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Winner's Key Nabs RMB20 M in Funding

The Series A round was led by Gobi Partners, alongside existing backers

According to Winner's Key CEO Zhou Xingtian, this round of funding will be used by the company to optimize their tutoring system, upgrade teaching materials, and for developing a new weekday course system. Winner's Key reportedly received a RMB6 M seed round in late 2017. 

The company is a provider of high-end tutoring services, as well as after-school primary classes for students from Grades 1 to 5. They offer private tutoring services including homework help, management of habits, and management of the child's EQ, and oversee the child's future development. Concurrently, Winner's Key utilizes their proprietary data management system, "TuojiaoBuo" to collect and analyze data on their students, information which they then use to create personalized tuition plans that positively impact the student's academic results, habits, and thinking ability. 

Xingtian believes that the company's services address the longstanding "3.30 pm" issue faced by Chinese students (schools in China typically end the day at 3.30 pm). The currently available solution to the problem (xiao fan zhou, literally, small dining table), has been heavily criticized for its shortcomings in terms of safety, teaching quality and environment. Today's parents are expecting more from these services - including babysitting alongside tuition - and are also demanding the comprehensive development of the child's abilities, as well as the teaching of good habits. While there are many night-time tutoring classes offered in the market, few are successful; this issue, coupled with an increase in demand as well as a change in policy, has opened up a window of opportunity in the high-end tutoring market. 

Winner's Key Co-founder and COO Zhang Jun also claimed that with the company's services, students can expect to enjoy nearly 20 hours of learning per week, a time period that is very beneficial to the cultivation of their habits and thinking ability. Additionally, he pointed out that "education should focus on the qualitative, and not the quantitative." By nature, the current education industry already takes up a lot of time for the children, and this fact has allowed Winner's Key to explore offering other value-added services. The company currently has 7 campuses around Shanghai, and they have recorded a class renewal rate of above 90%, without any marketing efforts. 

Wing Hu, Managing Director of lead investor Gobi Partners, added that the introduction of China's two-child policy will see the number of school-aged children rise exponentially within the next few years. This fact, coupled with the advent of a hectic city lifestyle for most families will subsequently lead to an increase in demand for tutoring services. He asserted that, "Gobi is optimistic about Winner Key's services, which are standardized, high quality, and offer data analytics. Their proprietary online management system provides real-time tuition, interaction between parents and tutors, a personalized assessment for each student, and many other features, all of which set the foundation for the company's plans for rapid expansion." He also believes that Winner's Key has the potential to be the market leader for the online tutoring industry, and can act as the entry point for pre-school tuition. 

Moving forward, the company will continue to focus on improving its high-end tutoring system, as well as optimizing its new weekday course system, while sticking to their goal of "Creating a Zero Worry Childhood"; they aim to be the market leader of the high-end tutoring industry in China in the near future. 

About Winner's Key

Winner's Key is a high-end "third place" after school system that was founded by a group of elites from Shanghai Jiatong University. They are responsible for bringing over the STEAM Education Curriculum (Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts, and Math) and PPTT 4-step time management formula (Property, Priority, Time Budgeters and Time Wasters) from the US, which they subsequently combined with the modern American-style of a multi-purpose space for learning to create China's own after school informal classroom. Through tuition lessons, various games and activities (puzzles, memory boosters, thinking games, etc.), Winner's Key observes a student, collects and analyzes the data, which is then used to inspire the development of the student's core competencies including - motivation, perseverance, thinking skills, creativity, concentration, and sociability - via an online merit system. Winner's Key is dedicated to discovering every student's talent to ease their parents' worries about their development.