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Chinese incubator teams with US investment fund

(chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2015-06-03 21:11

An education incubator in China has signed an agreement with an investment fund in the United States in the hope of promoting the innovation and development of entrepreneurs in the education sector of both countries.

Future Works, an "education plus" incubator, signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement in Beijing with Reach Capital.

The founders hope to provide international development for entrepreneurs in education and promote the innovation and reform of the two countries' education systems.

Liu Yachao, one of the founders, said he had worked in K12 Education for 12 years, from original offline small classes to current online big classes.

"I've gained a lot of experience and lessons during the process, which I would like to share with young entrepreneurs," Liu said.

Future Works will follow the example of Y Combinator, an early-stage incubator in the US founded by Angel Investor Paul Graham which adopts a three-step strategy: one Angel Investment, three-month systematic tutoring and top VC all-round financing connection.

Future Works will provide the business model and strategic tutoring at least twice a week, and will offer more practical services to entrepreneurs who join the online education business, Liu said.

When the three-month incubation ends, a closed road show will be held with top co-investors invited to help quality projects continue financing, he added.

Shen Wenbo, who first came up with the idea of this incubator, said: "We hope it can become the first stop for Internet entrepreneurs to step into the education business, as well as for college students to start a business in the education sector."

Shen said they chose to work with Reach Capital because of the strength of its team.

All its founders came from the New Schools Venture Fund, which have 15 years experience of the early-stage investment industry for education and has invested in more than 40 companies between 2012 and 2014.

"The partners have abundant experience, keen insight into the trend of international education and the technology industry and the first-hand resources of Silicon Valley, which are a valuable treasure for China's education," Shen said.

Ning Boyu, one of the founders, who had worked in various fields and compared education products of different countries, is particularly optimistic about the future of China's online education.

"US online education focuses a lot on the full-time school system and technology innovation, which is worth studying for Chinese entrepreneurs.

"However, China has a distinctive education system and special labor cost advantage which will lead to an unusual developing road," Ning said.

In recent years, the education technology industry has developed rapidly, especially in China. According to jmdedu.com, China's education technology investment reached $1.09 billion last year, up 700 percent from 2013.

The latest statistics from American research institution Ambient Insight show that global education technology investment in the first quarter of this year reached $1.08 billion, with China accounting for 37 percent.

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