INSIGHTS | Bytedance’s edtech play

5 min read
Bytedance HQ (Image credit: Technode)

I was mildly surprised last week to hear that Tencent is pulling out of a funding deal with edtech darling Vipkid, known for one-on-one remote tutoring. Sources close to the deal told Reuters that Tencent had already given verbal agreement, but changed course after stricter regulations for online education came into effect. Reuters reported that Vipkid was seeking funding at a valuation of $4.5 billion. The company’s previous round valued them at $3 billion.

The new regulations, issued in July, mandate that not only must all teachers on a platform have teaching qualifications, the platforms must also publish them along with teachers’ work experience. On top of that, over the last year, key management personnel as well as a large number of foreign staff have left as the company struggles to turn a profit.

Companies like Vipkid, however, represent only a small fraction of the edtech market. Similar to verticals like

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