Vietnamese after-school learning start-up Marathon raises $ 1.5 million pre-launch – TechCrunch


Marathon education It was created after the founder realized that out-of-school education in Vietnam was a kid and hasn’t changed much. Some of the more popular course centers in large cities teach hundreds of students at a time. “They’re packed like sardines, and when I went to this kind of class in Vietnam, it hasn’t really changed in the last 10 or 20 years,” said co-founder Pham Duc. ..

Pham started a marathon six weeks ago with his brother-in-law, Tran Viet Tung, to make after-school learning more accessible in Vietnam. Today, the startup announced that it has raised $ 1.5 million in pre-seed funding led by Forge Ventures, a new fund launched by Alto Partners, with the participation of investors such as Venturra Discovery and iSeed SEA.

The marathon currently focuses on math and science courses in grades 6-12 of the national curriculum developed by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), which will eventually cover all MOET subjects.

Prior to founding Marathon, Pham was an investor in TPG Global, but Tran was a serial entrepreneur, and previous startups included the travel platforms and Christina’s. Both grew up in Hanoi and spent most of their childhood attending after-school learning centers.

About 50 to 70 percent of kindergarten to high school students attend after-school classes, but the industry is highly fragmented, Fam says. Many learning centers are run by former public school teachers and are concentrated in large cities.

“When we talk to students, I think the biggest issue we see is accessibility,” Fam said. “If you are a student in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, there is no guarantee that you will be in a class led by an excellent tutor.” On the other hand, students from other regions will be able to take major tests such as college entrance exams. I often travel to Tier 1 cities before and stay at the hostel for about a month while taking a prep course.

For teachers, running a center means dealing with administrative tasks such as marketing, admission and communication with parents. This reduces the time spent designing the course. When the current COVID-19 blockade began a few months ago, they had to immediately switch to an online education platform.

When the teacher takes part in the marathon, the company takes care of the administrative tasks. Its online model also means you can reach more students, including in other cities. Teachers who switch from offline centers to marathons could double or triple their bottom line, Fam said.

Before participating in a marathon, teachers go through a selection process, such as how many previous students have passed the exam and obtained good grades. The Marathon works directly with a group of around 20 to 25 students during the online conference, answers questions via instant messaging, and is paired with a teaching assistant who manages the meeting room and gives in-depth lessons. ..

The marathon started in Ho Chi Minh City and its expansion strategy takes into account the cultural differences between northern and southern Vietnam. For example, find a tutor with a local accent and adjust your marketing strategy.

“The two regions are so different that we focus on teachers and programs separately. Parents in the south are more experimental and ready to try new services. Parents in the North depend heavily on their network and word of mouth. So they’re more careful when they try what we’re doing, ”Tran said. “Therefore, when we serve the north and the south, we serve unique customers. “

The marathon will continue the online model only after the blockade is over and the children will return to face-to-face classes at the regular school. “I noticed a significant change in my parents’ behavior after a year of intermittent blockages. They are much more willing to accept online learning. Currently there are blockages, but attendance is 99%. That’s what Pham said. “Going forward, I think online is the way to go and it’s a lot more scalable, so I want to focus my strategy on that. “

Vietnamese after-school learning start-up Marathon raises $ 1.5 million pre-launch – TechCrunch Source link Vietnamese after-school learning start-up Marathon raises $ 1.5 million pre-launch – TechCrunch

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