BEIJING, April 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Recently, China Entrepreneur Magazine interviewed Wei Zhou, Founding Managing Partner of China Creation Ventures (CCV), on the in-depth coverage of "AI+ Education". He sees AI as an alternative solution to the limitation of qualified education resources, which cannot be solved by the Internet. Wei has invested in Dingdong Class, Singsound, Miaocode and Kuaipeilian in the sector of online education.
As online education has boomed in China, thousands of Chinese students accepted the new teaching method. However, the bottlenecks of the current model are apparent, since the high price of live broadcasting teaching videos has been criticized for a long time.
For instance, the unit price of a 1-on-1 English online class with a foreign teacher is about $22.5. If the student takes two lessons per week, the family will spend around $2,250 every year. Most families cannot afford it. Parents need high-quality but cost-effective online classes, but the current business model cannot solve this problem. The limitation of qualified teachers leads to the expensive cost, which is radically a scarcity of supply.
How does AI act?
By replacing the real teachers with "fake" teachers through AI technology, a new wave is coming. AI teachers have significantly lowered the marginal cost of foreign teachers and broke through the limitation on the supply side. Capital sees the efficiency and calls it Online Education 2.0 Era.
In this trend, Dingdong Class, founded by Mingfeng Qiu, former technical director at T4 level of Tencent, is the first mover and No.1 player in the teenage AI English education sector. It provides "pseudo-live broadcasting classes" by leveraging AI technology, pre-recorded video clips, innovative interactions, and gamification design. It takes an appointment system for the class, and the number of paid users has reached tens of thousands in less than half a year. In December 2018, China Creation Ventures (CCV) led its A Round investment. Recently, it completed the A+ Round. "Functions such as answering are being updated. The sense of competition and companionship will enhance the learning effect of the AI teaching experience," Qiu said.
The advantages of AI technology are apparent. A large number of standardized materials could be reorganized, according to the fact that teaching behaviors usually divided into knowledge output and teacher-student interaction. More specifically, the knowledge output often has a fixed template, including lesson plans and teaching materials, such as what to teach, how to teach, examples and interaction. The model of "one foreign teacher + AI interactive" provided a new angle: the fixed cost will be the combination of "one teacher + teaching + teaching materials + one AI training model." Meanwhile, the fixed cost will be diluted when users are increasing, and the marginal cost will be much lower.
CCV also invested in Singsound, which provides AI technology services to educational institutions. Singsound has served more than 300 clients till now, most of which are targeting K-12 and pre-school education, including leading entrepreneurs like TAL and New Oriental.
Wei Zhou, Founding and Managing Partner of CCV, regarded it as a solution for the Online Education 2.0 Era. "Education from the offline to the online is the 1.0 Era. Now the education will enter the era of 2.0 by leveraging AI, using the Internet to break the barriers of time and space, and solving the problem of resource limitation. We have seen the hope of using technology to solve supply and demand bottlenecks and cost bottlenecks." Wei said.
Wei's perspective on AI startups is kind of different. He appreciates the technology innovation in China, which is recognized that has enormous potential to develop AI. However, compared with the U.S., what would be China's preponderance? His answer is, China has massive data and abundant business scenarios for AI startups to quickly launch the technology. That will be a competitive advantage, and education is just one good example. Besides, Wei also noticed the negative influence of data fragmentation and dispersion.
Recently, he was invited to the summit of "For A Better Earth," where he gave a keynote speech of how technology eliminates geographical and resource differences. Meanwhile, he communicated with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the topic of how AI promotes social development. During the speech and panel, he expressed the above views.
At the same time, Wei has been the judge of the JD Discovery Global Summit & Competition of JD Digit for consistently two years. It combines scenario, data, and AI, and then open to startup companies to let them discover more possibilities of AI technology. He endorsed the JD Discovery, by which leading entrepreneurs open up an opportunity for startups. Wei led the investment of JD.com when at KPCB China, where he was Managing Partner and led its digital practice group in Greater China. After managing the top venture capital for ten years, Wei and his TMT investment team of many years started CCV, still focusing on the investment of early-stage TMT sectors. He invested JD Digit in A Round after establishing CCV.
Data from public reports.
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SOURCE China Creation Ventures