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Analysis Dec 27, 2019 11:15 am EqualOcean

From teaching materials to grading, how does Codeman promote the development of programming education

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Jul 5, 2020 11:26 pm ·

H1 2020 at a Glance: China's Online Education Industry Boom

Businesses in many physical industries have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the catastrophe has also provided new opportunities for the development of many online industries, as well – one of which is the online education industry. China's online education market has maintained steady growth over the past five years. The COVID-19 epidemic in 2020 has brought new vitality as it boosted demand. It is expected that China's online education users will reach 309 million by the end of 2020. Due to traditional face to face education coming to a halt at the start of the year, online education has witnessed an explosive growth. Students from all over the country started online classes at home. Some of the leading K12 online education firms took the opportunity to announce the provision of free courses during the outbreak, allowing them to gain a maximum number of users.  Talking about K12 online education firms, Yuanfudao set a new record with a staggering USD 1 billion financings in March. Following that, Zuoyuebang, another online education firm, nabbed USD 750 million for its series E round, becoming the second-highest valued edtech unicorn in China.  From celebrity endorsements, naming various popular online variety shows to placing small video ads on Douyin, Zuoyebang, Yuanfudao, Youdao and other head K12 online institutions have been working hard to prepare ample ‘ammunition’ to meet the upcoming summer enrollment season. Other than K12, vocational and quality education tracks saw their popularity increase with Tencent and 58 other firms investing in related companies. Let's use the data to see what was happening in the domestic education venture capital market throughout the first half of the year. According to statistics collected by EqualOcean from ITJuzi, in the first half of 2020, there are 10,640 companies in the field of Education. Of these, 60% had no investment, 28% were invested in and the investment question is not clear about the remaining 12%. In the industry, the angel round stage accounted for the largest proportion of 37%, followed by the A round stage, accounting for 31%. As can be seen, a large number of companies are still in a very early stage, because it is a result-oriented industry. The product's effectiveness needs to be verified and observed over a long period of time.  As 2019 broke, we were all warned of China’s forthcoming ‘capital winter’, only to wake up in Q1 to mega-rounds from Zhangmen (USD 350 million), DaDa (USD 255 million), Andela (USD 100 million) and opening Q2 was Coursera’s USD 103 million Series E. 2H 2019 saw the surge continue with mega-rounds from Knowbox (USD 150 million), ByJu’s (USD 150 million), VIPKid (USD 150 million), Zhihu (USD 434 million), Ruangguru (USD 150 million) and Guild (USD 157 million). Little did we know what 2020 would bring. COVID-19 and way too many video calls later, 1H 2020 has marked a resurgence in mega-rounds, averaging a USD 100 million round per month. In the space of six months, EdTech has it’s very own giant (that didn’t come from China or the US), Yuanfudao has set a new high water-mark with a USD 1 billion round and ‘mainstream’ investors are venturing to learn more about the future of education, the role of technology and the opportunities to participate in that growth. In the first half of 2020, 112 investment events occurred in the Chinese education industry;, the number of transactions fell by 32% month-on-month and 45% year-on-year. The total amount involved was CNY 19.6 billion, an increase of 15% year-on-year. ; The decline in the number of financings in the field is obvious, but the total amount of financing has risen, and the average amount of single financing has also increased by 77% year-on-year to CNY 175 million. Over the past three years, the activity of CNY funds in the field of education investment and financing has been significantly higher than that of USD funds. The number of CNY transactions accounted for more than 90%, and the transaction finance accounted for about 55%~62%; but in the first half of 2020, the total amount of CNY transactions substantially declined and the total amount of USD transactions exceeded CNY transactions for the first time, accounting for 77%. Talking about the amount of funding in the first half of 2020, out of the 112 investment events, the largest number of transactions were in tens of millions of yuan. 19 firms raised more than CNY 100 million, with a total financing amount of CNY 15.7 billion, accounting for 80% of the total financing. Now we should dig deeper into the firms which actually boosted their financings in the first half of 2020. We have short-listed the top 10 education firms with the highest amount of funding raised. These firms are backed by the likes of huge investors such as Tencent, IDG, Sequoia, Temasek etc.  As far as the sub-sectors are concerned, quality education dominated the number of financings with 26, which only totaled CNY 1.3 billion. K12 education showed its dominance, with 18 investment events adding up to CNY 12.4 billion.  As the largest subdivision track in the field, K12 Education has always attracted capital. In the first half of 2020, K12 Education’s financing amount accounted for 60% of the entire industry. Yuanfudao’s new round, worth USD 1 billion, was the main reason behind it. It was followed by the highest single amount of financing in the field; in June, the Zuoyebang completed its E round of financing, worth USD 750 million.  Other than that, listed Chinese edtech companies have shown their strengths as well. NetEase Youdao released its Q1 unaudited financial report which showed the firm has achieved a steady growth for a fifth consecutive quarter. Another US-listed firm, GSX Techedu, has been a hot topic. Its financial results have been found too good to be true for some US research firms. The Chinese online tutoring company has been shorted as many as 10 times in the first half of the year but the stock is showing no signs of weakness – instead, recently it hit the highest ever amount since it was listed.  With Edtech companies such as Yuanfudao (猿辅导), Zuoyebang (作业帮) and Xueba (学霸君) suddenly catching the limelight and seeing this as an opportunity, major Internet companies have stepped up their efforts in the online education track as well.  Alibaba (BABA: NYSE) launched a product called 帮帮答, directly translated to ‘help me answer.’ It is a paid question and answer platform for primary and secondary school students for academic problems. This is the first independent product launched by Alibaba in the field of education. Zhang Yiming, the founder of the world’s most valued unicorn, ByteDance, expressed his intention to consider and plan for a new strategic direction towards education in a letter released on the eighth anniversary of the company. “The online tutoring market has been very hot recently, and many people ask about my company's business progress. In fact, I am not anxious and have patience. I think it is still very early. The education business must have more fundamental innovations, of course, provided we have a deeper understanding. Especially for a company that already has a successful business, starting a new business is not easy. Bold attempts in new fields are an important part of starting a business.” Zhang said. It is evident that the epidemic has created a window of opportunity for huge tech giants to enter the education industry – but at the same time firms which are already are in the business have stepped up to prove the strength and advantages of online education. By providing free online classes, companies such as Yuanfudao, GSX Techedu and Zuoyebang gained millions of users.

