Geniebook, a Singapore-based online learning platform that uses a combination of machine learning and human teachers to personalize each student’s education, has raised $16.6 million in a Series A funding round led by East Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
The round was also joined by other angel investors including Unacademy's Gaurav Munjal and Roman Saini, Snapdeal's Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, and Dunce Capital's John Danner.
The company plans to utilize the fresh capital to fund its team recruitment, product development, and market expansion.
Founded in 2017 by two former tutors Neo Zhizhong and Alicia Cheong, Geniebook offers English, Mathematics, and Science courses based on Singapore’s national curriculum for primary and secondary school students. It enables users to improve their learning speed by practising questions at their own pace. Geniebook's three core features are GenieSmart, or practice sheets customized for students with AI-based tech; live online classes that can host up to 900 students at a time; and GenieAsk, where a teacher and teaching assistant are assigned to groups of 50 students for class discussions and help.
Geniebook has also expanded its services to include a home-edition package, where parents can use the app to track their child's progress and assign worksheets for practice.
Speaking about the platform, Neo Zhizhong, Co-founder and CEO of Geniebook, said in a statement,
"We realized technology can change the way teachers teach and students learn. Instead of generic worksheets, each student’s homework is customized by GenieSmart, which uses a neural network to pick questions based on their strengths and weaknesses, so they don’t have to answer questions about concepts they are already comfortable with. The communities led by teacher/teaching assistant pairs are another way to keep students motivated. Geniebooks’ personalization features is one of the ways it differentiates from other learning platforms like Koobits and Superstar Teacher."
Geniebook also encourages students to work together with teachers and teaching assistants providing learning content, guidance, and corrections. Students are also rewarded with points for completing worksheets or answering questions correctly that can be redeemed for things like Roblox’s virtual currency and Apple App Store credits (though some save them up to get holiday presents for their parents).
Commenting on the funding, Dev Khare, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, said,
"The Southeast Asia region has several countries with exam-driven cultures where Geniebook’s worksheets and cohort-based live learning approach delivers a premium experience with measurable improvement in student outcomes."
Roderick Purwana, Managing Partner at East Ventures added, "As we enter the second year of the pandemic when schools and students have to seek online arrangements, EdTech companies are playing an important role and have accelerated their delivery of solutions to users."
Most of Geniebook’s students are based in Singapore and Vietnam. The startup plans to use part of its funding to continue growing in those markets before focusing on other Southeast Asian countries. It also has its presence in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Earlier this year, Geniebook had raised S$1.5 million in its pre-Series A funding round from Apricot Capital, a diversified multi-asset private investment company. The startup's latest funding brings its total raised to about $18 million.