SoftBank to invest in Baidu education spin-off

By BizClik Admin

SoftBank Vision Fund is reportedly in talks with Chinese education startup Zuoyebang, founded by Baidu in 2014 and spun off in 2015, to invest US$500mn in the growing sector

The startup’s app, aimed at primary and secondary school children in China, allows users to upload homework questions and answers, pay for one-to-one tuition from a partnered teacher, and view online courses and livestreams.

Bloomberg reported that the app already has 300mn registered users, and added that Deloitte projects China’s education market to reach $422bn by 2020.

An investment in Zuoyebang would give Japan’s SoftBank a foothold in this growing market, with the startup holding the potential to become one of China’s major online education providers.

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The SoftBank Vision Fund is the largest technology investor in the world, according to China Money Network, with a pool of almost $100bn.

Chinese firms have seen particular interest from SoftBank Vision Fund, with significant financing already applied to ride hailing startup DiDi Chuxing, food delivery firm, and online insurance company ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co.

In July, Zuoyebang raised $350mn in a Series D funding round led by Coatue Management, with investors including Goldman Sachs and Sequoia Capital China. It raised $25mn, $60mn, and $150mn in its respective A, B, and C funding rounds, meaning SoftBank’s potential investment would push total funding beyond the $1bn mark.


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