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Apr 17, 2020 08:56 pm ·

Online Children’s Coding Platform Codemao Raises CNY 250 Million

Codemao (编程猫), the coding tutoring platform designed for children, today raised a C+ funding round of CNY 250 million, making a total fundraising amount of CNY 1.25 billion. The investment is led by CMB International, with participation from Bank of China Group Investment, Yueke Xintai Capital(粤科鑫泰资本), Sharewin Capital (盛宇投资) and other current shareholders. The Shenzhen-based startup owns a sophisticated product development system, providing a service integrating online tools, curricular content and tutoring. This fundraising was completed within less than six months from its last Series C round of CNY 400 million, a deal disclosed on November 4, 2019.  This online coding platform aiming for the children’s market first came into public view with a valuation of CNY 2 billion in January 2019, after an estimated total bankrolling of CNY 460 million in the previous four fundraisings. At that time, Codemao had already served 2 million customers, inbound and outbound, in cooperation with over 3,000 schools and education institutions. Earlier in the mid-May of 2019, the CEO and founder Li Tianchi (李天驰) was interviewed by EqualOcean during the ‘GIS2019 China Education Industry Innovation Summit.’ The valuation of his company almost tripled to about USD 1 billion at that time, a rapid development driven by steady quarter-on-quarter 200% growth rate with an annual income of CNY 120 million, as detailed by Mr. Li. This five-year-old online learning hub has evolved into a solid coding resource for over 31.47 million kids from 21 countries and regions. It has successfully won the favor and trust of young learners and parents through its Apple/Google-generic research team, sophisticated curricular system and eye-catching cooperation with tier-one Chinese universities. More importantly, the official endorsement backed by the Ministry of Education paves the way to the unicorn in China’s tremendous K12 education market. The ‘Industry-University’ Cooperation project launched last year aims to escalate the advanced education quality through strengthening the cooperation between the academic field and practical business. Codemao’s being listed is also a milestone that marks part of the journey to serve more adult students in colleges beyond the K12 market. At the end of 2019, just a few days before the breakout of COVID-19, the CEO of Codemao announced the opening of a school to provide professional training for offline partners with programming teaching and potential business scenarios. This plan could have been a promising start for the 2019-2022 ‘One Hundred Cities, One Thousand Stores’ project, a warm-up for the in-discussion IPO initiative. However, the unexpected pandemic disturbed the offline process and pushed the team to seek a new way out.  Online education has been the object of intense focus during the last few months, partly due to the mandatory social distancing. Mature coding education, a natural  product  of the spread of the Internet, is exciting investors once again, with a buzz reminiscent of the 2015 investment craze of billions US dollars. The year 2018 witnessed a total investment of CNY 6.33 billion (USD 931 million) in K12 education, growing at a CAGR 50.12% from 2016. Following the Ministry of Education policy on promoting STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) in 2015, the startup players and educational giants have been accelerating their product development and market deployment. AllDream (奥蒙编程), CodePKU (编学编玩) and Codemao, together with creative education represented by RoboRobo (乐博乐博机器人), have been trying to take a position in some educational niche segments that contain less threat from giants such as TAL Edu (TAL:NYSE) and New Oriental (EDU:NYSE).

