On July 15, 2020, EEO, a leading SaaS service provider in the education industry, announced the completion its series B round of financing with dozens of million dollars raised, where INCE Capital was the exclusive lead investor.
Established in 2014, EEO has always been committed to developing the online live-streaming system for education service. ClassIn, the online interactive live classroom, released in 2017, applies video, communication, and cloud storage technologies to deliver a remote classroom experience for teachers and students that is comparable to offline scenarios.
Combining powerful underlying technology with specialized product design concepts for teaching, ClassIn supports multiple class types and diverse online teaching modes, which enables teachers and students to perform face-to-face teaching and learning online simultaneously. Its diversified built-in teaching tools, multi-person interactive e-blackboard and full courseware support are applicable to different classroom types and teaching scenarios.
At present, dozens of universities such as Peking University, Tsinghua University, University of Science and Technology of China, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Beijing Normal University, East China Normal University, as well as well-known high schools such as the High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China, The Affiliated High School of Peking University, Beijing No. 4 High School, and Shanghai Foreign Language School, have started using ClassIn as a regular teaching tool. In the field of remedial education and training, 70% of the established institutions with revenue over RMB 100 million, including New Oriental and TAL, are already partners of EEO.
With its teaching expertise, ClassIn is also widely used in overseas schools and various educational institutions. World-renowned universities such as the Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, Universidad de Alcalá in Spain, and the Abu Dhabi University in UAE, use ClassIn as the online learning platform. As of March 2020, ClassIn has served over ten thousand schools in more than 140 countries globally, with more than 12 million teachers and student users, and an average 4.3 class hours per month per person.
In April 2020, EEO entered a strategic cooperation with Sony Global Education, to support online teaching for Japanese teachers and students. The expertise of EEO’s online teaching platform has also received the official recognition of IELTS. Recently, the British Council, IELTS test’s organizer, released the SpeakUP online IELTS speaking practice product to Chinese candidates, for which EEO provided technical support. The two will build in-depth global cooperation in the future.
Song Junbo, founder and CEO of EEO, says, “EEO will continue to develop the next generation of educational technology products, meanwhile accelerating business development into various education fields in the global market and promote the continuous progress of Edutech."
JP Gan, founding partner of INCE Capital, says, "Education is a major issue for both individuals and the country. We are very glad to support ClassIn, and facilitate digitization in education."
The sudden outbreak of the pandemic changed the original operation logic of education. The “going online” of student groups across all ages has led to the integration of previously separate offline teaching and online education integration at an unprecedented speed. According to relevant research, K12 educational institutions planning to try the OMO (Online-Merge-Offline) model increased from 43% to 72% compared to the pre-COVID time. As the pandemic is still spreading across the world, online teaching has also become a must-have option for primary and secondary schools and universities.
In 2020, ClassIn supported over 10,000 offline educational institutions to complete the OMO transformation. The upcoming ClassIn versions for free and for teachers will help more individual teachers and smaller institutions complete the online transformation, benefiting more students with better online course experience.
During the pandemic, EEO partnered with China Telecom's Tianyishenxue to provide free online teaching services to public primary and secondary schools in Shanghai. Functions such as online homework, online cloud drive management, course scheduling, and education administration brought by ClassIn ensure the smooth running of continued teaching and learning during shut-downs and the resumption of school during COVID-19 prevention and control. As the pandemic gets gradually contained, the online teaching service provided by EEO has also become the teaching tool of choice for informatization activities of universities, primary and secondary schools.
Steven Hu, founding partner of INCE Capital, believes that the pandemic has substantially led to the exponential growth in education OMO. When talking about the strategic considerations behind building presence in the competitive field of education, he further pointed out, "The pandemic has probably caused perpetual changes in many things in our current society. Education is one of them is. The online education and training penetration rate in China was less than 10% before. Although top companies own a market value of tens of billions of dollars, there are still a large number of offline K12 educational institutions that can well survive in the market for various reasons such as good teachers, unique positioning, and preferable service areas. Yet, they are now facing the challenge of seeking survival in the epidemic and the OMO model has become the second curve that they have to look at. "
Through a large amount of research on teachers, parents, and students, INCE Capital discovered that similar results as that of offline education can be achieved if teachers are capable of leveraging online teaching tools. Therefore, INCE has its basic assumption that the online + offline teaching mode will become a long-term thing even though offline education may enjoy recovery in the post-epidemic era. In addition to educational institutions, INCE also found that some excellent universities and public high schools have already taken the initiative to explore in OMO teaching, which is likely to be a world-leading move.
"This is the first time that INCE Capital has deployed such a combination of SaaS software, enterprise services, online education, and interactive live-streaming, in anticipation of helping more outstanding schools and educational institutions to realize the strategic transformation of OMO. We also look forward to ClassIn’s going global to bring more benefits to children and educators around the world. " Steven Hu said.
"Memory and understanding are no longer the core demands of modern education; instead, application and innovation are the goals of future education. Reaching a high-dimensional education goal and using OMO to develop a higher-dimensional teaching model is a critical path for global education reform driven by science and technology. It is also EEO’s core value and main goal." Song Junbo, CEO of EEO Education, added.
In the future, based on the SaaS version of ClassIn, EEO will successively make its PaaS services and LMS (learning management system) available to the industry, and build a content platform to provide underlying technical support for schools and institutions to achieve high-quality online and offline teaching integration. In this way, it can also contribute to the continuous progress of stable online teaching and education informatization.