Luilishuo, the AI-powered English language learning app created and operated by Chinese artificial intelligence firm LAIX Inc, raised $71.9 million by offering 5.72 million American depositary shares (ADS) in its lower-than-targeted US initial public offering.
The company first filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $100 million to finance research and development and to continue to invest in and develop its technologies.
A Bloomberg report in July forecast the company to raise as much as $300 million.
On Thursday, LAIX, which is backed by IDG Capital, Trustbridge Partners, GGV Capital, and CMC Capital Partners, raised $71.9 million after pricing its ADS at $12.50, the midpoint of the $11.50 to $13.50 range. It plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “LAIX”.
LAIX introduced its flagship English language learning app Liulishuo, which provides English learning courses and services, in 2013.
Liulishuo, which means “speaking fluently” in Mandarin, was co-founded in 2012 by Wang Yi, a Princeton graduate and former product manager at Google.
“Since our inception in 2013, we have built our AI-powered Liulishuo platform to deliver a user-centric, personalized and effective English learning experience accessible to anyone, anywhere, at any time,” LAIX disclosed.
As of June 30, 2018, LAIX said it had 83.8 million cumulative registered users in China and globally.
English language learning represents one of the most attractive and promising sectors in China’s education market. It is estimated that there were 438 million English language learners in China in 2017, and the demand for English learning products and services continues to grow as more and more people aspire to improve their language skills.
Financially, LAIX reported a substantial increase in revenues last year. From Rmb12.3 million ($1.8 million) in 2016, the company’s revenue increased to Rmb165.6 million (US$25.4 million) in 2017, and also from Rmb40.1 million ($5.9 million) in the first half of 2017 to Rmb232.3 million (US$35.1 million) in the first half of 2018.