As teacher walkouts continue across the U.S. over low salaries, one edtech startup, VIPKID, is trying to get teachers to supplement their income by virtually tutoring students in China.
The Beijing-based company may soon receive a funding boost to further those efforts and grow its tutoring platform. VIPKID is reportedly finalizing a deal to raise about $500 million, unnamed sources close to the deal tell Bloomberg. The raise would reportedly value the company at more than $3 billion.
VIPKID has not confirmed the raise and a company spokesperson declined a request from EdSurge to comment.
Founded in 2013, VIPKID connects North American English teachers to Chinese students via a live video tutoring platform. Teachers make profiles and upload videos of lessons, and parents can book sessions for their children with the tutors, who are hourly-paid independent contractors.
As of August 2017, VIPKID claimed to have 200,000 paying students from 32 countries, and 20,000 educators on its platforms. The recent raise could be going towards adding even more teachers. According to TechCrunch, the company recently listed openings for thousands of U.S. teachers looking to supplement their income by virtually teaching students in China.
In addition to the growing teacher count, VIPKID has seen large growth in its funding and revenue. The company in July 2017 claimed its monthly revenue had reached $60 million. And in August 2017, the company announced $200 million in a Series D round led by Sequoia Capital. Strategic investor Tencent and existing shareholders Yunfeng Capital, Matrix Partners China and Zhen Fund also participated in the previous round, bringing the company’s valuation to $1.5 billion.
The whopping raise would come among a wave of edtech growth and acquisitions in China and Asia more broadly. Edtech companies raised more than $1.2 billion in 2016, EdSurge reported in April 2017. And VIPKID has been one of the best-financed startups to come out of Asia, alongside companies including Babytree and Xuele.