Beijing-based online English learning school Whales English has raised RMB100 million in a Series B financing round, the company has announced recently.
The round was led by Beijing-based investment management firm Sino-Ocean Capital, and participated by venture capital firms Shanhang Capital and Qingxin Capital.
Founded in 2012, Whales English caters to language learners aged 3 to 18. Its unique group class model with 2-3 students offers a subject-based curriculum with over 10,000 different classes. Whales English follows the ‘three-fixed’ model strategy (which means having fixed teachers, fixed students and fixed schedule), to bring children a better experience and learning effect and to maintain quality consistency. Its native English-speaking teachers are hand-selected and the organization takes pride in being known as the toughest online ESL program in China.
Whales English maintains a very high student renewal rate and number of referrals, thanks to its high quality of teaching. With a renewal rate of over 83% throughout all courses, the organization claims itself to be the most engaging program in China. The company said that they do not attract new students with discounts, but mainly by actual results and word-of-mouth marketing by parents. They also do not spend money arbitrarily or seek celebrity endorsements, but, invest in their students experience by introducing effective reading strategies from original English textbooks and improving the service level.
Tom Wu, CEO of Whales English, said that the company will use the new funds to improve product quality and service efficiency. Whales English’s courses are 25-30 weeks long, offering both students and teachers the stability and the chance to form a lasting bond and connection.
Meanwhile, the reason for Whales English to secure the latest funding is due to a number of key metrics. The company was able to maintain the cost of customer acquisition at around 2,000 yuan, which is 1/5 of the industry, the renewal rate of foreign teachers has always remained at 80-85%, and the proportion of new students from referrals has been as high as 60-70%, which is much higher than the industry average. Additionally, since the company’s formal commercial operation at the end of 2017, it has achieved positive cash flow in only 10 months. In 2019, Whale English achieved net operating cash flow inflow throughout the year.
According to statistics, Whales English has been in the leading role for the K-12 English group class education industry in 2019, and has entered the top 5 in the online K-12 English industry in China. In 2018, the company became the only enterprise that has been selected as a key project of the 13th Five-Year Plan by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China.