Geniebook Co-founders Neo Zhizhong and Alicia Cheong

Leading Singapore edtech startup Geniebook raises US$16.6 million in series A funding round led by East Ventures and Lightspeed; to scale team with strategic new hires

October 19, 2021

Geniebook, Singapore’s largest online learning platform for the English, Mathematics and Science (EMS) syllabus, has secured US$16.6 million in a Series A funding round which was led by East Ventures (Growth fund), Lightspeed Venture Partners, and several prominent angel investors. John Danner (Dunce Capital), Gaurav Munjal & Roman Saini (Unacademy), Kunal Bahl & Rohit Bansal (Snapdeal), Alvin Tse (Xiaomi), Linh Pham Giang (Hocmai) were among the private individuals who invested in this round, as well as senior executives from some of Southeast Asia’s most influential companies like Grab, Shopee and Gojek. This latest round of funding comes after their previous Pre-Series A round which raised US$ 1.1 million in 2019 by a private investment company, Apricot Capital.

Founded in 2017 by experienced educators Neo Zhizhong and Alicia Cheong, Geniebook is a powerful suite of online learning products designed to help students accelerate their academic performance through personalization. Incredibly intuitive, Geniebook offers multiple ways to compound a student’s learning gains through self-directed and social learning across its products, ranging from worksheets, live online classes, and teacher chats. Students benefit from this blended learning experience targeted to their needs, more so than from any single product offer.

Since the start of 2019, Geniebook has achieved impressive revenue growth of over 2,000% with a fast growing user base of over 150,000 in Southeast Asia. In Vietnam alone, revenue grew by 3 times versus 2020. The profitable Singapore-headquartered company continues to fly the flag for Singapore education regionally with offices now located in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

“More than ever today, with online pedagogy becoming essential, we must greatly enhance the digital experience to accelerate students’ learning. We are thrilled to work with our new partners to elevate our suite of learning products and expand the team strategically in the region,” says Neo Zhizhong, CEO and Co-founder of Geniebook. 

Commenting on Geniebook’s regional expansion, Roderick Purwana, Managing Partner at East Ventures, adds, “As we enter the second year of the pandemic, when schools and students have to seek online arrangements, edtech companies are playing an important role and have accelerated their delivery of solutions to users. Geniebook, with their differentiated product offerings, is one of the leading edtech players in Singapore and has shown strong traction in overseas markets like Vietnam. They have been able to do so given the strength, passion, and hard work of the team, which we have known for some time before we made the investment. We have seen them grow as founders and are excited to join them in their journey to develop their core key strategies and expand to other countries in the region.”

“We are excited to back Neo Zhizhong and Alicia Cheong who have been tutoring for the past 10 years and who have built a successful offline tutoring business prior to Geniebook,” said Dev Khare, Partner at Lightspeed. “The Southeast Asia region has several countries with exam-driven cultures where Geniebook’s worksheets and cohort-based live learning approach delivers a premium experience with measurable improvement in student outcomes.”

Since 2019, Geniebook has expanded its team by 5 times and today houses over 350 employees globally. This has largely been driven by recruitment in Curriculum (teaching specialists, content experts) and Engineering (data scientists, tech developers) to maximize edtech’s best opportunities. The startup will utilize the funds from this round to further scale the team with strategic new hires across linchpin roles in the Curriculum, Engineering, Product, Growth teams and more.

Funds will also be used to continually innovate on existing Geniebook products, including GenieSmart, AI-personalized worksheets that identify specific learning gaps for targeted improvement; GenieClass, where students learn from expert teachers via live online classes; and GenieAsk, which allows enrolled students to chat with and receive help from experienced teachers in real-time.

Alicia Cheong, COO and Co-founder of Geniebook adds, “I believe the way students learn will continue to change and it is amazing how we are right here at the forefront of what’s next in EdTech. What excites us most is how we are able to leverage technology plus the passion of our teachers to make online learning a truly personalized and energized experience.”

Buoyed by this funding round and the support of its strategic partners, Geniebook is poised for a next growth leap with strategic new hires, product innovation, plus an unwavering focus to deliver learning experiences to help more students learn smarter and do better.