Riiid, the Seoul-based AI-powered edtech startup, announced it is strengthening its footprint in the Japanese market with the acquisition of Japanese distribution company Langoo. Riiid had raised $175 million in Series D from SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 in May 2021. The company has focused on accelerating its market expansion, including through M&A and investments.
Since 2019, Langoo has been the exclusive provider of Riiid TUTOR (formerly Santa TOEIC) in Japan. As per Riiid, the TUTOR app ranked No.1 in sales among Education applications for Android within the first week of its release in Japan. The app’s sales in Japan have since grown 400% annually.
“The exceptional capacity of Langoo in its local business with Riiid TUTOR was the main reason for this acquisition,” said YJ Jang, Riiid’s co-founder and CEO. “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.”
Rise in remote learning in Japan to help Riiid growth
According to a report by Yano Research Institute of Japan, the Japanese remote learning market was 288 billion Yen (around $2.6 billion) in 2020, a 22.4% increase from the previous year. As COVID-19 took a toll on face-to-face education, demand for remote learning surged within the B2B education market, particularly in areas such as corporate training. Historically, Japan has been reluctant to digitize its conventional education system, which has created enormous room for the growth of online education.
Through the acquisition, Riiid is establishing a Japanese arm to address the local remote learning and education market. The company plans to reinforce different business segments including marketing, sales, and B2B business development in order to apply the product’s success in Korea to the Japanese market.
Riiid also plans to expand its service beyond the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) to AI-based English speaking and English coaching services, in order to broaden its customer base. The plan demonstrates Riiid’s long-term commitment to B2B business, providing its AI technology to a variety of education fields including public education, private education, and corporate training.
Riiid has been actively expanding its businesses in the global market since the founding of Riiid Labs, its global arm based in Silicon Valley, early last year. Riiid is currently preparing or providing AI-based learning solutions to a variety of domains in more than 10 countries across South America, Central Asia, and East Asia.