Industry Archives: Education

Chinese Education App XueXiBao Raises $20M Series B From SoftBank And GSR

education XueXiBao, a homework help app, is the latest educational tech startup in China to receive funding. SoftBank China Venture Capital, an arm of the Japanese telecom giant, and returning investor GSR Ventures led a $20 million Series B in the company. Read More

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Chinese Mobile Development Giant NetDragon Raises $52.5M For Its Online Education Business

online education shutterstock NetDragon, one of China’s leading mobile and games development companies, has raised $52.5 million in Series A funding for its online education business from investors including IDG Capital, Vertex Venture, and Alpha Animation, an animation studio based in Shenzhen. The round values NetDragon’s online education subsidiary at $477.5 million. Targeted at students in kindergarten… Read More

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Taiwan-Based Educational App Developer QLL Raises $450,000

TechCrunch

QLL, a Taipei-based developer of educational mobile apps, has raised $450,000 in funding led by B Dash Ventures, with participation from Incubate Fund, Pinehurst Advisors, Viling, and Coent Venture Partners. The startup is an alumnus of accelerator program AppWorks.

Since its launch in 2007, QLL has developed about 150 iOS and Android apps, which it claims have been downloaded 6.5 million times in Taiwan and now have over 300,000 monthly active users. Its products include Pocket Chinese Tutor, which corrects users’ Chinese pronunciations, as well as several bilingual storytelling apps for kids. All of QLL’s apps leverage user analytics to deliver personalized learning sessions.

Now QLL wants to expand into international markets, including Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Canada, and the U.S. with an online platform that will allow educators to develop and exchange digital learning materials, even if they don’t know how to code. The platform will be available on multiple platforms, including mobile devices and smart TVs. QLL will first launch its apps in Singapore as a test market, before moving onto the U.S. and Canada, where it will seek local channel partners. In Indonesia, QLL will likely work with Huawei as a distribution partner.
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Runa Capital leads $2.2 million round in US school admission startup

Runa Capital, a venture firm operating globally from its offices in Moscow and San Francisco, has led a $2.2 million funding round in SchoolMint, a leading provider of mobile and online enrollment systems for US public, charter and private schools.

Several US funds and business angels have also participated in the round: among them are the New School Ventures Fund and Crosslink Capital, as well as education-focused backers.
“Schools currently spend massive amounts of time, money and valuable resources year-round to manage their admissions processes, provide school choices across districts and cities, predict their enrollment numbers and communicate with parents,” explains the US startup.
“Bringing this antiquated system into the digital age, [we] automate the entire process and provide predictive analytics, helping schools achieve their enrolment goals and saving a lot of time and money for schools and parents,” SchoolMint claims.
One of the company’s founders, Jinal Jhaveri, says that the idea came to him while he was enrolling his daughter in kindergarten.
Since launching in 2013, SchoolMint is currently used by hundreds of Public and Charter Schools, enrolling hundreds of thousands of K-12 students. The funding will be used to further expand the SchoolMint team, its product offerings and to increase the SchoolMint footprint to schools across the country.
Launched in 2010 by Sergei Beloussov, Ilya Zybarev and Dmitry Chikhachev, Runa Capital initially focused on Russia. The fund progressively expanded its scope to global investments, following a strong invest-abroad trend among Russian financiers.
In July this year, the company announced the launch of Runa Capital II with a target size of $200 million. Investors at the first closing came from across Europe, Russia and the USA, with large commitments from investors in Runa Capital I. Schoolmint has become the new fund’s first portfolio company.

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Looop, An Online Learning Platform For Employees, Raises $2M To Enter The UK

TechCrunch
Online learning startups are aplenty right now — from heavily-funded U.S-based MOOCS, such as Coursera and Udacity, to more thrifty European players like Iversity and Eliademy — there’s no doubt the edtech space is heating up. Now another startup is throwing its learning wares into the virtual classroom.
Australia’s Loooptopic-editor provides a mobile-friendly platform to enable small-to-medium sized business to deliver training online. Today, the company is disclosing a $2 million seed round from an undisclosed education investor, specifically raised to fuel expansion into the UK, as well as add a native iOS app to its newly-launched app for devices running Android. Looop also plans to make its first forage into the U.S. market, perhaps as soon as next month.
Pitching itself as an easy way to get new or existing company training/learning materials online, in addition to offering tools for tracking and assessment, all in a mobile-friendly format, Looop’s ultimate aim is to disrupt a stale corporate online learning market that relies on outdated desktop software that doesn’t always play well with mobile devices and/or the cloud.
Read more…

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Singapore’s GIC takes 18.5 pct stake in Brazil education firm April

SINGAPORE, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC said on Friday it has acquired an 18.5 percent stake in Brazilian education services company Abril Educacao SA.

GIC did not say how much it paid for the stake in Abril, a leading player in Brazil’s primary and secondary education market. Based on Abril’s latest closing share price, the stake is worth about $265 million. Funds managed by Brazilian buyout firm Tarpon Investimentos in June also took a significant stake in Abril.

GIC has recently stepped up investments in Latin America, recently buying a stake in Brazilian online sports goods retailer Netshoes. It also opened an office in Brazil earlier this year.

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Imperious Group invests $530,000 in Russian-American edutech startup Coursmos

East-West Digital News
Russo-American startup Coursmos, a developer of short online courses, has raised $530,000 from Russian venture fund Imperious Group and business angel Evgeniy Medvednikov.

