STEAM Education Startup Weikele Raises Two Rounds of Funding in A Year
COVID-19 and China
Student in a Weikele class. Image Credits: Weikele official website.

According to EO Company, Weikele - a B2B robot educational robotics company for children aged 3-6 - announced it has raised a strategic round of financing from BE Capital (蓝象资本). The company refused to disclose the amount but said it will be used for marketing and iteration of course content. The startup raised its pre-A round of financing in January courtesy of LONGLUCK (朗科投资) and Blue Power Capital (蓝海众力资本).

Founded in 2016, Weikele has businesses in 121 cities across the country, concentrated in second to fifth-tier cities, with 143 channel agents covering over 3,000 kindergartens. Chen Sixia, the founder, said that most of the big companies focus on the first-tier cities, in doing so they have arguably chosen a challenging path by trying to cut into a sinking market.

In an interview with Jiemodui, Chen Sixia said that the cooperation between Weikele and Kindergartens is B2B2C. The firm provides the kindergartens with curriculum plans and teacher training courses. At present, the average conversion rate in a single kindergarten is 40%, which means that if a kindergarten has 300 students, 120 parents are willing to pay for the courses, with a repurchase rate of 95%. 

In terms of courses, Weikele uses animated video + offline teaching mode. This method introduces classroom knowledge points by playing animated cartoons, with offline teachers helping children to build robots. The fee is comparatively low. A student who chooses to take the course pays CNY 780 for 16 lessons. 

As a point of reference, Chen Sixia is very curious about LEGO’s strong appeal to children. What surprised her the most was that LEGO, which was only a toy company in her eyes, has come to express so many mysteries about the cultivation of children's minds.

While speaking to EO Company she said that there are some recurring problems in the robot educational robot market that bear comparison to LEGO:

• There is not much quality supply in robot education, and there are few products that can withstand repeated tests like LEGO;

• The professional development level within robot education is so scarce that the quality of current robot education is low;

• The high prices of LEGO and similar firms have discouraged Chinese parents with an average income. These parents cannot afford the high prices of LEGO and companies with similar products.

In terms of market demand, the educational awareness of this generation of parents continues to improve, and the pace of educational robots for children is gaining momentum. In view of the kindergartens contacted by Chen Sixia, most of them are still at a very traditional stage, whereby content and teaching methods are not innovative. However, in the context of consumption upgrades, kindergartens also need good early childhood teaching content to attract enrollment and generate income. 

Chen Jing (陈晶) senior investment manager of BE Capital, said that the choice of investing in Weikele is mainly because the team has a good execution ability and has a deep understanding of operations and sales.

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