TutorGroup language-learning platform secures $100M from Alibaba, others


The online language learning space just got a bit more exciting. TutorGroup, an online language learning platform based throughout Asia, just closed a second round of US$100-million from big regional investors including Alibaba, Qiming Venture Partners, and Temasek.

As reported by VentureBeat, TutorGroup sought out investors in China and Singapore as it wishes to build its brand in those regions. The company had previously raised US$15-million in April 2012.

Founded in 2004 by brothers Ming Yang and Dr. Eric Yang, TutorGroup claims to now be the “largest English language learning institute in the world” thanks to its proprietary platform that utilises user feedback and algorithms to determine the optimal course size, the best teacher, and the right teaching materials for every student from its existing 10 000 hours of course content. The platform has access to more than 2000 tutors and an iOS and Android app for people on the move.

Online learning platforms are experiencing something of a boom in China, with big players Baidu, Tencent, and now Alibaba all making investments in existing online learning services or creating their own offerings in the space. With the world population growing quickly, set to reach the 10-billion mark by 2050, online learning could well take over as the dominant way of learning.

There are many other online language learning platforms, from the likes of massive open online course (MOOC) services like Coursera and UDACITY (arguably the largest), alongside a plethora of other free, or cheaper, platforms and applications.

According to TutorGroup the technology has been successful because its algorithms and predictive capabilities have been learning from feedback for the last ten years to “optimise the relationship between teacher, student and material in real-time.”

The company also offers Mandarin Chinese through a second site, Tutorming. To signify the newfound funds, Tutorming is starting a scholarship for US and Singaporean students to learn Chinese.



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