Startup story: Cindy Mi and the $3 billion tech startup

VIPKid is an online learning platform to match North American teachers  with Chinese students in China. Teachers are mainly sourced from America and Canada.

Cindy Mi saw the gap between the number of students in China wanting to learn English from native speakers and the number of native speakers in China. She started VIPKid in 2013. In 2017, VIPKid brought in $700 million in revenue, up from $300 million from 2016. With the latest round of funding at $500 million in April 2018, VIPKid is valued at $3 billion.

At the age of 17, Cindy dropped out of high school. She founded an English school with her uncle. Her parents encouragingly said to her: “Make the decision and don’t come back in tears.”

Before starting VIPKid, she built the English school into the $30-million-in-revenue business while earning her bachelor degree by self-teaching herself and getting an MBA.

VIPKid was started with a small team in China. In the first year, it had over 20 people. By end of 2017, VIPKid employed over 3000 people, mostly in Beijing. VIPKid attracted teachers by creating community and referrals. VIPKid sends weekly newsletters to teachers to tell them what’s happening and give them a sense of connected community.



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About the author: Hoan Do is a certified leadership coach. Hoan have led multiple teams at Symantec Inc. across the globe delivering world-class solutions to protect consumers and businesses. Hoan is an expert in building highly performing teams. He believes that the best leader is the leader that could grow his followers to be leaders. Hoan has been organizing mastermind groups to share with other leaders about transformational leadership and coaching. He has trained many leaders via mastermind groups, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.

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