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Sequoia Leads $105 Million Round for Mandarin App LingoAce

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Sequoia Leads $105 Million Round for Mandarin App LingoAce
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(Bloomberg) -- Mandarin-learning app LingoAce raised $105 million in a round led by Sequoia Capital India to fuel its growth after pandemic-related lockdowns boosted demand for its service.

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Owl Ventures, Shunwei Capital and SWC Global participated in the Series C round, which brings the total raised this year to $160 million, Singapore-based LingoAce said in a statement. Owl and Tiger Global led a $55 million round earlier in the year.

LingoAce targets children from 3 to 15 with an app designed to make it easy for parents to plan and monitor their learning. Its bookings have increased almost 4,000% since the end of 2019 as the pandemic closed schools and other facilities, forcing children to study at home and forgo many after-school activities.

With Beijing cracking down on its domestic online education providers, LingoAce may benefit from potential Chinese competitors facing regulatory hurdles to their expansion. LingoAce will use the fresh capital to boost hiring in the U.S., Europe and Southeast Asia and to strengthen its curriculum and product. It also seeks to expand to English-language programs and explore other subjects.

Other online-education services have capitalized on the increased use and acceptance of remote-learning tools during the pandemic. Language-learning app Duolingo Inc. raised $521 million at a valuation of more than $6 billion in July, while in India, tutoring service Vedantu became the country’s fifth edtech unicorn in September.

“No one had built a global brand for Chinese language education,” LingoAce founder Hugh Yao said in emailed comments. “I saw an opportunity to build an immersive and effective language learning experience especially for children growing up in families where Mandarin is not frequently spoken.”

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