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Zuoyebang

Baidu’s Student Q&A App Zuoyebang Lands Investment From Sequoia and Legend Capital

Posted Sep 3, 2015 by Jon Russell (@jonrussell)
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Baidu, China’s largest search engine and an investor in Uber, is giving its Zuoyebang ‘after school’ service, which helps school students with their studies, wings of its own after it revealed that the business raised an undisclosed Series A funding round.

The new capital was provided by Sequoia China and Legend Capital, and is part of an ongoing Baidu initiative to open some services to external investment opportunities. The company has enabled investment in Baidu Takeout Delivery and 91 Desktop, two companies it span out this summer — with the former raising $70 million.

“This strategy aims to promote the independent quality assets, and to foster Baidu’s open ecosystem,” the company said.

Zuoyebang, which began life as part of Q&A site Baidu Zhidao, is a platform where students can seek answers to study-related problems, and also provide solution to peers who are looking for assistance.

Rumors of the service’s impending independence made the rounds in Chinese media this week, so word of this deal is not a huge surprise. Baidu said that the one-year-old service has over 50 million registered users, some three million of whom use it daily. Available for Android and iOS, the service has seen more than 950 million questions and answers on file. Baidu said also that it is operational within 113 schools and educational centers across China.

It’s pretty clear from this move that Baidu wants some of its promising business to operate with a more startup-like structure. Zuoyebang, for example, has less than 100 employees, nearly two-thirds of whom are focused on R&D, Baidu said.

While it isn’t going to the lengths of Google, with its Alphabet reshuffle to help the U.S. firm’s more innovative projects operate with greater freedom, Baidu’s approach to spinning out some services is nonetheless notable. Combining links to the parent company with quality, external investors and their networks could, on paper at least, boost these businesses. It also decouples them from the Baidu which, like all other public firms in the country, is affected by the collapse of the Chinese market.

The education market is a crowded one in China. Zuoyebang’s competition includes offerings from close rivals Tencent and Alibaba.

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CrunchBase

  • Zuoyebang

    • Overview Zuoyebang currently cooperates with 113 educational organisations and 370,000 primary schools and high schools in China. Zuoyebang, which started lifestyles as phase of Q&A website Baidu Zhidao, is a platform where scholars can seek answers to study-related problems, and also supply method to peers who are trying to find assistance.
    • Website http://zuoye.baidu.com/
    • Full profile for Zuoyebang
  • Baidu

    • Founded 1999
    • Overview Baidu is a Chinese website and search engine that enables individuals to obtain information and find what they need. Baidu offers functional online search, Tieba community search, industry-based vertical search, mp3 search, portal channels, and instant messaging services. Its products include Baidu Webpage, Baidu Video, Baidu Map, hao123.com, BaiduPedia, Baidu Input, Baidu Toolbar, TTPlayer, …
    • Location Beijing, 22
    • Categories Search, Internet, Social Network
    • Website http://www.baidu.com
    • Full profile for Baidu
  • Sequoia Capital

    • Founded 1972
    • Overview The Sequoia team helps a small number of daring founders build legendary companies. We spur them to push the boundaries of what’s possible. In partnering with Sequoia, companies benefit from our unmatched community and the lessons we’ve learned over 40 years working with Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, John Morgridge, Jerry Yang, Elon Musk, Larry Page, Jan Koum, Brian Chesky, Drew Houston, Adi Tatarko …
    • Location Menlo Park, CA
    • Categories Venture Capital
    • Website http://www.sequoiacap.com
    • Full profile for Sequoia Capital
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