At the beginning of the new year, the K12 Education Circuit ushered in the first financing news.

On January 6, VIPKID announced the official launch of its online school brand “Rice Online School”. Rice Online School is positioned as “Large Class Live Classes for Primary School Students”, focusing on English and Mathematics, and has already conducted winter vacation Enrollment of the course.

It is worth noting that Rice Online School announced the completion of a Series A financing of US $ 80 million, which was jointly invested by Tencent, Sequoia Capital China Fund and Heima Zongheng.

VIPKID, which has been focusing on one-to-one English for children, has long planned to implement a one-to-many small class and large class model. VIPKID founder and CEO Mi Wenjuan said at the press conference that VIPKID’s internal incubation network school project has been for 22 months. The previous project was called “VIP Bee School”. Today’s “rice online school” is an online school brand that integrates and upgrades its children’s English small class SayABC with VIP bee school.

This new online school brand is different from other online schools in two points:

1. VIPKID announced that it will not participate in the “arms race” on the K12 online school track.

2. How much tuition is paid will be up to the parents. If you are not satisfied with the learning effect, you can pay a certain proportion of tuition less.

The rice online school goes online and at the same time wins the largest round of financing in the field of K12 online school so far. For VIPKID itself, it means that after 2019, which has ended financing delays and frequent negative rumors, it can finally be launched with The product structure has begun to explore the company’s profitability.

VIPKID founder and CEO Mi Wenjuan

New online school brand, where is the new one?

Before the summer of 2019, the “ad war” on the K12 online school track impressed everyone who engaged in Internet education. In order to grab more new customers for the summer class, the advertising coverage of the K12 online school ranges from offline transportation hubs and office buildings to online friends circles, vibrato, and headlines today. According to some media, K12 education companies including heads such as Xueersi, Ape Coaching, and Homework Co., Ltd. have invested as much as 4 billion yuan in advertising this summer.

Mi Wenjuan also mentioned in this press conference the crazy customer acquisition battle, but She said that the rice network school will not join this “arms race.”

She believes that the birth of Rice Online School is mainly based on the endogenous needs of more than 700,000 students currently owned by VIPKID. With the increase of age, many students have been promoted to the third grade of elementary school and have more learning needs besides “one-on-one foreign teachers”. In addition, the launch of rice online school is also in line with VIPKID’s exploration of multiple classes and disciplines.

In other words, the rice online school can transform VIPKID’s existing students to meet their higher-level learning needs, so it will not focus on advertising to gain customers.

Course Setting and Price of Rice Online School

In addition to customer acquisition, it is different from other companies. Mi Wenjuan believes that the biggest innovation of rice online school is actually “how much tuition is paid, parents have the final say.” That is, after the child finishes each class, let the parents pay the corresponding tuition fees according to the child’s learning situation. If you are satisfied with the course, pay the full tuition fee; if you are not satisfied with the learning effect, you can pay a certain percentage of the tuition fee accordingly, and give suggestions on the content of the classroom and the teaching situation of the teacher.

This approach is rare in the industry and can also be considered a unique marketing and customer acquisition tool. Previously VIPKID’s one-to-one model was expensive (the 6-unit class can be taken for a year, and the cost is 12,000 yuan), and the English language course of the Rice Online School uses the “Chinese middle school + foreign teacher small class (1 to 6)) “Model, aimed at price-sensitive users, the annual pricing is less than 5,000 yuan.

VIPKID ends water inverse?

VIPKID has indeed had a rough time in the past year. It has encountered turbulence such as financing suspension, suspected layoffs, bankruptcy and broken capital chain.

The news that VIPKID is in the E round of financing came out at the end of January, but he was unable to wait for the official “official announcement”. It was not until October that VIPKID officially announced the US $ 150 million Series E financing led by Tencent. According to late LatePost reported that the reason for the suspension of financing was due to insiders ” “Stabbed a knife”: The internal financing team sent an email to potential investors stating that VIPKID data was fraudulent and financing had to be suspended. After the investors repeatedly verified that the financial data were correct, the E round of financing was finally settled.

In November, it was reported that VIPKID initiated layoffs, with a ratio of 15% to 20%. However, VIPKID quickly denied this claim, and soon announced the establishment of a Wuhan branch, which will recruit 2,000 employees within three years.

At the end of November, VIPKID official micro-blog released a message of “a reward of 100,000 yuan, looking for netizens ‘Z huanhuan'”, saying that the netizen posted rumors that VIPKID was going bankrupt in the parent WeChat group. According to its follow-up news, the netizen took the initiative to contact VIPKID after 1 hour and apologized for the matter.

In general, VIPKID’s 2019 can be regarded as “an ups and downs of one wave after another”, busy in finalizing financing and fighting external rumors. On the nodes opened in the new year, this A round of financing for new business is good news- Focus on the costly 1-to-1 model for 6 years, VIPKID has been showing a loss. The launch means that this star unicorn in the field of Internet education has to control costs and pursue profitability.

Large class mode, more sinking markets and crowds, are new options for VIPKID.