Squirrel AI Learning, a Shanghai-based online after-college tutoring company, plans to expand into foreign markets in two years by developing an English-language curriculum for mathematics as well as Mandarin lessons for non-native speakers.
“The reason mathematics and Chinese-language lessons there are so many foreigners who want to learn the Chinese language, and they do not have good options,” Joleen Liang, a companion at Squirrel AI Learning, stated in an interview last week in Hong Kong. “So, we’re going to expand our market in two years.”
Squirrel, whose formal name is Shanghai Yixue Education Technology Co., offers personalized lessons for students from elementary to high school through online courses and at brick-and-mortar learning centres.
Prospective students are first put through a diagnostic check to assess which areas in the subject they are weak. The AI algorithms will then cater the tutoring to focus on the areas of weakness, reducing the amount of time spent on unneeded coaching by 80%, according to Liang.
The firm’s adaptive learning methods claim to be able to recognize information gaps in real-time through the studying course of, then immediately fills them with tutorial content to close those gaps. The algorithms give each scholar a personalized learning plan and determine which areas the scholar is weak at, allowing human teachers to hone in on the weaknesses.
Squirrel fees decrease for its services in less well-off parts of China. It has also donated 1 million learning accounts value 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million) to underprivileged families in weak mountainous areas through the Qingxiyuanshan Educational Charity Foundation.
The company has so far raised US$150 million in three rounds of fundraising, giving it a valuation that exceeds US$1.1 billion and making it a so-called unicorn, according to an April statement.