Korean Edtech startup Ringle, a provider of one-on-one English tutoring lessons and a member of Born2Global Centre, raised $18 million (KRW 20Bn) Series A funding led by Must Asset Management. The company started the round with $9 million funding in late March and closed the round in early June with $18 million.
According to the company statement, it is the second-largest Series A funding amount in the history of English education startups. The company is valued at $90 million (KRW 100 billion). Other investors in this round also included One-asset management, Xoloninvest, and MoCA Ventures. Over 90 percent of the funding came from investors that participated in previous rounds.
New funds to be used for global expansion
Ringle plans to utilize the funding 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 also push for client expansion both globally and to different age groups in the USA and other countries with large student bases such as the UK., 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 ten and above.
A portion of the funding will be invested in enhancing Ringle’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.
Investors back Ringle’s growth potential
Co-founders Seunghoon Lee and Sungpah Lee started Ringle to solve a problem they faced as non-native English speakers studying in the USA. “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.
“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.
Founded in 2015, Ringle provides one-on-one video English lessons with native-speaking tutors from prestigious universities in English speaking countries. 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.
The company will open and expand offline spaces in South Korea and the U.S. where tutors and students can meet face-to-face, hold and attend seminars, study and develop content together. Ringle tutors are often high-achieving professionals and academics able to share knowledge and career experience. Ringle students include those from global companies like Google, Amazon, BCG, McKinsey, Samsung Electronics, etc.
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