China Digest: Edtech platform 51CTO nets $20m; Guorou raises over $14m

Chinese online IT technical training platform 51CTO has closed $20 million in a Series C round of financing led by Gaocheng Capital while another player in the same sector Guorou, which targets students from primary to senior schools, has raised over 100 million yuan ($14 million) across two rounds.

Online IT technical training platform 51CTO secures $20m

Chinese online IT technical training platform 51CTO has closed $20 million in a Series C round of financing led by private equity player Gaocheng Capital.

Set up in 2005, 51CTO serves as an online platform for Chinese IT professionals to access technical education, as well as IT-related knowledge and information. The company claims to have about 17 million professional users, over 3,000 teaching personnel, and 15,000 internet-focused online courses. Each user purchases an average of four online courses per year.

“The digital and technological innovation of enterprises will become the main driving force behind China’s future economic development, while the education for technical professionals is the key to promote such innovation,” said Hong Jing, founding partner of Gaocheng Capital, in a statement on Monday (February 17).

Gaocheng Capital was founded in March 2018 by Jing, former partner of Hillhouse Capital. Gaocheng, which manages RMB and USD-denominated funds, has backed companies like Chinese e-commerce service provider Youzan, Shanghai-based AI firm YITU Technology, and Guangzhou-based business intelligence solutions provider Smartbi.

The new investment will be used to finance the R&D of 51CTO’s online education system and content to help clients realize digital transformation and talent upgrades, said the company founder and CEO Xiong Ping in the same statement.

51CTO raised over 100 million yuan ($14 million) in a Series B round led by Chinese private equity firm Huakai in October 2016. The company also received over 100 million yuan in a Series A round from China-focused asset manager TrustBridge Partners in November 2015.

Online K12 education startup Guorou raises over $14m

Guangzhou Guorou Education Technology, an online K12 education startup backed by Hong Kong-listed Beststudy Edu, has raised over 100 million yuan ($14 million) in Series A and A+ rounds.

Beijing-based seed fund ZhenFund, and Crystal Stream Capital, which specializes in the internet and TMT industries, invested in the Series A round. Toutou Shidao New Media Fund, a culture and entertainment-focused fund jointly launched by Matrix Partners China’s partner Cao Guoxiong, also poured money in the round, said Crystal Stream Capital in a WeChat post on Tuesday (February 18).

The Series A+ round was backed by Welight Capital, an investment company founded by Tencent co-founder Wu Xiaoguang.

Guangzhou-based Guorou mainly offers live-streaming services to students ranging from primary to senior schools. The company, which currently delivers services in southern China, claims to have a hundred thousand paying users.

The company plans to use the proceeds to expand into other cities in the nation.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.