HK-based edtech start-up raises funds for expansion into SE Asia

Breaking News May 31, 2017 16:55

By The Nation

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Snapask, a Hong Kong-based education-technology start-up, has raised US$5 million (Bt170 million) in pre-series A venture funding to expand its mobile education business into Southeast Asia, Australia and the United Kingdom. 

By applying artificial-intelligence techniques to its on-demand education services, Snapask has doubled its user base since the fourth quarter of 2016, reaching 300,000 users across Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. 

Snapask aims to become the first global edtech company by 2020.

Kejora Ventures, backed by the Charoen Pokphand family, Cai Wensheng, chairman of Meitu, and Welight Capital, founded by former Tencent executives, participated in this funding round. This brings total funding at Snapask to US$8 million, including seed funding from Singapore Press Holdings and Plug & Play.

“Currently we are focusing on expanding into Southeast Asian markets including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam,” said Timothy Yu, founder and chief executive of Snapask. “We hope to provide our service to the [4-million-strong] student population in the [Southeast Asia] region within the second quarter, and to that of Australia and the United Kingdom in Q3. 

“When developing a new market, we insist on recruiting a local team, as they understand their local market best. The fresh capital will therefore be used primarily on local talent acquisition.”

The three parties represent support from China’s start-up sector, the technology sector and the Southeast Asian business sector. Their confidence in Snapask’s Southeast Asia markets stems from the combined population of 645 million and a strong demand for education support. 

Kejora Ventures founding partner Sebastian Togelang said that beyond providing funding and mentorship, Kejora would offer local, on-the-ground market entry expertise.

Wu Xiaoguang, co-founder of Welight Capital and former senior vice president at Tencent, said the passion and spirit of the Snapask team was a strong reason for investment. He believes that Snapask’s ability to adapt and create is key to success in a competitive market, and said he looked forward to a new era of digital learning at Snapask with the application of machine-learning techniques.

Founded in 2015, Snapask is an education-technology company that applies artificial intelligence and cloud services to make education more effective, personalised, and accessible.

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