On October 22, KnowRe (Co-CEO Yongjae Kim & David Joo) reported that it secured $6.8 million in Series B investment from a number of domestic and foreign venture capitals. Led by SoftBank Ventures, the investment was joined by KTB Network, Partners Investment, and Sparklabs Global Ventures.
KnowRe is an up-and-coming math education platform developer that provides private education services. As an interactive learning medium, KnowRe breaks down math problems into smaller steps and gives feedback to the students on what went wrong and right. It then incorporates the previous results to create a private curriculum for the following levels. First starting its pilot program back in September 2013 in public middle and high schools in the United States, KnowRe launched services in March 2014 and has been used by roughly 50 US public schools so far.
Co-CEO Yongjae Kim said, “This investment enables us to pursue a more aggressive strategy in the US public education market.” He added, “We plan to launch the perfected US middle and high school curriculum in addition to the tablet PC version, which will help us establish ourselves in the market.”
In the mean time, KnowRe will launch the Korean middle school math curriculum with a partnership with one of the Metropolitan Cities. Vice president Seojun Kim stated, “We’ve been hearing many cases of significant grade improvement even from 60 to 100% during the beta service period in Korea.” And that “Korean students will greatly benefit from KnowRe’s innovative education content that has already been recognized in the States.”
KnowRe provides math education service organized by the Korean content development team, directly targeting American public education system. It distinguishes itself in a way that it provides a personalized feedback based on the analysis of pattern of questions students got wrong as opposed to its conventional competitors that only post recorded lectures on their websites.
KnowRe’s success is especially significant since many Korean online education programs are struggling to survive in the industry. For instance, Daekyo, one of the biggest elementary and middle school online education service company, recently downsized their service “GongbuWarak.” Experts predict a dim future for the company, predicting a constant downward slope for its business. Daekyo Edupia, a holding company of GongbuWarak has consistently seen losses for the past 2 years. Reasons for the industry’s downfall include its style of one-way lecturing of the recorded classes. Since they do not differentiate one student’s ability from another’s, it makes it harder for slower learners to keep up with the rest.
KnowRe has been steadily proving the quality of its content over the past few years. It received the grand prize at Gap App Challenge, an education app contest hosted by New York State Education Department in May 2013, and was nominated as one of “The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Education” by Fast Company earlier this year.
Eunwoo Lee, director at SoftBank Ventures, the company that invested $1.4 million at the end of 2012 and led this additional investment, expressed his expectations for the company: “KnowRe has quickly developed as a company with a lot of potential to grow big in US and Asian education market.” KnowRe has also been nominated as the SoftBank Ventures’ “Portfolio Company of the Year.”
-Inspired by Platum