Chinese online vocational training startup Kaikeba raised RMB 600 million (USD 92.4 million) in a Series B1 investment. The latest financing builds on a RMB 550 million Series A round closed last August from Hillhouse Capital and Gaorong Capital, and will be put towards product development and offline expansions.
Founded in 2012, Kaikeba’s courses cover business and design topics like project management, business analysis, product design, and 3D modeling. Its business contains four main categories—vocational certifications, vocational skills training, enterprise services, and personal learning.
In 2020, the company began expanding beyond its consumer-facing business to develop corporate services. It then added a range of public exams, skill certificates, and academic qualifications to its platform in April this year. Adoption of its enterprise-facing business grew sharply as revenue from the segment in April added more than RMB 10 million (USD 1.55 million), rising to over RMB 20 million (USD 3.1 million) in June. Overall revenue in the first half of 2021 was 350% greater than in the same period of 2020, founder and CEO Fang Yechang said in an internal letter.
In the near future, Kaikeba plans to shore up its brick-and-mortar presence. “Our online model does not mean we do not need an offline presence. In the future, to acquire customers and grow the vocational education market, offline operations are needed to supplement our online course delivery,” said Fang.
The company’s headcount increased from 1,000 to 3,500 in the last year. Fang referenced his confidence in the lasting demand for vocational education, as Chinese policymakers reiterated its importance in an action plan released in September 2020. Kaikeba has collaborated with more than 2,000 universities in China, providing vocational training to over 5 million students.
To cater to younger users who are more open to flexible working arrangements, Kaikeba is widening the scope of its offerings to include communication skills common in part-time gigs like short video production, voiceovers, and e-sports commentary, along with hobbies like Chinese calligraphy and other art forms.
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36Kr Connection features translated and adapted content published by 36Kr. This article was originally written by Peng Xiaoqiu for 36Kr.