Beijing-based online education startup KnowBox has announced that it has closed $150 million in a Series D round of financing led by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
It is not surprising that it was only last year KnowBox has raised $100 million in a Series C funding round led by Yunfeng Capital. It was participated by existing investor TAL Education Group. Prior to that, KnowBox also raised $15 million in a Series B round, and later $30 million in continuation of that raise. Interestingly, after closing the latest funding round, the startup also announced it has changed its brand name to Xiaohe Keji, literally meaning "SmallBox Technology". After changing its name, KnowBox CEO reportedly said "Knowbox will not only focus on homework thereafter."
Founded in Beijing in 2014, SmallBox offers two main learning services - private teaching and family counseling. Report has it that the company will use the latest proceeds to scale up its AI-based learning content, building an intelligent education ecosystem on-campus teaching and home counseling, offer new courses and services, and to enhance user experience.
Speaking on the latest development of the company, SmallBox founder and CEO Liu Ye said in a statement that AI courses can provide students with personalized learning services on a large scale and at low cost compared to traditional classes.
“Since 2017, SmallBox Technology has invested a lot of resources to develop an AI curriculum system that provides students with personalized and adaptive learning counseling services, which was dubbed as ‘small box classroom.”
Apart from Alibaba, Yunfeng Fund, C Capital and BAI (Bertelsmann Asia Investment Fund) also participated in the latest funding round. Needless to mention, SmallBox has previously secured funding from Haoweilai, Baidu Ventures, New World Development Co Ltd, Legend Star, TAL Education Group, Liu Qiangdong, and Genesis Capital. According to reports, the latest Series D round has brough SmallBox’s total funding to date to over $290 million.
Unlike many online education companies that focused solely on students, SmallBox offers a range of products and services to help teachers and parents work more efficiently. Through big data and digitization, it provides mobile app tools to help teachers assign and check homework and students do homework. One of the most interesting products of SmallBox is that it helps teachers correct homework by taking photos. SmallBox has over 40 million users with 3.7 million daily active users. The company's products and services are used by 70% of China's primary schools.