Chinese e-learning app Zuoyebang has secured US$1.6 billion in a Series E+ funding round held in December 2020, from Alibaba Group, Tiger Global Management, SoftBank Vision Fund, Sequoia Capital China and FountainVest Partners. The latest funding brings Zuoyebang’s total raised so far to US$2.93 billion.
Proceeds from the funding round will help the startup to focus on its students from kindergarten to grade 12, and boost its educational and technological investments to strengthen competitiveness.
Founded in 2014 by search engine giant Baidu, it was later spun-off as an independent startup in which Baidu has a stake. Its founder and CEO is Hou Jianbin. Zuoyebang is an online study platform targeting primary and secondary school students in China. It also provides a wide-ranging study tool for school work search, effective practice, learning and discussion. Students can upload a photo, which the platform examines and matches to questions present on its database with the help of artificial intelligence. For questions without solutions, students also get the option to pay for virtual one-on-one sessions to interact with teachers who have partnered with Zuoyebang.
In autumn 2020, the total number of students using the startup’s paid live-stream classes reached approximately 10 million, registering an industry record, it claims. While a lot of the development was caused by the pandemic, Zuoyebang founder Hou Jianbin stated in the startup’s funding announcement that it expects online education to continue rising in the long run, and will therefore invest in K-12 classes and expand its product range.
The startup claims to be China’s largest online education technology company, recording more than 50 million daily active users and more than 170 million monthly active users.
Previously, the startup had raised US$ 750M in a Series E funding round from investors including Tiger Global, FountainVest, SoftBank’s Vision Fund, Sequoia Capital China, Xiang He Capital and Qatar Investment Authority.
About Alibaba Group
Alibaba Group, also known as, Alibaba Group Holding Limited is a Chinese multinational technology company focusing on e-commerce, retail, Internet, and technology. It was founded on 28 June 1999, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang and delivers consumer-to-consumer (C2C), business-to-consumer (B2C), and business-to-business (B2B) sales services through web portals, as well as electronic payment services, shopping search engines and cloud computing services. It also owns and operates a diverse portfolio of companies around the globe in multiple business sectors.
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