CollegeVine Announces Expanded Leadership Team and New Advisory Board Directors


In a move that signals further growth and momentum in the edtech space, CollegeVine, a national online provider of student mentoring and college admissions guidance for high schoolers and their families, today announced the hiring of Kara O'Toole, former COO, Grand Circle Travel as vice president of operations joining the leadership team; Maria Matveeva, former head of design, DockYard Design as Director of Design, and two new advisory board members: Stephen Smith, co-founder of college readiness software provider, Naviance, and Dr. Anne Bryant, executive director, Emeritus, at the National School Boards Association (NSBA).

"These new hires are a direct result of our momentum and growth and we were anxious to get them in place in advance of 2018," said Jon Carson, CEO, CollegeVine. "We are on track to nearly quadruple our topline volume this year while we doubled our Series A to $6.7m in March with $3.6m additional funds from Morningside Technology Ventures and University Ventures. Kara and Maria will help grow our operations and product design as we continue to address the change that needs to happen to in high school guidance and the college admissions process. Stephen brings more than two decades worth of experience in entrepreneurship and the edtech industry, and Anne is well connected to K-12 and higher education national organizations. I couldn't think of more qualified leaders to help guide CollegeVine's growth."

O'Toole most recently was COO of a $350m division of Grand Circle Travel where she was responsible for nearly 500 contact center and project management professionals, overseeing a $60m annual budget. She will lead the company's operations team as it looks to disrupt the way students apply to college, while lessening the stress of the process.

"CollegeVine is in a unique position where they are using massive amounts of data to help students connect with schools that are best for them," said Kara O'Toole, vice president of operations, CollegeVine. "CollegeVine has seen a fourfold increase in revenue/clients in 2017. It's an exciting time to join the team."

As Director of Design at DockYard, one of Boston's top design firms, Matveeva oversaw a team of four and helped dozens of clients create digital products and tell their stories."

"The vision that CollegeVine's co-founders Zack Perkins, Johan Zhang and Vinay Bhaskara share is inspiring as a designer," said Maria Matveeva, director of design, CollegeVine. "With how quickly CollegeVine is growing, my goal is to ensure its products continue to delight users by helping them regain control during one of the most important periods in a family's life."

Smith was most recently president and chief product officer at Hobsons where he oversaw global product strategy, marketing, policy and research, and R&D, serving more than 12 million students and 12,000 schools, colleges, and universities in more than 100 countries. He will support the CollegeVine team as it refines its products, business model and operating plan.

"What stood out to me as a major differentiator for CollegeVine is its near-peer mentorship model," said Smith. "I think CollegeVine is in a strong position to give students and their families more confidence by building relationships between kids and mentors that can help to alleviate some of the stress that comes with the complexity of the college search and application process."

As the Executive Director of the NSBA, Dr. Bryant's team represents state associations of school boards and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. Her connections and education experience will help guide CollegeVine's pro-bono work and advise students from all different backgrounds.

"CollegeVine is poised to be the market leader with an extensive amount of data, state-of-the-art software and a successful method for near-peer mentorship," said Bryant. "The dedication that CollegeVine's co-founders have in transforming the college admissions process for all, coupled with the knowledge, experience and reach of veteran entrepreneur Jon Carson, is a sustainable formula for success."

About CollegeVine

CollegeVine is a leading provider of one-on-one mentorship, academic and test prep tutoring, and college applications guidance. The company features an expansive network of near-peer advisors at the nation's top universities­­—their experience representing more than 20 different majors, substantial extracurricular activities and far-ranging success. For more information, visit

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