The AI tutoring solution company Riiid, a member company of the Born2Global Centre, has secured $18 million through its Series C funding round, which was led by Premier Partners, Alpenroute Asset Management, DSC Investment, IMM Investment, Korea Growth Investment Corporation, and D Ventures Private Investment Fund. Such recapitalizations, in which DSC Investment is participating for the third time, have consistently served as stepping stones for Riiid’s growth since the company’s earliest years.
Riiid, an edutech startup, has published the results of its research on its one-on-one AI tutoring deep-learning technology in an academic journal and is currently providing independently developed AI technology as a B2B solution known as “santA.Inside.” A team of over 30 researchers from prominent Korean and overseas universities (UC Berkeley, Yale, Seoul National University, KAIST, POSTECH, Korea University, and Hanyang University), all of whom hold master’s or doctoral degrees in mathematics or computer science, is working to continuously develop and improve santA.Inside.
Riiid was also the first Korean company to present a research paper on AI technology at the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), the world’s most authoritative conference on artificial intelligence. The company continues to receive acknowledgment for its AI technologies not only in Korea but in the United States, China, and Japan as well, with a total of 41 registered patents and patent applications.
Having already secured a cumulative total of $18M in R&D investment, Riiid will be using most of its recently raised Series C investment to conduct R&D and further enhance santA.Inside.
A B2B service that is also Riiid’s main business, santA.Inside can be easily used by any education company interested in using AI technology to provide educational services that transcend human capability. The solution allows companies to launch their own AI educational service brands.
Santa TOEIC is the first AI tutoring product that Riiid has developed, as a test product based on santA.Inside, aiming to introduce the AI tutoring service concept to the Korean educational market. An AI tutoring service exclusively for TOEIC students that has already secured a cumulative total of 900,000 members, Santa TOEIC can predict a user’s score after he or she completes only 6 to 10 problems. It can also curate individually tailored problem and lecture banks in real-time and design the most efficient learning patterns and schedules.
Riiid’s analysis of the rate of increase of the TOEIC scores of Santa TOEIC users compared to their usage times shows that, on average, 20 hours of learning results in an increase of 124 points. In late 2017, the service was converted into a paid service. Compared to the first quarter of 2018, sales for the first quarter of 2019 increased by 255 percent. As evidence of the proliferation of its AI tutor, Riiid announced that, on average, Santa TOEIC users solve a total of 910 problems, which is roughly equivalent to 1.5 paper workbooks (most users of paper workbooks solve fewer than 100 problems, after which they essentially stop learning).
Currently, Riiid is able to use santA.Inside to enhance the accuracy of its AI tutor’s predictions and diagnoses through its independently developed reinforcement and active learning techniques, even with only small amounts of data, as well as design the optimum learning patterns for increasing users’ scores. After learning the answers to 20,000 to 30,000 math, Korean language, and Korean history problems, provided by Korean educational companies partnered with Riiid, santA.Inside was able to achieve results similar to those of Santa TOEIC, in terms of answer correctness and score prediction ability, which the latter had required 100 million pieces of data to achieve.
David Oh, the principal of Premier Partners’ VC Division who spearheaded this investment, said, “Riiid is using AI technology that has already been internationally recognized and is gaining recognition in the market with its remarkable products. We followed through with this investment based on the fact that AI tutoring technology can be applied to diverse educational areas simultaneously and in parallel and because we believe that Riiid will be able to consistently lead the innovation of the global educational market.”
Based on its most recent investment, Riiid will be utilizing AI technologies that have been vetted by both academia and the business community to expand into even more diverse markets and fields.
Riiid CEO Young-Jun Jang said, “Riiid will transform the paradigm of the educational industry from a content-centered one to a technology-centered one. By entrusting the operation of complicated AI technologies to us, the educational companies that partner with Riiid will be able to focus their energy and attention on developing outstanding content. We will also do everything we can to help customers study various types of excellent content effectively via AI-based predictive algorithms. With our unique AI tutoring solution, Riiid has already started showing consumers that we can change the paradigm of the existing private school market, which is notoriously expensive and inefficient. Through more aggressive R&D investments, we are planning to expand our services to other types of tests, including the SAT and Korean civil service examination, as well as into overseas edutech markets.”