HK edtech startup Snapask raises $35m to grow SE Asia business

Timothy Yu, founder and CEO of Hong Kong edtech startup Snapask

Hong Kong-based education technology brand Snapask has closed $35 million in a new funding round led by Singapore-based private equity firm Asia Partners.

Intervest Star, a co-GP fund of South Korean Intervest and Kejora Ventures, as well as Snapask’s existing shareholder Ondine Capital participated in the investment, according to a statement obtained by DealStreetAsia.

Upon the completion of the deal, Snapask will continue to focus on the development of data analytics products and video learning content, as the company targets to further grow its business in Southeast Asia and to expand into new markets including Vietnam. The startup also plans to open its regional headquarters in Singapore.

“Snapask is a clear illustration of Asia Partners’ focus in solving the growth capital funding gap for tech companies in Southeast Asia,” said Nick Nash, co-founder and managing partner of Asia Partners, in the statement.

“The company has already demonstrated a strong product-market fit in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore and is already successfully expanding in emerging markets like Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. The company exemplifies our interest in humble ‘Rhinos’, which focused on sustainable growth with a clear path to profitability,” said Nash.

Established in 2015 by Hong Kong entrepreneur Timothy Yu, Snapask started as the operator of a mobile app that matches students with questions to quality tutors for instant one-on-one learning sessions. Dubbed as the “Uber for tutoring,” the startup promotes a personalized, self-directed learning process in which the student can upload a picture of the problem and get connected to a tutor in around 17 seconds.

The four-year-old company has expanded offerings to deliver teaching videos and courses covering most topics in university entrance exams, as well as AI-enabled learning progress tracking and analysis solutions. The firm also operates after-school self-study space and offline classes in Hong Kong, Taipei, and Seoul.

“Snapask is not only leveraging fragmented education resources, but also developing AI-enabled, low-cost, tailor-made education,” said Randolph Hsu, founding partner of Ondine Capital.

The company has served over three million students in eight Asian territories: Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, and South Korea.

It has built a strong market presence in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore in the past three years, where it claimed that about 20-60 per cent of the total student population aged between 10 and 17 have registered and experienced the service.

Yu, founder and CEO of Snapask, said: “We will continue to invest in both products and content to meet students’ learning needs, focusing on the promotion of self-directed learning and creating environments in which students can compete and cooperate with peers. More collaborations with schools and education institutions are also part of our roadmap, leveraging data to unveil blind spots in learning, and help teachers and students design individualized learning paths.”

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.