Chinese online English education firm Palfish raises $120m in Series C round

Online children’s English learning platform Palfish, also known as Banyu in China, has raised $120 million in two Series C funding tranches, the company said in a WeChat statement on Monday.

The Series C1 round was led by Tao Zhang, the founder of the shopping platform Meituan-Dianping, while the Series C2 round was led by FutureX Capital, a new consumption-based investment firm. The new-economy centered boutique investment firm MM Capital re-upped as the exclusive financial advisor for the deal.

The corpus raised by Beijing-based Palfish marks the largest funding in the online English learning segment this year, the company said.

Existing investors SIG China and Whales Capital also participated in the round. SIG China had invested $5 million in Palfish’s Series A round in 2015, and an undisclosed amount in 2018. Whales Capital had also poured in “tens of millions of US dollars” in the company’s Series B+ round, according to the statement.

Managed by Beijing Duwo Technology, Palfish specialises in providing interactive online English classes for children up to the age of 14 years. Founded by He Huang in 2017, it currently has 40 million users.

“The latest proceeds will be used for education product innovations and big data-driven teaching services. We aim to achieve efficient English learning by the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and social networking,” said He Huang in the statement.

The platform has also been backed by Jafco Ventures, Starling Ventures, and Toutou Shidao Investment in the past. 

Of late, many Chinese online English education platforms have garnered investor interest. Dingdong Ketang secured $10 million in a Series B round of financing led by Cathay Capital’s Cathay Innovation in February. In January, VIPKid garnered $80 million in a Series A round led by Sequoia Capital China and Tencent.

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.