LingoAce: Transforming the Way Children Learn Chinese

Hugh Yao is on a mission to disrupt traditional models of language education by creating a fun and engaging learning experience for kids from different countries and cultures all over the world.

Abheek Anand

Published December 3, 2021

By Abheek Anand and Shenya Wang

Today, we’re excited to announce that Sequoia Capital India is leading the Series C round in LingoAce, twelve months after leading the Series A+ and after participating meaningfully in the Series B earlier this year. This deepening commitment is a testament to the inspiring ambition and performance of the company, which is on a mission to make online learning fun, immersive, and effective for students all over the world.

LingoAce was founded in Singapore in 2017 by Hugh Yao, who identified a gap in the global online Chinese education market when he was looking for language learning tools for his young son. Hugh, who moved to Singapore from China to work in the technology sector, wanted his son to learn his native language, but did not find many suitable options, with most platforms still adopting traditional, non-interactive learning methods. He saw an opportunity to build a global brand for Chinese language education, where technology could enable customised learning paths and quality personalized Chinese language classes. ​

We first met Hugh in 2020, when the LingoAce team was less than 10 employees working out of a coworking space in Singapore.  From the start, we were inspired by Hugh’s passion, and his ambition to disrupt traditional models of language education by creating a fun and engaging learning experience for kids from different countries and cultures all over the world. Since Sequoia Capital India led the Series A+ round in the company, our team has been working closely with him and his team. We continue to be impressed by the relentless focus on learning outcomes and business performance, which has led the company to have terrific customer feedback and business momentum. 

LingoAce started off with a Mandarin Chinese curriculum designed by in-house education specialists, as well as multimedia and animation experts, and delivered through live one-on-one and small-group classes. Teachers are based in China, and the online program makes use of AI/ML and gamification to keep students engaged, track learning outcomes and to personalize their lessons and learning experience.  

Today, LingoAce has a team of more than 4,000 professionally-certified teachers and a global base of students across more than 100 countries. The growing interest in language education and the rapid adoption of online learning through the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a boom in new learners. Booking revenue has grown by 4000% since the end of 2019, and user retention and student engagement remain incredibly high. Equally importantly, the company has been a magnet for aspirational talent, and have built an exceptional global management team.

Yet, as Hugh would say, this is just the beginning. The company, which is launching an English curriculum for global learners in December, plans to continue to scale the platform to offer more language learning products, reach greater audiences, and ensure that more children across the globe will continue to have access to quality online educational experiences.

We’re thrilled to be partners with Hugh and his team, and are excited for what’s next.