Teachers have long supplemented their incomes by tutoring. And there’s perhaps never been a better, or easier, time to do it than right now. The reason: China-based online education companies are in an apparent race with each other to hire U.S. teachers who’d like to work from home this summer and, using their webcams, “teach cute kids” the English language — in the marketing parlance of one of those companies, Beijing-based VIPKid.
If you doubt that’s true, you haven’t been looking at the classifieds. Just today, five-year-old VIPKid — which reportedly raised $200 million in fresh funding last summer at a $1.5 billion valuation — listed openings for thousands of U.S. teachers, from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, to Saint Joseph, Missouri, to Carmel, Indiana.
Its jobs offensive comes just three days after seven-year-old, Beijing-based China Online Education Group, known as 51Talk, did precisely the same thing.
Both companies are growing quickly and, in the process, trying to outgun competitors. These include 14-year-old, Goldman Sachs-backed iTutorGroup, which operates out of Shanghai as VIPABC and boasts of its $1 billion valuation on its home page, and 15-year-old TAL Education Group, a holding company for a group of tutoring-related companies that went public in 2010 and now enjoys a roughly $17 billion market cap. (51Talk is also publicly traded, having IPO’d in 2016. Its market cap is currently $215 million.)