(Yicai Global) June 20 -- Chinese entrepreneur Chen Xiangdong is finally getting a good night’s rest after years of sleep deprivation caused by anxiety over the online education platform he founded. Set up four years, the business has started to turn a profit.
Starting out as an online-to-offline education website in 2014, Beijing-based Genshuixue failed to generate any revenue and burned through cash every month, Chen told Yicai Global three years ago. Wearing a T-shirt and sandals for his latest interview, he is clearly much more laid back these days.
In the beginning, Genshuixue offered exam training for students heading overseas, K-12 classes, English tests, and tuition in creative subjects such as piano, vocal, hip-hop, painting, and the martial arts. Its most unusual courses included magic and flight training. Teachers were available online or in the flesh.
The market was changing so fast then amid intense competition that Genshuixue had to make sure customers couldn’t do without its products, Chen said at the time.
The huge breadth of its offering earned him the label of “greedy person.” Genshuixue’s founding team also didn’t consider how to make money then, and Chen wasn’t able to identify when it should start making it either. Though he said he wasn’t worried, he was actually very anxious and unable to sleep well.
Since then, Genshuixue has shifted tack to business-to-customer services from an online-to-offline model. The original website has spawned new platforms such as Gaotu100.com for K-12 education, Jinyouxuetang.com for financial courses, and Weishi100.com, an online education tools site, and a business school, Cheng Xi.
Genshuixue it is expected to switch to an online streaming model in the second half of this year, Chen said.
A number of its business-to-business sites, such as Tianxiao100.com, which provides operating systems for training schools, have been spun off. Another, Baijiayun.com, which focuses on interactive live video streaming, has secured two rounds of financing and become profitable. Sleep comes in the end.
Editor: Emmi Laine