The post-Vietnam school learning marathon raises $ 1.5 million pre-badge round-tech crunch.

Marathon Education was created when its founders realized that post-school education in Vietnam was not very advanced because they were children. Some of the most popular tuition centers in the big cities teach hundreds of students at once. “They’re packed like sardines, and when I went to classes like this in Vietnam, things didn’t really change in the last decade or two,” said co-founder Pham Dick.

Pham started the marathon six weeks ago with his brother-in-law, Tran Viet Tung, to make post-school education more accessible in Vietnam. The startup is announcing today that it has raised 1.5 1.5 million in pre-seed funding led by FourB Ventures (a new fund launched by Alto Partners), including Ventura Discovery and iSDSE. There is participation of investors including A.

The marathon is currently focused on math and science courses in grades six through 12, developed by the Vietnamese Ministry of Education (MOET), and will eventually cover all MOET subjects.

Prior to founding the marathon, Pham was an investor in TPG Global, while Tran is a serial entrepreneur whose previous startups include travel platforms Trip.me and Christina. Both grew up in Hanoi and spent most of their childhood in after-school education.

About 50 to 70 percent of K-12 students go to school, Pham says, but the industry is fragmented. Many learning centers are run by former public school teachers, and are clustered in large cities.

“If you talk to students, I think the biggest problem we’re seeing is access,” Pham said. “If you are a student in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, there is no guarantee that you will attend classes run by top tutors.” Meanwhile, students from other areas often travel to Tier 1 cities before major tests, such as university entrance exams, staying in hostels for about a month while attending prep courses.

For teachers, running a center means handling administrative tasks such as marketing, admissions and parental communication, which reduce the time they spend designing their courses. When the current COVID-19 lockdown began a few months ago, they had to make rapid changes to the online teaching platform.

When teachers join the marathon, the company takes over the administration. Its online model also means they can reach more students, including in other cities. Pham says teachers who travel from offline centers to marathons could potentially double their incomes by two to three times.

Before joining a marathon, teachers go through a screening process, including how many of their previous students passed exams or improved their grades. The marathon connects them with teaching assistants who work directly with groups of approximately 20 to 25 students during online lectures, answer questions via instant messenger, and then take breaks to read lessons in detail. Manage outrooms.

The marathon first started in Ho Chi Minh City and its expansion strategy will take into account the cultural differences between Vietnam’s north and south. For example, he will find tutors with a regional accent, and adjust his marketing strategy.

“We’re going to focus on teachers and curriculum separately, because the two areas are very different. Parents in the south are more experimental and more willing to try out new services,” Tran said. They rely heavily on what we’re doing, so they’re more careful in testing what we’re doing. “So when we serve North and South, we offer a specific set of customers.”

After the marathon lockdown is over, she plans to continue her online model only and the children go back to classes in person for regular school. “After a year of intermittent lockdowns, we’ve noticed a clear change in parents’ attitudes. They’re very receptive to learning online. Right now, even though there’s a lockdown, the attendance rate is 99. Yes, “said Pham. “In the future, I think there’s a way to go online and it’s very scalable, so we want to focus our strategy around that.”

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