Marathon, an after-school learning startup established this year, has raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding from several funds and angel investors, including Singapore’s Forge Ventures.
It will start offering learning courses in math, physics and chemistry for students from grades six to 12 in the fourth quarter of this year.
Courses will be expanded in early 2022 with subjects including fine arts and computer programming.
The startup was founded by Pham Duc and Tran Viet Tung.
Duc used to work at investment fund TPG Capital and Tung was a co-founder of travel platforms Triip.Me and Christina’s.
According to Marathon, most of Vietnam’s 18 million students still depend on after-school learning to improve their academic performances, and score high marks in important exams, including for university entrance. But these classes are mostly small and often at teachers’ houses with infrastructure and teaching quality being highly inconsistent. They are often overcrowded and without flexible timetables, teachers have to spend much time on marketing, recruitment, fee collection, and communicating with students’ parents.
In 2020 and 2021, when cities and provinces imposed social distancing to combat Covid-19, these centers had to close down.
According to Raditya Pramana, director of Venturra Capital, the largest venture capital firm in Indonesia, Vietnam’s education quality is better than in many other Southeast Asian countries, but most grade students have no opportunity to be tutored by the best teachers.
Marathon could offer good education products at reasonable costs to students all over the country, he said.