The funds will be used to develop the platform and to add more staff. Coursmos is also planning to develop new features for the site including a system to recommend courses to users depending on their interests, better search facilities and integration with YouTube and social networking sites.
Coursmos breaks down the traditional Massive Open Online courses (MOOC) on various subjects into smaller courses. The courses offered by the platform are made up of a maximum of seven lectures, each lasting no longer than three minutes. The project’s founders reckon that their solution makes education less time-consuming. Users of the resource can also create courses themselves with the help of an app for smartphones.
The Coursmos project was launched in 2013 by Pavel Dmitriev and Roman Kostochka. The startup has already attracted $840,000.

Financing the project is the Ukrainian business incubator Happy Farm, with whom Imperious Group entered into a cooperation agreement. Coursmos is based in San Francisco. As of June 2014, there are 1,500 courses available on the system, made up of 6,631 mini-lessons.
Imperious Group is a Moscow-based fund, whose initial capital comes from real estate. Focusing on the Internet, mobile apps and e-commerce sectors, it invests actively in Russia and Ukraine. It is currently entering new markets, including Armenia, Israel, India, Baltic States, Europe, the USA and Canada.
This story first appeared in East-West Digital News, a leading online resource on Russian digital industries.

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Interactive app for children KidBook raises $300,000

KidBook, a startup with an interactive library of educational and training multimedia books for children, has raised 10 million rubles (approximately $300,000) in its first round of funding.
The funds, which have been provided by a group of individual investors led by serial entrepreneur Vladimir Kanin, will be used to prepare new content, develop an Android version and invest in marketing.
Launched in 2012, the startup took one year to complete application development and debuted its first books for the Appstore in April 2013.
KidBook claims a reader base of more than 100,000 children for its 17 original books. By the end of this year, the founders plan to release at least 15 new books.
“Multimedia projects are gaining momentum, and the tablet audience is growing rapidly, but the market still lacks quality, and most importantly, profitable applications,” Kanin stated. “KidBook differentiates itself by its in-depth content and a flexible publishing platform. These advantages allowed the founders to reach breakeven in merely one year.”
KidBook’s team consists of 5 people, who are involved in development and marketing. All the creative work is outsourced to a pool of designers, animators, sound producers and composers, among whom the startup selects the most suitable contributors for each project.
The children’s book market in Russia is fragmented with no clear leaders, KidBook founder Evgeny Safonov told East-West Digital News. However, KidBook has two significant competitors with a similar business model: Booclick.ru and Happy Kids App.

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EdTech Europe 2014, London – 12 June

Organised by education technology company Edxus Group and specialist media investment and advisory firm IBIS Capital, EdTech Europe is an exclusive one day summit for senior business executives and investors with an interest in the e-Learning market. Addressing current industry and investment trends in e-Learning and exploring the business of education, it has been designed to act as a catalyst for the consolidation and investment required in the sector.

Supported by media partner, EdSurge, Edtech Europe will bring together established professional learning and education players, innovators disrupting the established market order and leading European institutional investors, attendees will be able to:

•Learn about the latest developments in the professional and academic e-Learning market
•Hear industry executives set out their views and plans to address this fast changing sector
•See the results of some of Europe and the US’s most innovative and growing e-Learning companies, demonstrating new solutions and business models

EdTech Europe also provides a forum to meet industry peers and participate in key discussions that will shape the future of e-Learning. Last year’s event attracted more than 150 senior executives from companies including Index Ventures, Pearson, Apple, McGraw-Hill Education, Time Warner, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sanoma, GEMS Education, Providence Equity Partners, Holtzbrinck, Summit Partners, Macmillan Digital Education, coming from over 15 countries. This year’s event hopes to be even bigger, and will see the addition of a partnership with SXSWedu’s LaunchEdu program, a showcase of the world most innovative Ed Tech businesses.

Key Themes On The Agenda Will Include:
• The need to focus on user engagement
• The transition from MOOCS to “Selective Online Courses”, or SOOCS
• Widespread adoption of BYOD strategies
• The rise of data and analytics to drive adaptive learning programmes
• Mobile, casual & informal learning apps
• Peer-to-peer learning platforms
• Increased use of video and immersive learning environments
• The emergence of learning record stores
• Increased focus on rewards, certification and accreditation
• Large media corporates actively investing in e-Learning
• Continued growth in online-enabled private tuition
• The growing adoption of technology as a delivery mechanism on government-funded vocational skills training market

The winners of the EdTech Europe 20, a ranking of the top 20 most innovative and fastest growing e-Learning companies in Europe, will also be unveiled at the event. Judged by an industry-leading panel, submission criteria are revenue growth, scale, innovation and market impact over the past year.

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Abraaj buys stake in Thai education firm amid political turmoil

HONG KONG, May 26 (Reuters) – Middle East private equity firm Abraaj Group has bought into an education provider in Thailand, betting on a country that last week saw the imposition of military rule after months of wrangling between government and anti-government activists.

Abraaj, which manages $7.5 billion, said in a statement on Monday that it had bought a stake in out-of-school education provider KPN Academy, without disclosing the purchase price. The deal comes at a time of reduced corporate buying-and-selling activity in Southeast Asia’s No. 2 economy, brought about by political instability.

The value of initial public offerings has tumbled 72 percent so far in 2014 from a year earlier to $647.6 million, while that of mergers and acquisitions has fallen 60 percent to $2.8 billion, showed Thomson Reuters data. In April, consumer confidence hit its lowest in over 12 years.

“The rising middle class in Asia, and beyond, is increasingly looking to supplement their family’s education with out-of-school services,” Srisant Chitvaranund, an Abraaj managing director, said in the statement without mentioning the political situation.

Established in 2000, KPN Academy has over 103 centres across Thailand, offering a variety of subjects including Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Social Sciences.

The acquisition is Abraaj’s third in education globally and sixth by its current Southeast Asia Fund.

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