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Topica raises $50M for its online learning services in Southeast Asia

Vietnam’s startup ecosystem is making forward progress. Just a week after 500 Startups’ local entity closed a $14 million fund for early-stage investments, one of the country’s elder statesmen of startups — educational service Topica — has closed its $50 million Series D.
The round — which is one of the highest to date for a Vietnamese tech company — comes from PE firm Northstar Group. Northstar, which manages some $2 billion in assets, is already linked to Topica via Openspace Ventures, the Singapore-based VC firm that is already an investor in the startup and counts Northstar among its LPs. (Openspace rebranded from NSI earlier this year, prior to which it was an arm of Northstar.)
Northstar’s total ownership stake is described as a minority, but the exact size, and the valuation of the Topica business, hasn’t been revealed.
Topica was founded a decade ago at a launch event attended by Bill Gates, and since then it claims that it has helped more than one million adults through its online education platform. The business counted Microsoft and Qualcomm among its original sponsors, and today it covers the six largest countries in Southeast Asia — Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. It offers a range of different services that include English-language tutoring and university-level courses, but it has expanded to less traditional disciplines, including a “founders institute” accelerator program and a 3D “technologies” program.
On the higher-education focus, Topica works with 16 universities to offer bachelor degree qualifications. That program has graduated some 6,200 students, the company claimed. Its dropout rate is above 90 percent, according to its data.
Topica raises $50M for its online learning services in Southeast Asia
Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem, Head of Microsoft General Embassy Bill Gates and other sponsors’ launching the program in April 2006 [Image via Topica]
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