challenge one another and push us forward. We also have a great product. It’s much easier to rally a team behind a product when they believe in it, and believe in the vision we’re striving towards.”