There is big difference in education in Vietnam between urban centers, which have access to more resources, and smaller towns and rural areas, where 80% of students live. Edupia, an online learning platform, bridges this divide with its live classes and private lessons. The startup announced today that it has raised a $14 million Series A round led by Jungle Ventures with participation from eWTP Capital (a venture capital fund under Alibaba and Ant Financial) and ThinkZone Ventures. This brings Edupia’s total funding to $16 million.
Edupia currently has a total of 5 million users, with 400,000 paying students. Tran Duc Hung, who founded the company in 2018 as a self-learning English platform, said Edupia is on track to surpass its revenue target of $100 million in the next three years. Most of its users are in Vietnam, but Edupia is expanding into other Southeast Asian markets such as Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar, and is adding more subjects including math and coding
Before founding Edupia, Hung spent 10 years as director of digital services at Viettel, Vietnam’s largest telecommunications company. While there, he saw how digitization is transforming many aspects of everyday life, including e-commerce, finance, healthcare and education. At the same time, Hung told TechCrunch, he also observed a gap between the educational resources available in larger, wealthier cities, such as private language centers, and other areas of Vietnam, particularly in English. Hung, whose family includes many teachers, saw an opportunity to launch an online platform to make English learning accessible to every K-12 student.
As Edupia’s self-learning business gained momentum, the team noticed a demand for more ways to engage with students and launched live lessons in March 2021. Hung said Edupia will manage both business models simultaneously, with self-learning serving as the first point of contact point for users before moving on to classes and training.
Parents and students find Edupia through several channels, including its online marketing campaigns, school partnerships, word-of-mouth referrals and key opinion leader (KOL) marketing. Edupia reaches all provinces through its national sales team and was also the first company in the market to create a network of thousands of micro-KOLs (aka influencers) across industries.
While there are many English learning apps available, Hung said Edupia does not compete directly with them because it aims to give students an experience similar to offline learning centers, with teachers who assign homework, assess student progress and organize online activities to increase engagement. Therefore, Edupia’s closest competitors are offline learning centers, but unlike brick-and-mortar schools, it has been able to quickly grow across Vietnam’s 64 provinces. Every 60 students are assigned to a study group and each teacher can manage up to 2000 students across the country.
Some of Edupia’s new capital will be used to upgrade its learning platform. The company also plans to hire for C-level and senior management positions as it grows and increases its international expansion.