TPG’s Rise Fund leads $210m Series D round in Chinese edtech firm Meishubao

Visuals from Meishubao's website

Meishubao Education, a Tencent-backed Chinese online art education platform, announced on Thursday the completion of a Series D round of financing at $210 million led by US-based private equity (PE) firm TPG’s global impact investing platform The Rise Fund.

A group of Chinese investors including Shenzhen-based venture capital (VC) firm Fortune Capital; Winsdom Capital, which invests in education, finance, and healthcare; Asia-focused SAIF Partners; Bojia Capital; and Chuangzhi Capital participated in the investment, according to a statement.

Beijing-based investment bank Taihecap served as the exclusive financial advisor of the deal.

“Inclusive education is one of the key areas of The Rise Fund’s social impact investment, and interactive education is an integral part of getting closer to that objective,” said Sun Chang, managing partner of TPG China, in the statement.

Sun oversees the investment activities of TPG and its Rise Fund in China.

The company “leverages technologies to effectively expand the breadth and depth of art education,” said Sun. “This model not only provides more interactive education opportunities for children — including those in rural areas — but also builds a larger platform for art educators to demonstrate their value.”

Founded in 2014, Meishubao delivers online art courses to over 5 million registered users, of which more than 500,000 are paying users, across about 160 countries and regions worldwide. The firm now has a team of nearly 1,000 R&D and production staff. Its online platform connects over 20,000 professional teachers, giving classes to users largely aged between three and 18.

Gan Ling, founder and CEO of Meishubao, said in the same statement that the new proceeds will be used for curriculum development, channel and market expansion, product and service upgrades, branding, as well as online and offline business integration in the industrial internet area.

The Series D round follows the completion of Meishubao’s Series C round in July 2020. That round comprised two tranches of capital injections, including a $40-million Series C1 round in June 2019 and a $40-million Series C2 round this July. Both of the two tranches were led by Chinese gaming and social networking firm Tencent.

Beijing-based Meishubao, which also counts Xiaomi co-founder Lei Jun-backed Shunwei Capital and early-stage VC BlueRun Ventures among its earlier investors, has by far raised a total of 2 billion yuan ($306.2 million) across seven rounds.

TPG’s The Rise Fund II

The deal marks The Rise Fund’s fourth investment in Greater China. The San Francisco-based investor previously invested in microfinance provider CD Finance; Du Xiaoman Financial, a fintech spin-off from Chinese Internet search giant Baidu; and plant-based food developer Green Monday Holdings. Globally, its edtech portfolio covers companies like DreamBox Learning, EVERFI, Renaissance Learning, and Digital House.

Founded in 2016 by TPG in partnership with musician Bono and eBay billionaire Jeff Skoll, The Rise Fund is a global impact investing platform that invests in growth-stage companies working towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

With over $5 billion in assets under management (AUM), the investment platform focuses on opportunities in education, energy, food and agriculture, financial technology, healthcare and technology.

After the launch of its $2-billion first Rise Fund in 2017, TPG set a target to raise up to $3.5 billion for the second Rise Fund, according to a Reuters report in March 2019, citing documents from the State Investment Council of New Jersey, which committed up to $125 million in the vehicle.

However, fundraising for the new vehicle suffered from the exit of its CEO Bill McGlashan, who was fired in March 2019 amid charges of his involvement in an illegal college admissions scheme.

In its latest filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on October 21, TPG disclosed that The Rise Fund already gathered nearly $2.16 billion for The Rise Fund II.

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.