Marathon Education was created after its founders realized after-school training in Vietnam hadn’t developed a lot since they had been children. A few of the hottest tuition facilities in huge cities educate a whole bunch of scholars without delay. “They’re packed like sardines and that basically has not modified prior to now one or twenty years once I went to those kinds of courses in Vietnam,” stated co-founder Pham Duc.
Pham launched Marathon six weeks in the past along with his brother-in-law Tran Viet Tung to make after-school studying extra accessible in Vietnam. As we speak the startup is asserting it has raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding led by Forge Ventures (a brand new fund launched by Alto Companions), with participation from traders together with Venturra Discovery and iSeed SEA.
Marathon is presently centered on math and science programs for grades six to 12 of the Nationwide Curriculum developed by Vietnam’s Ministry of Training and Coaching (MOET), and can finally cowl all MOET topics.
Earlier than founding Marathon, Pham was an investor at TPG World, whereas Tran is a serial entrepreneur whose earlier startups embody journey platforms Triip.me and Christina’s. Each grew up in Hanoi and spent a lot of their childhoods going to after-school studying facilities.
About 50% to 70% of Ok-12 college students attend after-school courses, however the trade may be very fragmented, says Pham. Many studying facilities are run by former public faculty lecturers, and are clustered in main cities.
“If you happen to converse to college students, I believe the most important concern we’re seeing is accessibility,” stated Pham. “If you happen to’re a pupil in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, there’s no assure that you just’ll get into courses run by prime tutors.” In the meantime, college students in different areas typically journey to Tier 1 cities earlier than main exams, like college entrance exams, staying in a hostel for a couple of month whereas attending prep programs.
For lecturers, operating a middle means dealing with administrative duties like advertising, admissions and mother or father communications, which cuts into the time they spend designing their programs. When the present COVID-19 lockdowns began a couple of months in the past, they needed to change shortly to on-line instructing platforms.
When lecturers be a part of Marathon, the corporate takes over administrative duties. Its on-line mannequin additionally means they will attain extra college students, together with in different cities. Pham says lecturers who change from offline facilities to Marathon can probably improve their earnings two to 3 occasions.
Earlier than becoming a member of Marathon, lecturers undergo a screening course of, together with what number of of they earlier college students handed exams or improved their grades. Marathon pairs them with instructing assistants who work immediately with teams of about 20 to 25 college students throughout on-line lectures, answering questions by way of on the spot messenger, after which handle breakout rooms to undergo the teachings intimately.
Marathon launched first in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis and its growth technique will take cultural variations between the north and south of Vietnam under consideration. For instance, it would discover tutors with regional accents, and regulate its advertising methods.
“We’re going to deal with the lecturers and curriculum individually, as a result of the 2 areas are fairly completely different. Dad and mom within the south are extra experimental and extra prepared to check out new companies. Dad and mom within the north very a lot depend on their community and word-of-mouth, so they’re extra cautious about making an attempt out what we’re doing,” Tran stated. “So after we serve the north and south, we serve distinctive units of shoppers.”
Marathon plans to proceed its online-only mannequin after lockdowns finish and children return to in-person courses for normal faculty. “After one yr in intermittent lockdowns, we’ve seen there’s been a marked shift in mother and father’ habits. They’re much extra receptive to on-line studying. Proper now, although there’s a lockdown, attendance charges are 99%,” stated Pham. “Sooner or later, I believe on-line is the best way to go and it’s rather more scalable, so we need to focus our technique round that.”