Sequoia-backed Xigua Chuangke, which sells online programming courses, raises USD 21 million

Basic computer programming skills are now considered a must-have for children.

Photo: Tuchong

Hangzhou-based Chinese startup Xigua Chuangke which sells online courses on programming to children between seven and 12 years old, announced on its WeChat public account that it has closed its Series B financing round, collecting RMB 150 million (USD 20.9 million) from investors.

Xigua means “watermelons” while Chuangke means “creators” in English.

US-listed English-teaching company New Oriental Education led this round, while previous investors including Sequoia Capital China and Martrix Partners China provided additional funds. The startup’s current valuation is not known.

New funds will be used to improve Xigua Chuangke’s current courses, upgrade learning evaluation and artificial intelligence-aided teaching systems, as well as building more active learning communities.

The company sells these courses created in-house for as low as RMB 99 (USD 14) to teach entry-level kids on how to use Scratch, a free programming language, to make cartoons or games.

“Computer language has become a new skill that people need to learn in general. In the future, most children will have to deal with computers. Xigua helps children learn programming, understand science and technology, and prepares them with the ability to combine science and technology with the industries,” Yu Minhong, founder and chairman of New Oriental, told 36Kr.

“We are optimistic about Xigua’s management team, its teaching products and business model, and we are full of confidence in the competitiveness and investment potential of Xigua,” he added.

Xigua has gained more than 1 million users worldwide learning its free courses while another 0.3 million pay for more advanced courses, according to 36Kr, citing the company’s internal data.

A total of 3% of these users are from overseas. 50% of the users from outside China are from the United States.

36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company.