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Vietnam after-school learning startup Marathon raises $1.5M pre-seed round – TechCrunch

Marathon education It was created after the founder realized that Vietnam’s after-school education was a child and has not evolved much. Some of the most popular lesson centers in big cities teach hundreds of students at a time. “They are 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 travel platforms Triip.me and Christina’s. Both grew up in Hanoi and spent most of their childhood attending after-school learning centers.

Approximately 50% to 70% of students from kindergarten to high school attend after-school classes, but the industry is very fragmented, Fam says. Many learning centers are run by former public school teachers and are concentrated in major cities.

“When talking to students, I think the biggest problem 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 run by a top tutor.” On the other hand, students in 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 attending a preparatory course.

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

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

Before participating in a marathon, teachers go through a screening process, such as how many of the previous students passed the exam and achieved good grades. The marathon works directly with a group of about 20-25 students during the online lecture, answers questions via instant messenger, and is paired with a teaching assistant who manages the meeting room and gives detailed lessons. ..

The marathon first started in Ho Chi Minh City, and its expansion strategy takes into account the cultural differences between Vietnam’s north and south. 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 curriculum separately. Parents in the south are more experimental and willing to try new services. Parents in the north are highly dependent on their network and word of mouth. So they are more cautious about trying what we are doing, “Tran said. “Therefore, when servicing north and south, we serve unique customers.”

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

Vietnam after-school learning startup Marathon raises $1.5M pre-seed round – TechCrunch Source link Vietnam after-school learning startup Marathon raises $1.5M pre-seed round – TechCrunch

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