Cindy Mi is well-known in the Pacific Northwest of the United States for her contributions to the educational system. She has a passion for helping Chinese students to learn English. She runs the VIPKid company which helps to match students with North American instructors. This helps the instructors to earn extra money while giving the parents a resource for helping their kids to get ahead of the competition. Her story is very unique and inspiring that we are compelled to share 10 things about Cindy that you probably didn't know.
1. She taught herself how to speak English
Cindy had an intense desire to learn the English language from the time she was a young girl. She took the initiative to teach herself the language. English is not easy to learn without help, but she was so determined that she dedicated her spare time to the endeavor with a remarkable display of commitment and dedication. From this experience she understands the benefits of having a tutor to help with some of the more difficult aspects of second language acquisition and gaining fluency.
2. She spent her lunch money to learn the new language
If you're wondering how dedicated Cindy was to her goals, she spent her own lunch money to buy supplies to help her learn the English language. Cindy bought magazines in the language and audio-cassette tapes. She was willing to give up a meal every day just so she could afford the tools to help her in reaching her goals.
3. Cindy was tutoring students in English at age 15
Without the help of tutors, Cindy Mi taught herself English and became so proficient that she was able to help others. She was tutoring students in her new second language at the young age of 15. This is quite a feat since she was self-taught herself. It became obvious that she was destined for great things by an early age.
4. Cindy is a brilliant enterpreneur
Cindy Mi learned early in life the importance of education. Her own struggles to come up with the money to buy educational supplies gave her some insight into how much educational tutors are needed for Chinese students who are trying to learn English. She knew that teachers didn't make a lot of money and that many would benefit from the chance to bring in extra income from side jobs. This is how she came up with the idea to create a new startup that would match Chinese students with North American tutors. She created the VIPKids service that is fee-based. It benefits both teachers and students by offering solutions for all parties. It was a good move that is showing great promise for success.
5. She leveraged funds to start VIPKids
Cindy Mi needed the capital to fund her new start-up VIPKids. It takes money to develop an online-platform for educational services. There is a fair amount of overhead expenses when it comes to setting up the software, developing the advertising campaigns and for securing the interested tutors. She has been successful in raising $200 million in financing from a few major investment firms including Sinovation Ventures, Sequoia Capital China and Tencent. A Series C round which recently closed in August brought in $100 million alone. The current valuation of the company is set at $1.5 billion. This isn't bad for a girl who had to scrimp and spend her lunch money to learn a new language.
6. She was born in China
Although Cindy has lived in Seattle, Washington for several years, she was born in the province of Hebei, China. It is a barren area and the place that she grew up. Her startup business VIPKids is based in Beijing, China, but is a far reaching international business that serves China, the United States, and Canada in matching Chinese students with North American instructors.
7. She has plans to double the size of her business
Cindy's business currently employs nearly 2,000 teachers who assist Chinese students in learning English. The service also offers tutoring in other areas via Skype, which makes it feel more like a classroom setting with one on one teacher-student interaction. Mi has helped to build a sense of community among teachers from disparaged parts of the US so they have a good additional income. Her plans are to increase the number of teachers to a minimum of 4,000 by the end of the year which would double the size of VIPKids. None of the instructors are from China, but rather, from the United States and Canada.
8. Her goal is to inspire confidence and self-expression in students
Cindy Mi believes that pairing children between the ages of 5 and 12 with native English speaking instructors will help to more closely meet the individual needs of each child. Using technology that offers both visual and audio interaction will help students to form a bong with the instructors and it will help to inspire them to learn and to do their very best. In her vision, Mi not only wants to foster the learning environment, but to open up new vistas for the students so they will become inspired and gain confidence to investigate and explore, and learn how to express themselves in both languages.
9. She offers free seminars
The VIPKids program is a raging success. There are currently ten thousand students enrolled in the program. The one on one English lessons are in the core subjects of math, science, social studies and other subjects. In addition to the fee based services, Mi has implemented a free access group seminar area which includes information in social studies, art, science and music. The company will extend this to coding early in the spring. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, the goal is to foster critical thinking skills in children and the free group seminar component is an additional perk.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker