The investment was made from the VC firm’s Mekong Enterprise Fund III.
YOLA will use the capital to enhance its products, build the team of professional managers and teachers, and finance the launch of new campuses. With the funds, YOLA has already opened four new campuses in Ho Chi Minh City, taking its total number of centres to 10 across Vietnam.
Tu Ngo, Co-founder, Vice President (Strategy & Products) at YOLA, said: “More than just English, we believe in empowering YOLA students to build critical thinking skills, communications skills, self-awareness, a deep sense of purpose, and ultimately realise their full potential. We will leverage our partnership with Mekong Capital to invest into teacher and talent development, curriculum innovation and new learning technologies so that we can achieve better student outcomes, increase student access, and innovate education delivery.”
YOLA was founded in 2009 by three young Vietnamese graduates from Stanford University, Bates College and Dickinson College with the mission of changing lives through education. Starting out as a network of students and teachers to learn English online, YOLA has since evolved into a provider of educational services with a network of learning campuses in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
The firm aims to deliver high-quality English and skills education at scale in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The firm said in a press release that it has expertise on overseas test preparation programs (IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, GMAT), content-based English training program for teenagers (YOLA English Junior), summer camp under its American Paradise Camp brand, skills courses and extracurricular activities.
YOLA claims to have trained more than 30,000 students, with over 10,000 students currently studying abroad.
Established in 2001, Mekong Capital is a Vietnam-focused Private Equity firm, which has the most extensive private equity track record in Vietnam. Launched in May 2015, MEF III is a private equity fund, and currently has US$112.5 million in committed capital. MEF III focuses on investments in Vietnamese consumer-driven businesses such as retail, restaurants, consumer products, and consumer services. MEF III typically targets investments ranging from US$6-15 million, and can make both minority and buy-out investments.