Chinese online education company Zuoyebang announced it has raised $1.6 billion in Series E+ funding round led by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tiger Global Management LLC.
Existing investors including SoftBank Vision Fund, Sequoia Capital China and FountainVest Partners also participated in the round, the company said in a statement.
The latest announcement comes months after Zuoyebang raised $750 million in Series E round led by Tiger Global and FountainVest in June.
Launched in 2014 as a program incubated under Chinese search engine giant Baidu Inc. before being spun off in 2015, Zuoyebang offers online courses, live-streaming classes, homework help, and other remote learning services for kindergarten to 12th grade students across the country. Loosely translated as ‘homework assistant,’ Zuoyebang allows students to upload their homework questions and search for answers on its platform. The platform uses artificial intelligence to identify the question and its answers.
Zuoyebang claims to have more than 800 million registered users, with more than 170 million monthly active users, about 50 million daily active users, and 12+ million paid users on its platform. The company also claims that the total number of students for its paid live-streaming courses in fall 2020 have reached more than 10 million, up from 1.3 million in June. Earlier, the Chinese education technology major said it is working with 113 educational organizations and 370,000 primary and high schools across China.
Zuoyebang’s founder, Hou Jianbin, said the company expects online education to continue growing in the longer term, and will invest in K-12 classes and expand its product categories.
The latest funding will help Zuoyebang level the playing field with main rival Yuanfudao, the leading brand for China’s primary and secondary school online courses, which recently raised $300 million from Jack Ma’s private equity investment firm Yunfeng Capital. The Chinese online education major announced in October that it had reached a $15.5 billion valuation after closing two funding rounds worth $2.2 billion. This pushed Beijing-headquartered Yuanfudao ahead of India’s BYJU’S to become the world’s most valuable company in the education technology space.
Meanwhile, the latest funding brings Zuoyebang’s total raised to date to $2.93 billion. While the company did not disclose its latest worth, Reuters recently reported that the company was seeking new funding at a $10 billion valuation. Zuoyebang had previously raised $500 million in a Series D+ round from SoftBank Vision Fund in November 2018. Prior to this, the company had raised $350 million in a Series D round in July 2018 from investors including Goldman Sachs, Coatue Management, GGV Capital, Taihecap, Sequoia China, Primavera Capital, Xiang He Capital, Tiantu Capital, and New Enterprise Associates.