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TMCNet:  TutorGroup, World's Largest English-Language Learning Institute, Adds SBI Group as Investor

[March 09, 2014]

TutorGroup, World's Largest English-Language Learning Institute, Adds SBI Group as Investor

SAN FRANCISCO --(Business Wire)--

TutorGroup, the leading online education platform and largest English-language learning institution in the world, has added SBI Group (formerly known as Softbank (News - Alert) Finance Group) as a strategic investor, adding another globally known company to its portfolio of investors. SBI Group has invested in TutorGroup through its education-focused fund SBI-Fudan Fund. The investment comes on the heels of their recent Series B round that closed in February, which totaled nearly $100 million USD with participation from Alibaba Group, Singapore based investment company Temasek and Qiming Venture Partners.

In addition to an already well-respected strategic counsel, SBI Group will provide invaluable local expertise as TutorGroup continues their platform expansion across Asia, including Japan in the near future.

SBI Group is a world-renowned financial group that provides a variety of one-stop financial services over the Internet. In addition to building fully Internet-based financial services including the securities business, banking business, insurance business, forex margin trading platform and Proprietary Trading System (PTS), SBI Group is one of the largest venture capital firms in Asia. Fudan-SBI Fund was jointly established by SBI Group and Shanghai Fudan Forward S&T (News - Alert) Co., Ltd under Fudan University, a leading university in China. The fund specializes in investments in education and related sectors.

"We are honored and excited to add SBI Group as an investor to our already strong portfolio," said Dr. Eric Yang, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of TutorGroup. "In our investor group, we now have some of the strongest strategic and financial minds across China, Singapore and Japan. In looking for strategic partners, we are fortunate to have found excellent partners, such as Alibaba Group, Temasek and SBI Group to help us further accelerate from our leadership position. We will use this round of investment to expand our global operations, which includes rapid hiring for our Silicon Valley office, where we house R&D and operations for TutorMing.com, our Mandarin Chinese education platform."

"TutorGroup is premiere Internet technology platform," said Li Peilung, Chairman of SBI China. "Its highly integrated tecnological platform enables unlimited imagination for diversified and explosive growth of its business in the future. We are keen to help them capitalize on our experience and influence within the Internet financial sector to help TutorGroup strengthen its existing platform, develop new business and accelerate its expansion in Asia and around the world."


"Fudan-SBI Fund has invested in TutorGroup because we value their innovation in online education, which allows a wider range of people to enjoy the highest quality educational resources anytime, anywhere," said Zhou Lan, partner at Fudan-SBI Fund. "In the future, we will provide the fund's resources and experience in education investment to support TutorGroup's growth, and work together to create a better future."

With more than 2,000 teachers in 30 countries and 60 cities around the world, TutorGroup provides real-time interactive language learning through millions of class sessions annually. Launched in 2004, with offices throughout Asia and a core R&D team based in Silicon Valley, TutorGroup created the first commercially available synchronous learning portal in the world, connecting online learners and teachers wherever they are around the globe, and dynamically recommending the optimal class size, learning pace and content, selected from more than 10,000 hours of already-created learning material.

The recommendations are honed through a proprietary technology platform that combines software, the individual student's history, and data analytics, leveraging the data from more than 10 years of online courses, totaling more than 5 million sessions. The technology stack also serves as a 24/7 support module, a CRM tool, student and teacher memory, course management, and a "classroom manager" that ensures each student learns at a pace and a class size that best suits them.

This platform and technology stack make TutorGroup the best solution for the future of online education. Its recommendations for content, course size, teachers and pace improve as students complete more courses. At any given moment, more than 10,000 hours of course content is available for live learning, all of which is user-rated and is constantly checked for accuracy and against current events. Teachers and students can each learn when they want and where they want, and at their own pace. Neither the teachers nor the students need a brick-and-mortar school, helping education reach hard-to-access areas.

Through this platform, TutorGroup currently offers online language-learning courses, such as TutorABC and VIPABC for English-language learning for students in the greater China region, TutorABC Jr. and VIPABC Jr. for English language learning students between the ages of 8 and 18, and TutorMing for Chinese language learners internationally.

About TutorGroup

TutorGroup is the premiere online education platform and largest English-language learning institution in the world, serving students that range from global business professionals to young children. Founded in 2004, TutorGroup has educated students in 40 countries, and hosted more than 5 million classroom sessions through its five, award-winning service product businesses, including VIPABCTutorABC, VIPABC Jr. and TutorABC Jr. for English training and TutorMing for Mandarin Chinese. Visit www.tutor-group.com for more information.


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