Zookal, a Sydney-based edtech firm that provides online educational materials and videos to university students, has raised A$15 million (US$9.8 million) in a Series B equity funding round to scale its operations in Southeast Asia.
The round was led by existing investors Koh Boon Hwee, former chairman of Singapore Airlines, and Bernard Sabrier, chairman of Geneva-based Unigestion, with participation from Singapore-listed construction and property development firm Wee Hur Holdings. With the latest funding, Zookal has raised a total of A$25 million (US$16.5 million) in capital till date.
Founded in 2011, Zookal is a global student support platform that provides a variety of products and services to help students’ university life easy. It aims to help students save time and money and make education more affordable and accessible. The company is specialized in the renting and sale of university textbooks, both new and second hand.
Zookal strives to help improve student’s lives by providing them the best educational tools they can get access to. While the company started off by renting out physical textbooks to university students, it expanded to offer e-textbooks, digital videos, course materials, and other services through its digital platform. Zookal claims to have served over 750,000 users across Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines over the past eight years.
Highlighting its future plans, Ahmed Haider, co-founder and CEO of Zookal, said in a statement,
“Southeast Asia is a very attractive market, with our digital users growing to 300,000 in just eight months. Our goal is to reach 10 million students in the comings years as Asia comes online by making education more affordable and accessible to them.”
The company plans to use the fresh funds to expand its operations in Southeast Asia. It also plans to use the funds to make strategic hires and triple the size of its engineering team.
According to Haider, Zookal recorded a revenue of A$25 million in 2019, and is on track to reach A$35 million this year, growing at an annual growth rate of 264 percent from 2015 to 2019.
Commenting on the investment, Goh Yeow Lian, Chairman of Wee Hur Holdings, said,
“Our investment in Zookal is driven by the fact that both organizations are focused on delivering the best education experience for tertiary students. At Wee Hur, we always aim to be ahead of the curve and we are excited to be working with the team at Zookal and partnering them to help make student learning effortless, which in turn will support innovation in the education sector as a whole.”
Having started the company to positively impact the lives of university students and quickly grown to serve hundreds of thousands of students in Australia, the company said on its website, it has now dreamed of even bigger goals – leveraging technology to enhance the modern university experience for students.
Zookal is also backed by Aayush Phumbhra, the co-founder of New York-listed American edtech firm Chegg, and members of Australian telco TPG Telecom’s Teoh family.