SoftBank-backed Korean edtech startup Riiid acquires Langoo, expands in Japan – TechCrunch

Riiid, an AI-powered edtech firm based in South Korea, purchased Langoo, its Japanese distributor partner, to expand its Japan presence.
This acquisition follows the completion of SoftBanks Vision Fund 2, which raised $175 million in Series D funding. Riiid stated that the funding will be used to continue its global expansion.

Riiids Japan partner Langoo offers Riiid tutor, formerly known by Santa, an app that helps you prepare for the TOEIC English-language proficiency exam. Riiid claims more than 2.5 million people have downloaded the Riiid tutor app in South Korea or Japan. The Riid Tutor app was launched in April 2019 in Japan. Within a week, it ranked first among Android education apps in terms of sales.

Langoo's exceptional ability to use Riid Tutor in its local business was the key reason for this acquisition, according to YJ Jang, co-founder and CEO at Riid. Our ability to use our technology in any region, language or domain is Riid's strength. We will be able to capture more Japanese market opportunities by leveraging this investment. This acquisition is just the beginning of an inorganic strategy that will eventually apply Riiids AI technology in the global market to help more students around the globe.

According to TechCrunch, Japan is one the most important education markets. The Japanese edtech sector still relies on traditional in-person education. Riiid spokesperson said that Japan has tremendous potential to grow. Riiid will continue to expand its reach into other regions of the world, including Central and East Asia, after it has successfully penetrated the Japanese market, said the spokesperson.

Based on Yano Research Institute's report, the Japanese remote learning industry was valued at $2.6 billion for 2020. This represents an increase of 22.4% over year.

Riiid will establish a Japanese unit through the acquisition to boost sales, marketing and business development in Japan. The company plans to focus on local remote learning and education.

Riiid Japan will offer its services to expand its customer base, including tutoring and English speaking services.

Since Riiid Labs opened in Silicon Valley, the U.S. branch, Riiid Labs has been active in the global market penetration since 2020. Riiid has users in Vietnam, Taiwan, and just recently signed a partnership agreement with an Indian-based AI edtech firm, according to a spokesperson. The spokesperson said that Riiid is preparing to open a R&D centre in Canada.

The company also launched a mobile app for ACT preparation with ConnectMe Education, in Egypt, Turkey UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and early 2021. In partnership with Kaplan in 2021, it also launched the GMAT beta version in order to target the Korean market. Riiid will launch Riiid Classroom in the first quarter 2022. This AI-based solution offers teachers an assessment tool and a learning program. Its key features include lecture recommendations based upon individual student weaknesses, individual performance analysis, task management, and dropout analysis.

Riiid offers AI-based online education solutions, including K-12, post-secondary, and corporate training. It was founded in 2014 and has around 210 employees worldwide, including South Korea.