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Mar 31, 2020 10:00 am · sina education

Codemao "1+2+N" integrated solution goes into public schools

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Feb 25, 2020 06:04 pm · sina technology

Focus on children programming, Codeman launched "little rocket"

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Feb 11, 2020 10:29 pm ·

Overview of the Chinese Children’s Programming Education Industry in 2019

Statistics from the Ministry of Education show that, in 2018, 18.63 million children were enrolled in preschool education in China. The pre-, primary, and middle-school students are the core users of the current programming education curriculum in the digitally ambitious Asian nation. Children's programming education is generally aimed at children in elementary schools and below. Typically learning programming literacy involves studying how to convert an original complex English code language into a graphical language, and is presented through games, animations and building block components in an instructional and modular manner. It aims to cultivate children's multiple abilities such as observation, imagination, creativity, logical thinking, problem-solving, judgmental thinking, sequence and conditions, and debugging operation ability. What made the track flourish? The support for introducing children's programming in China was tepid in the early days, but large waves of capital inflow in 2017 gave birth to many programming education companies. Refined programming courses give users more choices. These include a series of early ‘programming guidance’ courses such as programming games and visual graphics. There are countless mainstream programming courses on the market that can meet such requirements. Parents who do not generally understand the content of children's programming courses cannot differentiate between children's programming and children's coding. This also reflects a certain extent that the current market for children's programming is still in a state of development.  Currently, Lego, Scratch, Python, and C++ are generally referred to as children's programming courses on the market. Most of the children's programming education firms choose Scratch as the main programming teaching tool, and institutions with less exam-oriented systems choose C++ courses.  Lego education is an innovative approach, focused on cultivating an early interest in logical problem-solving. Children can start with normal Lego building blocks and gradually move on to Lego robot programming.  Scratch focuses on the development of children’s programming thinking. It is also the most widely used children's programming software package on the market. It uses a graphical programming module to visualize the programming language, making it easier for children to understand the basic meaning of programming.  As a transition language between Scratch and C ++, Python is relatively suitable for middle school children, and it is often used as an advanced language for children who have already learned Scratch. Policy support has become the primary productive force of the industry. Education has always been deeply influenced by policy adjustments. Provinces with policies supporting programming or IT have developed significantly faster than other regions. Hence policy is one of the main reasons that children's programming is being taken seriously in today's education industry. Today's artificial intelligence development has an increasing demand for digital talents, and the current teaching model finds it difficult to meet the requirements of the times in the development of high-tech industries and talent training. New technologies and new talents are out of touch with the current society as soon as they leave college. With the current technological trends and adjustment of industrial institutions, it is imperative to cultivate new IT talents. The upgrading of the consumer environment. As people born in the 1980s and 1990s enter the stage of getting married and having children, these two generations have become an important driving force for changing consumer habits around child-rearing. The new generation of mothers pays more attention to children's education and training due to their strong consumption habits and higher education level. Spending on children is also rising, with increased incomes allowing these parents to afford expensive, high-quality products. In addition, the new generation of parents have become more international, and are more likely to accept new things, which is also good for the development of children's programming. Capital injection. According to Data collected by EDU INSIGHT at the end of 2019, 70 children's programming firms completed various degrees of investment and financing or listing. Among them, there were a number of children's programming startups such as Walnut education (核桃编程), Jikestar (极客晨星), Codemao (编程猫), etc., which showed the potential future of the track. More challenges, fewer opportunities? The ministry of education and eight other departments recently issued a notice which requires guardians to control the use of electronic products by children. It stated that electronic products for non-learning purposes should not be used more than 15 minutes at a time and not more than an hour in a day. The usage of electronic products for learning purposes should be 30 to 40 minutes per day.  