Softbank-backed South Korean Edtech Riiid Acquires Its Japanese Distribution Partner Langoo

As part of its efforts to expand into Japan, South Korean-headquartered edtech Riiid has acquired its Japanese distribution partner Langoo. The AI-powered edtech company’s acquisition of Langoo comes months after its $175 million Series D funding round that took place in May and was led by Softbank’s Vision Fund 2.

Founded in 2014, Riiid provides online learning solutions for K-12, post-secondary and corporate training through its AI-based technology. “Through Riiid’s AI-powered technology, individual students can gain access to personalized AI tutors, surpassing human tutors in learning efficiency at a fraction of the cost. We promote individual and institutional access to high-quality education”, Riiid’s website says. Riiid has an approximated number of 210 employees around the world including South Korea, the US, the UK, Canada, Vietnam and Brazil.

According to Riiid, over 2.5 million people use the Riiid Tutor app distributed in Japan by Langoo. Riiid’s Japanese distribution partner Langoo offers a test prep app for the English language proficiency test TOEIC in Japan. Riiid’s tutor app took the top spot in sales among education apps on Android stores within one week of its release. Explaining the reason for its acquisition of its distribution partner Langoo, co-founder and CEO of Riiid YJ Jang said that, “The exceptional capacity of Langoo in its local business with Riiid Tutor was the main reason for this acquisition. Riiid’s strength is our scalability and ability to apply our technology anywhere, regardless of regions, languages and domains. By leveraging this investment, we will capture broader Japanese market opportunities. This acquisition is the first step in an inorganic strategy to ultimately apply Riiid’s AI technology to the global market and help more learners around the world.” 

Riiid’s acquisition of Langoo is rather strategic as Japan has one of the world’s biggest education markets and is filled with opportunities that companies like Riiid want to take advantage of. According to a Riiid spokesperson, after successfully penetrating the Japanese market, it plans to take over other international regions including East and Central Asia.

Apart from fueling plans for expansion, Riid also wants to scale up marketing, sales and its B2B business development in Japan and to achieve that, will set up a Japanese unit through Langoo. According to a report by Yano Research Institute, the Japanese remote learning industry was estimated at $2.6 billion in 2020, increasing 22.4 percent YoY. Riid wants to address local remote learning and education in the market as well as leverage every available opportunity. Services that Riiid will offer will range from the TOEIC to English speaking and tutoring services, aimed at expanding its customer base in Japan.

Riiid has other products such as the ACT prep mobile app and GMAT beta version, all in partnerships with other companies. These are aimed at increasing operations and growing both services and customer base. It also has other products such as Riiid Classroom on the way.

The company’s biggest aim is to expand globally and it says it will continue to push more funds into ensuring that it expands globally.

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