Kobe Bryant Announces Investment in Chinese Education Company VIPKID
First education investment ever by Bryant Stibel’s new $100 million fund
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--VIPKID, the leading online education platform for children in China to learn English through teachers in North America, today announced it has received investment from the $100 million fund by Bryant Stibel, the venture capital firm announced by Kobe Bryant and Jeff Stibel at the NYSE on August 22, 2016. The investment in VIPKID marks Bryant Stibel’s first ever investment in education, as well as the firm’s second investment in a Chinese company following their first investment in Alibaba in 2014.
Bryant Stibel @kobebryant @stibel invests in @TheVIPKIDLife, their 1st ever edu investment, from their $100M fund.
Two months ago, the basketball legend met with VIPKID, a company that uses the on-demand economy model to connect children in China with teachers in North America, aiming to give children in China a virtual North American elementary school experience. “Their platform is changing things,” Kobe Bryant said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times on Monday. Bryant said it took him only five minutes of listening about VIPKID to decide he wanted to invest. “It’s a no-brainer for me. We have to look for companies adding value to society, helping kids learn and grow.”
“We value Kobe`s influence in the U.S. and around the world,” said Cindy Mi, founder and CEO of VIPKID. “With this investment, we can strengthen the bridging of resources between the U.S. and China and further improve VIPKID`s strategic plans for international development.”
The connection between VIPKID and Bryant Stibel was facilitated by Learn Capital, the Silicon Valley VC firm that is at the forefront of the global educational technology sector. Earlier this month on Aug. 3, VIPKID announced a $100 million Series C round led jointly by Sequoia Capital and Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital. Winning support from Bryant Stibel less than a month later establishes VIPKID as an industry leader and global contender in the online education space.
The new funding will accelerate VIPKID’s plans to fuel efforts in curriculum and product development, and maintain its leading position in content, teaching standards, product experience, and service quality. With the company currently hiring over 1,000 instructors a month across North America, the financing will also help grow its network of teachers. Additionally, VIPKID will also speed up the strategic development of globalizing its entire platform.
Founded in 2013, VIPKID's mission is to provide the North American elementary school experience to children in China between the ages of five to twelve years old, all from the comfort of their homes. Headquartered in Beijing, the company offers fully immersive one-on-one English language instruction provided online by the world's most highly qualified teachers. Curriculum is aligned to U.S. Common Core State Standards and uses a flipped-classroom approach to foster creativity and critical thinking skills. To date, VIPKID has over half a million registered users. For more information, go to t.vipkid.com.cn.