China Digest: Edtech startup Codemao nets $35m; Huohua closes Series D+ round

Chinese online coding education provider Codemao has closed 250 million yuan ($35 million) in a Series C+ round of financing, while Huohua Siwei, which offers online mathematics and science education, has raised tens of millions of U.S. dollars in a Series D+ round of financing led by mainland video-sharing app Kuaishou.

Coding education service Codemao nets $35m in Series C+ round

Codemao, a Chinese online education platform that teaches kids programming, has closed 250 million yuan ($35 million) in a Series C+ round of financing led by CMB International, a financial service unit of China Merchants Bank.

Bank of China’s private equity fund Bohai Zhongsheng, Chinese state-owned venture capital firm Guangdong Technology Financial Group, and Shanghai-based private equity firm Sharewin Investment, participated in the deal, according to a recent statement.

The investment, which brought the total capital raised by the startup to 1.25 billion yuan ($176 million), comes less than six months after Codemao secured 400 million yuan ($57 million) in a Series C round led by Russia-China Investment Fund, a private equity vehicle created between sovereign wealth funds in China and Russia in 2012.

Codemao, founded in March 2015 and operated by Shenzhen Dianmao Technology Limited, offers online coding courses to 31.47 million students aged between seven and 16, as well as 11,500 public schools across 23 cities, provinces and autonomous regions in China.

The startup booked revenue of 127 million yuan ($18 million) in March with a nearly three-folded growth compared to the same period in 2019, as fundraising in China’s online education field is gaining momentum because hundreds of millions of students are forced to move their study online during the coronavirus pandemic.

At least $1.38 billion were garnered by Chinese online education companies in the first quarter of 2020, according to proprietary data compiled by DealStreetAsia. The largest of all was a $1-billion Series G round raised by Warburg Pincus-backed online education platform Yuanfudao, which valued the firm at $7.8 billion.

Shenzhen-based Codemao will use the proceeds to increase investment in the development of its courses and platform, as well as the recruitment of teachers.

Some of the startup’s previous backers include Asia-focused private equity firms Hillhouse Capital and SAIF Partners, Hong Kong-based China Everbright Limited, Chinese internet-focused venture capital firm Crystal Stream, Beijing-based mobile apps developer Cheetah Mobile, and China’s GreenPine Capital Partners.

Edtech startup Huohua Siwei raises Series D+ round

Huohua Siwei, a Chinese online K12 mathematics and science education platform, has raised tens of millions of U.S. dollars in a Series D+ round of financing led by an investment unit of mainland video-sharing app Kuaishou.

The investment will enable Huohua to leverage Kuaishou’s AI and live-streaming capabilities, as well as its 300 million daily active users (DAUs) to promote the brand and attract new customers.

Financial details of the deal remained undisclosed, according to a WeChat post from China’s Northern Light Venture Capital (NLVC), an investor of Huohua, on Thursday. But several Chinese publications reported that Huohua raised $30 million in the new round.

Beijing-based Huohua, operated by Beijing Xingengyuan Technology Development Co Ltd, mainly provides AI-powered mathematics, Chinese-language learning, and critical thinking sources for children aged from three to 12. The startup currently has more than 150,000 registered students and over 2,000 teachers, with an average subscription renewal rate of nearly 80 per cent.

Upon the completion of the Series D+ round, Huohua has raised nearly $200 million across six transactions.

The startup closed $85 million in a Series D round in August 2019 at a reported valuation of $500 million. The previous round was led by global venture capital firm GGV Capital, New York-based private equity powerhouse KKR & Co.

Sequoia Capital China, Boston-born investment firm IDG Capital, and a group of Chinese investors like NLVC, Hike Capital, Lightspeed China Partners, and GSR Ventures, all poured money into the Series D round.

In March 2019, the company also completed a $40-million Series C round led by NLVC and Longfor Capital, an investment unit of Hong Kong-listed Longfor Properties.

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.