LONDON: Student.com, a global student-housing marketplace that is expanding into regions including the Americas and the Middle East, has hired former Dow Jones chief communications officer Paula Keve as head of communications.
After returning to London and taking a year off for family time following the birth of her third child, Keve connected with Student.com through a mutual connection at Spotify who put her in touch with its former head of special projects and early investor, Shakil Khan. Khan is also cofounder and co-CEO of Student.com.
Student.com was launched by Luke Nolan in 2011 as Overseas Student Living before rebranding in 2015. Nolan met Khan in China, where the two were students studying Mandarin Chinese.
Student.com brought on Keve earlier this year as a consultant to roll out the announcement that it had raised $60 million in an institutional funding round led by Vy Capital. Expa and Horizons Ventures also participated, along with Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra and Spotify founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. The startup asked Keve to stay on permanently about a month later as its head of communications.
Student.com has property listings in 22 countries, including in 239 cities in the U.S. alone, as well as a staff of 200-plus employees. Students in 100 countries use the platform, Keve said.
Keve doesn’t have a team handling communications, but Student.com is supported by Sepia Communications in the U.K. The company is looking to hire a staffer to handle media relations in China.
"There are obvious advantages to working for huge companies, with the infrastructure that comes with it," Keve said. "But now I’m working at a place with two huge, growing markets on either side: the international student market and the student property sector. There’s natural growth in this industry. And that isn’t always the case for legacy companies, which sometimes have to fight industry headwinds."
Although her past positions at Dow Jones and BNP Paribas covered a broad mix of communications, Keve’s core duties at Student.com revolve around media relations, which she said is the company’s most important communications function.
At Dow Jones, Keve had a 15-person team and led media relations and CSR for its products and services, as well as internal communications. In that role, she was named to PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 list in 2014.
Previously, she was head of marketing and communications for BNP Paribas’ equities and commodities group and worked at Bloomberg, when she managed media relations and helped to launch Bloomberg Swap Calculator.
She was also co-chair of the women’s network at BNP Paribas and founding member of the women’s network at Dow Jones.
This story was updated on May 24 to change the number of staffers at Student.com.