As one of the hottest verticals in China’s booming online education industry, K-12 education attracted a flock of entrepreneurs and investors last year, and this trend seems set to continue this year.
XueXiBao, a Beijing-based online platform for K-12 education, announced it has landed US$20 million of Series B financing led by SoftBank China Venture Capital and followed by existing backer GSR Ventures, which invested US$3 million in Series A. The company disclosed that it will use the proceeds for product development and expansion.
XueXiBao is an online learning app for middle and high school students in China, helping them to find quick answers to questions.
When students encounter a problem and want to consult others online, their primary concern would be how to show the questions to teachers or fellow students. Powered by home-brew image search technologies, XueXiBao allows users to share the questions by uploading pictures. The app will then recommend corresponding answers in real-time (reportedly within 6 seconds).
Sharing by snapshot is a very useful feature for students, given that most high school questions usually involve hard-to-recognize characters, mathematical symbols and equations. On the other hand, the technology therefore requires higher recognition accuracy.
In the latest 2.0 update, XueXiBao has integrated a voice Q&A feature, which allows students to receive problem solving guidance from teachers within an hour of paying RMB1 (US$0.16).
The company’s CEO Huang Yongtao said that K-12 students have weaker study initiatives compared to adults, so XueXibao targets to construct an online study community to improve the learning process.
Launched in May 2014, XueXiBao is now available on both iOS and Android, covering the subjects of math, physics, chemistry and English. The company claims to have over 15 million registered users and a database of more than 30 million questions. Amongst the users, 20,000 are teachers and the rest are either middle or high school students. The startup currently has over 120 employees with over 50% of them technical staff.
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)