2020 China EdTech 100. Where are they now?

How are China’s Top 100 EdTech Startups of 2020 performing and where are they now?

Education Intelligence Unit

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June 17, 2021

In November 2019, HolonIQ announced the annual China EdTech 100 — a list of the 100 most promising EdTech startups headquartered in China. As we prepare to open nominations for our annual China EdTech 100, we take a look at where the 2020 cohort are now.

From 2015, China has led global investment in education technology (EdTech). In 2020, China set a record $10B USD invested in EdTech and by the end of Q1 2021 had nearly invested 2x the US, 6x India and 10x Europe since 2010.

In November 2019, at the Rosewood Hotel in Beijing, HolonIQ announced the 2020 China EdTech 100. Together with leading investors and technology companies in China and from around the world, we celebrated the top 100 EdTech companies transforming the way China, and the world learns. Executives from Goldman Sachs, AWS, New Oriental and Deloitte shared their insights on the ecosystem with education leaders from Universities and schools celebrated with the teams from the China EdTech 100.

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HolonIQ's Scoring Fingerprint

The HolonIQ Education Intelligence Unit evaluated thousands of submissions from across China, powered by data and insights from our Global Intelligence Platform and local experts. Each organization was assessed using our proprietary scoring engine and following HolonIQ’s startup scoring rubric. Our normalization algorithm ensures that individual scoring bias is eliminated to create an equitable baseline and allows experts to review their own ‘scoring fingerprint’ relative to other experts. HolonIQ’s startup scoring rubric covers the following dimensions:

Market. The quality and relative attractiveness of the specific market in which the company competes.
Product. The quality and uniqueness of the product itself.
Team. The expertise and diversity of the team.
Capital. The financial health of the company and in particular its ability to generate or secure sufficient funding.
Momentum. Positive changes in the size and velocity of the company over time.

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Where are they now?

Since announcing the list, 8 of the 2020 China EdTech 100 have gone public or announced plans to go public, and 6 have been acquired. 42 have raised significant fundraising rounds since the list was announced of which 15 were mega-rounds (greater than $100M USD).

Exits: 5 Public Exits and 6 Acquisitions.

Since the release of the 2020 China EdTech 100 list, 5 companies have gone public via an IPO, 3 have announced plans to go public (1 through a SPAC), and 6 have been acquired.

One of the most anticipated public offerings was 17Zuoye (NASDAQ: YQ), a virtual classroom platform for K-12 students, listing on the NASDAQ in December 2020. 17Zuoye achieved a $2B market cap on IPO, but today sits at around $800M. Also notable was Q&A platform, Zhihu (NYSE: ZH) which went public in March 2021 and sitting at around a $6B market cap today.

In addition to public exits, the 2020 China EdTech 100 companies have seen 6 acquisitions. Most recently, Koala Reading was acquired by 51Talk in April 2021, and in late 2020, VIPThink announced a formal merger with Magic Ears, the same day they closed a $180 million Series C (both companies where listed in the 2020 China EdTech 100).

Funding. $9B of China's $10B of Venture Capital in 2020 went to the 2020 China EdTech 100

Since January 2020, nearly half of the 2020 China EdTech 100 list (42 companies) have raised a combined $10B in equity funding from investors. In 2020 alone, companies on the list raised $9B in funding, which is 90% of all EdTechs funds raised in China through that year.

Of those 42 companies, 15 raised a $100M+ mega equity round.


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