English teaching service VIPKID raises $200M and reportedly hits a $1.5B valuation – TechCrunch

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VIPKID, an online English teaching tool, announced today that it has raised $200 million in financing. That financing round values the company at $1.5 billion, according to a report by Bloomberg.

That wouldn’t just give VIPKID unicorn status — it also exposes a huge amount of demand there is in China and other countries as a tool to learn English from English speakers. VIPKID had raised $100 million in financing in August last year and already seemed to have quite a bit of momentum at the time. This financing round was led by Sequoia Capital, including a strategic investment from Tencent.

VIPKID is a play that taps into the growing need for training in English in China. While that’s the sweet spot for VIPKID right now, a service like this has natural applications in other countries as well. But at the moment, China is such a big market that it can already support a company with a $1.5 billion valuation that started in 2013. It’s become one of the largest resources of English tutoring for children and has attracted venture interest from basically all directions.

If you haven’t heard of VIPKID out in our little Silicon Valley bubble, it’s probably for the reason above: it’s huge outside of the U.S. The company said that it has more than 20,000 teachers delivering lessons to 200,000 paying students from 32 countries. It also said it had monthly revenue of $60 million in July this year and is projecting annual revenue of $750 million. Including this round, VIPKID has raised $350 million in venture financing.

VIPKID fills an interesting niche that helps English speakers — whether teachers or other professions — put in a bit of time to make a little extra money on the side. It’s a unique twist on the education model, putting it closer to an Uber model. There are other spins on online foreign language education like Duolingo, which raised $25 million at a $750 million valuation in July this year, but it seems like VIPKID has tapped into some kind of use case at the right time to get the attention of investors.

VIPKID founder Cindy Mi’s longtime focus on teaching English basically morphed into a platform that’s tapped into growing demand amid an increasingly global economic environment. We’ve reached out to VIPKID for some additional details about the funding round as well as the valuation and will update the post when we hear back.

Cindy Mi will also join us at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in September this yearWe’re incredibly excited to be joined by so many top names, and hope you’ll be there as well. Tickets are available for what’s shaping up to be another blockbuster Disrupt.

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