Education platform VIPKID has announced $100 million USD in series C funding from existing investor Sequoia Capital and new investor Yunfeng Capital, the VC firm co-founded by Alibaba founder Jack Ma.
It comes at a time when China’s education online education market is attracting healthy inflows of capital despite an increasingly risk-averse VC market.
VIPKID is a platform that offers one-on-one language instruction for the Chinese market, targeting children between the ages of five and twelve. The company says they will funnel the new capital into curriculum and product development, content, customer service and improving teaching standards.
“The rapid spread of broadband in China has made it possible to bring one-to-one English and broader curriculum learning directly to families throughout the country at an affordable price level,” said VIPKID CEO Cindy Mi in a statement.
China’s elementary and high school education system puts intense pressure on parents to intervene in early learning. Acceptance to universities hinges on success in the final school exam, or ‘Gaokao’, which attracts masses of media attention annually due to the extreme pressure it places on students and their families.
It’s the same high-pressure culture that has caused extracurricular learning services – both online and offline, to thrive. One of the country’s largest online education firms, China Online Education Group (also known as 51talk) listed on the NYSE last month with positive initial gains.
VIPKID claims to currently have over 3,000 North American teachers on their platform and say they are currently growing at a rate of 1000 percent year-over-year. The company launched an “entirely new” curriculum alongside the new investment, and is now available on iOS as well as Android.
It’s by far the largest round ever secured by the firm, and brings their total funding amount to $125 million USD. Previous investors include Innovation Works, Matrix Partners, and Northern Light Venture Capital. A spokesperson for VIPKID confirmed to Technode that there will be further investors announced within this round.