Singapore-based Geniebook’s personalized learning platform raises $ 16.6 million in Series A – TechCrunch
Founded in 2017, Geniebook is a Singapore-based learning platform that uses a combination of machine learning and human teachers to personalize each student’s education. The company today announced that it has raised $ 16.6 million in Series A financing led by East Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from angel investors, including John Danner, founder of Dunce Capital; Gaurav Munjal and Roman Saini, founders of the Indian edtech unicorn Unacademy; the founders of Snapdeal, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal; and senior executives from Grab, Shopee and Gojek.
The founders of Geniebook say it is profitable and its revenue has grown by over 2,000% since the start of 2019. It now has a user base of 150,000 students and 350 office staff. in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Most of Geniebook’s students are based in Singapore and Vietnam, and he plans to use some of his funding to continue expanding in those markets before focusing on other Southeast Asian countries. The startup’s Series A brings its total raised to around $ 18 million. Geniebook’s last fundraising round was a 2019 $ 1.1 million pre-Series A round from Apricot Capital.
Geniebook’s offers English, Math and Science courses based on the Singapore National Curriculum for primary and secondary school students. The three main features of the platform are GenieSmart, or personalized practice sheets for students with AI-based technology; live online courses for up to 900 students at a time; and GenieAsk, where a teacher and a teaching assistant are assigned to groups of 50 students for class discussions and help.
The startup was founded by Neo Zhizhong and Alicia Cheong, who met while they were in college. Cheong taught math, Neo taught science, and the two often referred to each other. Eventually, they decided to set up a physical tutoring center, which quickly became profitable. While figuring out how to scale the center, the two began to incorporate technological elements into the lessons, before deciding to take the business entirely online in 2017. “We realized that technology can change the way teachers are taught. teach and students learn, ”said Neo.
Although Geniebook became an online platform long before the start of the pandemic, Neo said COVID-19 has raised awareness among parents and students alike. “Southeast Asia is a $ 60 billion market for private education and the market suddenly turned into a $ 60 billion market for in line education. “As students got used to the live lessons, they began to expect more personalized and interactive content,” he added.
Instead of generic worksheets, each student’s homework is personalized by GenieSmart, which uses a neural network to choose questions based on their strengths and weaknesses, so they don’t have to answer questions. questions about concepts they are already comfortable with. Communities led by pairs of teachers / teaching assistants are another way of maintaining student motivation. Neo said that Geniebooks’ customization features are one of the ways it differentiates itself from other learning platforms such as Koobits and Superstar Teacher.
“One of the questions every educator needs to answer is, ‘how can we create an environment that engages a community of learners on their own’, so that educators don’t have to keep harassing learners because then the kids will just be like “please don’t”. Don’t talk to me anymore, ”said Neo.
In Geniebook communities, students are encouraged to work together, with teachers and teaching assistants providing learning content, advice, and corrections. Students are also rewarded with points for completing worksheets or correctly answering questions which can be redeemed for things like Roblox Virtual Currency and Apple App Store Credits (although some save them to get freebies. for their parents).
Each teacher works with several student communities. To help them as the platform grows, Geniebook will be implementing an AI chat feature to answer basic and frequently asked questions.
Geniebook’s new funding will be used to hire for leadership positions, build its product development team and expand the market.
In a statement on funding, Lightspeed partner Dev Share said, “The Southeast Asia region has several countries with exam-oriented cultures where the Geniebook worksheets and the Live cohort-based learning delivers a premium experience with measurable improvement in student outcomes.