Tianjin-based edtech firm Shaonian Dedao has raised nearly RMB 200 million (USD 29.6 million) in a Series B round led by Vision Knight Capital, dealmaker Lighthouse Capital told KrASIA on Wednesday.
The Hangzhou-based venture capital firm Toutou Shidao and Tsinghua Holdings-backed THU Capital also joined this round, along with existing investors China Growth Capital, Everbright Limited, and Frees Fund.
The round comes at a time when investors are betting heavily on the booming online education sector on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which hundreds of millions of Chinese students were kept out of campus to learn online at home.
While recent startups such as Huohua Siwei and Zhangmen gained investors’ favor with a focus on visual content—whether pre-recorded or livestreamed—the Shaonian Dedao app mainly provides pay-to-listen in-house-developed audios.
Its content covers subjects including Chinese, English, science, history, and geography for pre-school kids, as well as primary and middle-school students, targeting parents who are concerned that their children stare too much at screens and therefore prefer audio content.
The Shaonian Dedao app has gained 3 million registered users in total since its launch in April 2018, making it one of the fastest growing platforms in the online education sector.
The company has also rolled out a livestreaming course called Quanling’s Chinese Class in March 2019, which is co-developed by Zhang Quanling, CEO and chairman of Shaonian Dedao. Zhang, who worked for China’s state broadcaster between 1997 and 2015 as a reporter and hostess, is well known in China.
Aside from Shaonian Dedao, which is more examination-oriented, Beijing-based Kaishu Jianggushi—also known as Kaishu Story—similarly focuses on audio content for kids. The company closed its USD 66 million Series C+ round led by Trust Bridge Partners and joined by Singapore-based Temasek in February.