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Baidu’s Zuoyebang attracts outside investors

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Baidu's education business Zuoyebang (作业帮) has completed a round of Series A funding, led by Sequoia and Legend Capital.Zuoyebang is one of a number of assets, along with Baidu Takeout Delivery and 91 Desktop, that Baidu has opened up to investment from financial and strategic investors since July. The strategy aims to promote the independent development of these assets and to foster Baidu’s open ecosystem.Zuoyebang currently cooperates with 113 educational organisations and 370,000 primary schools and high schools in China.With fewer than 100 people, about 70% of Zuoyebang’s team members are engaged in R&D areas such as search, image recognition and machine learning. Other team members have backgrounds in pedagogy, teaching and research.Steven Ji, partner, Sequoia Capital China, said, “Zuoyebang’s strong market position is proof of the abilities of this team. It’s a low-key, pragmatic, but hard-charging team – and that’s the key reason why we’re so optimistic about this project.”Chen Rui, managing director of Legend Capital, said “We have been looking at investment opportunities in K-12. Zuoyebang has excellent business performance, a clear development roadmap, and most of all, an outstanding team. Our philosophies align well, so the decision was made very quickly."Created by the Baidu Knows (Baidu Zhidao) team, Zuoyebang is a learning platform for K-12 students and launched in 2014. As of August 2015, cumulative activated users on the platform have reached 50 million, and daily active users exceeded three million. With over 950 million questions and solutions in its database, the platform has helped to solve more than four billion questions cumulatively.Details of the transaction with Sequoia and Legend Capital were not disclosed.

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