As Edtech startups continue to rake in investment with the newfound demand for remote learning, Ringle, the South Korea-based provider of one-on-one English tutoring lessons and a member of Born2Global Centre, has raised $18 million (KRW 20Bn) Series A funding led by Must Asset Management. The company started the round with $9M funding in late March and closed the round early June with a total amount of $18M, the second largest Series A funding amount in the history of English education startups. The company is valued at $90 million (KRW 100 billion).
Participating investors also included One-asset management, Xoloninvest, and MoCA Ventures. Over 90 percent of the funding came from investors that participated in previous rounds.
Founded in 2015 by two Stanford MBA graduates, Ringle provides one-on-one video English lessons with native-speaking tutors from prestigious universities in English speaking countries. What sets Ringle apart from the other online tutoring services are the thought-provoking learning materials on a wide variety of topics and the highly educated tutors all of whom are well-trained individuals to teach sophisticated business and academic English. Using AI-based analytics, the service also provides a comprehensive data-based feedback report on students’ speech pace, vocabulary, and expressions range.
Ringle’s revenue has grown three times every year since its founding and currently the company has over 700 manually vetted tutors and 100,000 users, 30% of whom are based outside of Korea. Lessons bookings increased by 390% in comparison with the previous year.
Ringle will utilize series A to develop original educational content and grow teams at its headquarters in Seoul, Korea and San Mateo, CA. The company is keen to diversify revenue sources by providing a subscription option to access premium content. Ringle will push for client expansion both globally and to different age groups. It will drive growth in the U.S. and other countries with large student bases such as the U.K., Japan, Australia, and Singapore. With its junior program launching in the second half of the year, the company will also seek growth in the younger student base, aged 10 and above.
A good portion of the funding will be invested in enhancing the service’s tech platform. In collaboration with KAIST (Korea Advanced institute of Science & Technology)’s HCI (human computer interaction) research team, Ringle is developing a language diagnostics system that measures and tracks student’s Complexity, Accuracy, and Fluency in English speaking. The platform will also add more review features to help students hit learning goals.
Co-founders Seunghoon Lee and Sungpah Lee started Ringle to solve a problem they faced as non-native English speakers studying in the U.S. English was an obstacle they had to overcome to exchange knowledge and grow further.
“I wanted to create a service that changes people’s lives. Our primary goal is to break down language barriers, but ultimately what we’re doing is connecting top talents from around the world, providing a platform for mutual learning and growth,” said Sungpah Lee.
Note the “mutual learning” and that “top taIents” here refer to both language learners and tutors. Ringle tutors already cite the opportunity to converse with Ringle students, who are often high-achieving professionals and academics able to share knowledge and career experience, as a major appeal of working for the platform. Ringle students include those from global companies like Google, Amazon, BCG, McKinsey, Samsung Electronics, etc.
Ringle will utilize Series A proceeds to develop original educational content and grow teams at its headquarters in Seoul, Korea and San Mateo, CA. The company is keen to diversify revenue sources by providing a subscription option to access premium content. Ringle will push for client expansion both globally and to different age groups. It will drive growth in the U.S. and other countries with large student bases such as the U.K., Japan, Australia, and Singapore. With its junior program launching in the second half of the year, the company will also seek growth in the younger student base, aged 10 and above.
“We believe Ringle is well-positioned for tremendous growth. Ringle will provide not only the best English education with premium content and AI-based learning platform but grow into a global Edtech company that connects top talents from around the world,” said a representative from Must Asset Management.
“Ringle achieved rapid growth so far, boldly executing on its mission to innovate education. Ringle team made learning easier and effective, achieving high customer satisfaction and a strong retention rate. We anticipate this investment to serve as the cornerstone for Ringle’s global expansion, enabling the company to provide the best educational service to customers worldwide,” said Hong Sang-min, CEO of Nextrans that invested both in Ringle’s early days and series A.