Let’s talk school.
Earlier today, the Information reported that China-based education startup Yuanfudao may have raised $250 million more from Tencent at a $2.8 billion valuation.
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The country is home to a host of ed-tech startups aiming to bring kids (and their parents) onto their platforms. And as long as there is a digital angle and a focus on language learning or homework, it seems that China’s increasingly influential VCs and corporate investors are willing to make (big) bets.
If you’re an English speaker who has lived in China, this hype may not come as a surprise. You’ve probably met someone who has tutored or taught English (or done it yourself). While living in Beijing, I was approached multiple times by parents in Starbucks who wanted to know if I taught English. Now that startups have moved in on the space, that could make those transactions more official and accessible.
A few key players in the education market include Knowbox (or Zuoye Hezi which directly translates to “homework box”), a mobile app focused on homework management; 17zuoye (which is a play on the Chinese Pinyin “yiqi zuoye” which means “homework together” or “work together”), which focuses on English and Math; Baidu-owned Zuoyebang (“homework help”), which recently scored a $350 million Series E from its investors; and VIPKID, which raised half a billion earlier this year.
To give you an idea of how fast these education-focused companies have fundraised, we tracked a few of the companies’ investment cadences (including Yuanfudao’s unconfirmed round) below. With corporate investors and traditional VCs like Sequoia Capital China moving in, these startups have quite the war chests to take over China’s ed tech space.