Giving high importance to children’s eyesight protection and incorporating it into policies will have a strong impact on the development of children’s programming education.  With more startups in the market, it is harder to raise investment. According to EDU INSIGHT’s data, among the 210 children's programming companies, 139 have not disclosed any financing records. From the 70 companies that have, few have been able to raise Series B and C. The industry has seen significant firms close down. Companies (especially companies without any disclosure of financing records) cannot polish their business models without stable cash flow and it is very difficult for them to raise money. There are still gaps in the curriculum system and teachers. From the perspective of current programming teaching, the curriculum system promoted by most children's programming companies mainly refers to one of the standards of American children's programming curriculum system.  Compared with other education tracks, the domestic market for children’s programming is still in the early stage; the number and size of players of the industry are small and many companies are still trying different business models. Course and curriculum system is fundamental for the industry to have a sustainable and healthy development, but at present, a relatively uniform standard has not been formed. The market still needs to be educated. Compared with traditional education, the final feedback and evaluation system in children's programming is not standardized. Classroom communication, project reporting, project tracking and self-evaluation between teachers and students is required. The vast majority of parents are not very familiar with the concept of children's programming, and the market still needs to be cultivated. Competition from other industries. The competition within the track is gradually entering a fierce stage. In addition to companies within the track, there are other large-scale enterprises related to education, and other industries such as gaming and hardware, who want to get a slice of the emerging market. Educational giants such as TAL and New Oriental, English language training unicorn VIPkid, drone manufacturers DJI, Tech titan Huawei and various other huge firms have already entered the track. Business models Online and offline. It is worth noting that there are almost no offline-only or online-only children’s programming companies in the lead. Companies such as Codemao (编程猫), Tong Cheng Tong Mei (童程童美), etc., all use both online and offline teaching methods. Walnut education (核桃编程) is the only one which adopts an online-only model. At present, the training courses on the market basically have 1V1, or one-to-many small classes. 1V1 teaching has high efficiency, flexible teaching time, personalized content customization, richer classroom interaction, and it is easier to motivate students to learn. We have also seen a breakthrough in the application of the ‘human-AI dual-teacher interactive learning system.’ At present, the error judgment ability of teachers in programming learning has reached 100%, and we can say that its feedback guidance information has reached about 70 to 80%. With the support of AI data collection and analysis, the system can find a more suitable programming learning method for children, optimize human-computer interaction, and increase the fun to be found in learning. AI teachers can reduce costs to the greatest extent and reduce the burden on users in terms of the price of courses. 2B and 2C. The user base is large, but the market is fragmented, and the cost of acquiring customers is relatively high. Compared to 2C, 2B seems to be still in an early stage of development. 2B's business is now mainly to provide textbooks, teacher training and other content for schools and training institutions. Children's programming education in public schools has not yet become popular, and school programming is gradually introducing children's programming courseware and some related services.  The Capital Compared with 2018, each track declined, but STEAM surpassed K12 and became the most popular education sector of the industry for investors. Compared with a 75% drop in K12 and a 70% drop in preschool education, STEAM is relatively stable with a 25% drop. It can be seen that, despite the calmness of the industry, the STEAM education track has been least affected by the market, and there is huge potential in the future. For the development of enterprises, in addition to policy support, capital injection is also very important. In the context of the recognized capital winter in 2019, there were still 33 investment institutions that would ‘bet money’ on the children's programming track. Some investment institutions have also made multiple capital injections into the same company. The development of children's programming is still in a state of capital leadership, and the industry is developing at a rather decent pace. However, the lack of huge investments has caused the industry to show a downward trend. In order to overcome this, the companies need to let policy and innovation take over the industry instead of allowing capital to become the most solid pillar beneath it. Rather than more and more small companies entering the field of children's programming, we hope to see industry giants continue to make efforts to open up new areas and find new opportunities. Under competitive pressure from other industries and the changing of the market structure, the track is quickly becoming more exciting. 

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