Chinese online coding learning platform Codemao has raised RMB 400 million (USD 57 million) in a Series C round of financing, and is now working on its strategy for an initial public offering (IPO) in Shanghai’s tech-focused Star Market, announced the firm.
The latest fundraising round was led by the Russia-China Investment Fund (RCIF), with participation from investing firms including Hillhouse Capital Group and SAIF Partners. Existing backers Crystal Stream Capital and New York-listed tech company Cheetah Mobile also returned for the round.
The firm will use the fresh cash to enrich its curriculum and tech-driven services, as well for its plan to list on Star, said Codemao.
Launched in 2015, Codemao, or “code cat” in Chinese, provides programming education to kids between four and 16 years old. It has developed an image-based coding system, dubbed “Kitten,” a Python language editor called “Turtle”, and a mobile coding tool known as “Nemo” designed for school children.
The Shenzhen-based startup says it currently has nearly 32 million users and partners with 11,500 public schools across the country.
Coding education is a rising industry in China. Over 100 companies have been formed to teach computer programming to kids since 2014, according to state media CGTN. Players include Beijing’s Hetao Coding, Beijing’s VIPCODE and Hangzhou’s Ultrabear, among others.
The trend comes as Chinese policymakers are highlighting the desire for coding education at an early age, in an effort to convert the country into a world leader in artificial intelligence and coding.
In total, Dianmao Technology, the creator of Codemao, has raised RMB 1 billion (USD 142 million) in funding. Previously, it announced an RMB 300 million (USD 42 million) fundraising round led by CMB International Capital Corporation Limited last year, and completed another RMB 120 million (USD 17 million) Series B round in 2017.