Robert Furtado: CourseCompare Is Canada’s Marketplace for Education

CourseCompare is Canada’s marketplace for education. We help prepare people for the future of work by connecting them to the right courses and training programs based on their career goals and learning needs.

Our platform will match a million people to thousands of programs at colleges, universities and coding bootcamps in 2022.

Tell us about yourself?

The vision for CourseCompare came together while I was a marketing agency executive consulting for clients in the higher education space. At the time, I was also teaching undergraduate students part-time about all things marketing and digital media.

It was clear to me back then that there was a disconnect between North America’s future skills needs and what was being taught at many colleges and universities.

I also noticed new players edging their way into the market, from coding bootcamps to Silicon Valley startups and tech behemoths like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

In 2018, I created CourseCompare to help people make sense of the changing education landscape, identify the most in-demand skills, and accelerate their careers by making it easier than ever to find the right programs and courses.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Continue to listen to your audience and maintain close connections to them. Listening closely to prospective students and college and university partners has, more than anything, allowed CourseCompare to fine-tune its platform and services. As a result, we’ve enjoyed considerable growth — even through a global pandemic.

What problem does your business solve?

CourseCompare helps tens of thousands of people each month identify the most in-demand skills, while simplifying the college application process for Canadian and international students alike.

Our users have access to hundreds of admissions teams at institutions across Canada and beyond with a few simple clicks of a button.

We are also changing the way colleges and universities recruit students, with smart, transparent and efficient digital solutions that leverage our platform and the rich digital tools and analytics it makes available to our partners.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Teaching undergraduates while consulting for colleges and universities, especially as someone with experience building digital products, gave me a powerful perspective on the future of higher education.

At the same time, I found it difficult to help my own interdisciplinary team find the best training opportunities.

CourseCompare was born out of the confluence of these realities: A desire to make higher ed easier to navigate while understanding the challenges colleges and universities themselves were facing as they planned for an uncertain future.

What is your magic sauce?

It sounds cliché, but we start by listening to our users. A lot of companies merely pay lip service to this idea; we literally advise thousands of learners every year, carefully documenting their pain points to understand how we can solve the problem of matching people to in-demand careers and training opportunities at scale.

I think we do other things right, too: We’re agile and constantly implementing and testing new ideas.

The team is also highly interdisciplinary in its approach, with journalists working alongside digital marketers, designers, data analysts, and full-stack developers, for example. This allows everyone to approach problems with the kind of vulnerable curiosity that leads to great questions and insights.

Finally, we hire great people: smart and experienced professionals who believe in CourseCompare’s mission and are themselves committed to lifelong learning.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

CourseCompare will serve a million users in 2022. The next several years will focus on continuing to grow our global reach while expanding the range of digital services we offer students and education providers.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The pandemic itself created considerable uncertainty in the higher education space — but also opportunities for companies with a trusted brand and a strong digital presence.

CourseCompare has evolved its product features and partnerships to cater to a market that has matured in its understanding of “online education.” In general, it’s this willingness to move with the market and not cling too tightly to what “worked yesterday” — in addition, of course, to a great team — that has contributed to our growth and success.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

CourseCompare continues to work with colleges, universities and other organizations, including not-for-profits, that are invested in helping people advance their careers in a fast-changing digital economy. To learn more, visit

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