Chinese online tutor Zuoyebang seeks up to $800m at $6.5b valuation

Photo: Internet Archive

Online tutoring startup Zuoyebang is in talks to raise $600-800 million in new funding round as the coronavirus pandemic encourages investor interest in education technology, two sources with direct knowledge of the deal told Reuters.

The five-year-old Chinese company is valued at $6.5 billion prior to the investment, the sources, who spoke about Zuoyebang‘s plans on condition of anonymity, said, adding that the talks were fluid and subject to market fluctuations.

A spokesman told Reuters that the information was not accurate, but declined to provide further details. He said Zuoyebang had “kept good contacts” with capital markets.

Students in China can upload their homework questions and search for answers on Zuoyebang‘s platform, which uses artificial intelligence.

Education technology, known as “edtech”, has been one of the few sectors to be boosted by the coronavirus pandemic as schools were shut and students were asked to take online classes from home in China, which has started to slowly reopen schools.

Zuoyebang, which was founded by Chinese search engine giant Baidu in 2014 and spun off in 2015, has also launched live-streaming courses.

Its investors now include Goldman Sachs, Sequoia Capital China, Coatue Management and GGV Capital. Its last fundraising was in 2018, when it secured $350 million and was valued at less than $3 billion, researcher Hurun has said.

Yuanfudao, Zuoyebang‘s main competitor in China, said in March it had secured $1 billion in a new round of financing that valued it at $7.8 billion.

Zuoyebang also competes with other Chinese “edtech” start-ups including 17zuoye, Koolearn Technology and TAL Education Group.

Reuters

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.