Kaishu Story, a Chinese online children storytelling brand backed by Baidu, has gathered $66 million in a Series C+ round of financing led by China-focused private equity firm TrustBridge Partners.
Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek Holdings, and Shanghai-based private equity company Loyal Valley Capital participated in the investment, Chinese boutique investment bank TH Capital said in a WeChat post on Wednesday. TH Capital served as the exclusive financial advisor of the deal.
The Series C+ round came less than one year after Kaishu Story raised over $50 million in a Series C round led by Chinese internet search giant Baidu. The previous round also attracted capital injections from New Oriental Education & Technology Group, one of the largest private educational services in China, New York-listed TAL Education, and Shanghai-based Kunyan Investment.
Kaishu Story, which means “Uncle Kai tells stories” in Chinese, was founded in 2013 by Wang Kai, a former host at Chinese national television broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).
Beijing-based Kaishu Story primarily provides users aged between zero and 12 with audio-based children story and education content through a mobile app and a WeChat official account. It has so far recorded over 7 billion in total click volume, according to the WeChat post.
The company also offers MP3 and Bluetooth speakers for customers to follow its audio content, as well as parent-and-children curriculums, children’s books, and other reading materials.
The rapid development of Kaishu Story is driven by an increasing number of parents who are more willing to spend money on high-quality education content for their kids. Since the emergence of knowledge payment in China in 2016, the number of users paying for online knowledge in the country has reached 292 million in 2018 and is estimated to stand at 387 million in 2019, according to iiMedia Research.
Upon the completion of the Series C+ round, the six-year-old company has gathered at least $166 million through seven funding rounds. Prior to the Series C round led by Baidu, Kaishu Story raised 156 million yuan ($22 million) in a series B+ round from investors including Kunyan Investment and Loyal Valley Capital in March 2018.
The firm also closed 90 million yuan ($13 million) in a Series B round led by New Oriental Education & Technology Group in late May 2017. Shanghai-listed Zhejiang Daily Digital Culture Group, government-backed Qianhai Equity Investment Fund, and We Capital, the investment vehicle of movie ticketing platform operator Beijing Weiying Technology, were also among investors in its previous rounds.