San Francisco-based education company Minerva Project raised USD 57 million in a Series C equity financing round led by ByteDance, according to a press release from Minerva on Thursday.
The edtech firm, which was established in 2012, has sold its online curriculum and technology platform called Forum, to 10 educational institutions including the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the SRM University Amaravati in India, according to education education technology-focused media outlet Edsurge.
Forum includes a video tool where students can interact with one another, and which allows instructors to break up large classes into small group discussions of up to 12 students. It also has 11 pre-built courses, which cover fundamental learning skills such as critical and creative thinking, communication skills and complex modelling.
The company charges a fee according to the number of students and the number of courses they select, said Edsurge.
Zhang Yiming, the CEO of ByteDance, has become a board member of the US company after this investment, according to Minerva’s press release.
ByteDance, which is mostly known for its short video app TikTok and news app Jinri Toutiao and is currently considered to be the most valuable startup in the world, has been placing several bets in the education sector.
The company has invested in eight education-focused apps, which are meant to service K–12 students and adults who want to learn English or other skills.
It has also been reportedly developing a smartphone for children that comes pre-installed with its apps—a move seen more as an attempt to make inroads into the educational sector, rather than to become a full-fledged player in the smartphone hardware sector.