Deals | China’s top homework-helper app Zuoyebang raises $350m

Online education provider Zuoyebang just closed a US$350 million Series D financing round, led by Coatue Management, according to various Chinese media reports. The new round of investment into the ho

Photo by pan xiaozhen on Unsplash

Online education provider Zuoyebang just closed a US$350 million Series D financing round, led by Coatue Management, according to various Chinese media reports.

The new round of investment into the homework helper app will also include investors such as Goldman Sachs, Primavera Capital, Sequoia China, GGV Capital, Xianghe Capital, Tiantu Investment, New Enterprise Associates, Taihe Capital as well as new and old unnamed shareholders of the company, according to a report by 36Kr, with Taihe Capital being appointed the exclusive financial advisor to the company. 36Kr is the parent company of KrASIA.

Zuoyebang, or “homework help” in Chinese, began as part of Baidu in 2014, and was one of the earliest startups in the online education sector in China. It started on Baidu’s Q&A site Baidu Zhidao, a Yahoo Answers-like site, where users can pay a fee to use the platform and get answers for their homework questions through posting pictures or asking questions. Baidu later spun it out in 2015 as in independent Q&A site, recognising its popularity among primary school and middle-school students.

Its app has since evolved in a way that lets users search for answers to their homework by posting pictures through the app’s image recognition technology. Users are also able to get one-on-one help tutoring services and attend live-streaming courses.

The many uses of Zuoyebang. Photo from Zuoyebang’s iTunes store.

Zuoyebang occupies 70 percent of the K-12 online education market, with close to 70 million monthly active users, calims the company in the report cited by 36Kr. The K-12 online education market in China, where K-12 refers to school children from kindergarten (K) to age 16 to 18 in Grade 12 (12), is expected to grow to 150 billion yuan (US$22.4 billion) in 2022 from 29.9 billion yuan (US$ 4.46 billion) last year, according to research company iResearch Consulting Group.

Hou Jianbin, the CEO and founder of Zuoyebang, told 36Kr that the company intends to focus on developing its technology and improving its content and services going forward.

Editor: Nadine Freischlad