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SoftBank Vision Fund injects $175m in edtech startup Riiid

A logo of Riiid
A logo of Riiid
Educational technology startup Riiid has snapped up $175 million in fresh funding from SoftBank Vision Fund 2 to accelerate global entry of its artificial intelligence-based personalized learning experience and assessment program, the company announced Tuesday.

SoftBank Vision Fund 2 was the sole investor in the latest series D round, bringing Riiid’s total funds raised to $250 million. Riiid did not disclose its post-money valuation. The deal was made 10 months after its pre-series D round funding, led by the Korea Development Bank.

The startup operates the test preparation application Santa, which pairs up deep-learning algorithm-powered tutors with test takers to help them with the Test of English for International Communication, or TOEIC, and other exams. SoftBank Investment Advisers, behind its flagship Vision Fund, said the funding is aimed at supporting Riiid’s ambition to provide equal opportunity for quality education around the world.

“Riiid is driving a paradigm shift in education, from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to personalized instruction,” said Greg Moon, managing partner, Asia, at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “Powered by AI and machine learning, Riiid’s platform provides education companies, schools and students with personalized plans and tools to optimize learning potential.”

Riiid said it will use the proceeds to strengthen its AI technology. Riiid is establishing research and development centers and data labeling centers in the US, Canada, and Ghana to attract global talent and to build its technical infrastructure.

Moreover, the funding will accelerate the company’s expansion in markets across the US, South America, Middle East and Asia with partners such as Kaplan, ConnecME, Grupo Inicie, and Casa Grande. The partners will provide educational content to allow Riiid to create personalized learning services.

“Riiid wants to transform education with AI, and achieve a true democratization of educational opportunities,” said Riiid Chief Executive Officer Jang Young-jun in a statement. “This investment is only the beginning of our journey in creating a new industry ecosystem and we will carry out this mission with global partnerships.”

Korea is currently home to 10 unicorns, or startups with over $1 billion valuation, according to data from private market tracker CB Insights.

By Son Ji-hyoung (consnow@heraldcorp.com)
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