EdTech company Lingumi has raised £1.2m in a Seed round led by Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV).
The London and Cardiff-based startup uses an app and physical products to teach English to children aged between two and six.
Existing backers LocalGlobe, Entrepreneur First (Lingumi it is also part of EF’s 5th cohort) and unnamed angel investors participated in the round.
Founded in 2015 by Oxford graduate Toby Mather and UCL Computer Scientist Adit Trivedi, the idea came about after Mather spent a year teaching English to kids overseas as part of his degree.
The learning platform is meant to help pre-school kids, especially from foreign countries, to learn English as a second language. The app contains a curriculum of daily lessons and games, which can be used alongside Lingumi’s physical products, such as ‘Play Cubes’ and ‘Jumbo Word Cards’.
Lingumi launched its first prototype in Germany in 2016, and this news money will help develop its products and fund its growth into new markets including China.
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Mather explained what sets the company apart from others: “There are plenty of products in the market but none have a foundational focus on efficacy. Most products are either geared towards high-cost live teaching (like VIPKid), which can only begin from 5 or 6 years old, or are ‘edutainment’ products that engage kids well, but don’t educate effectively
“We’re not trying to replace teachers – quite the opposite. What every English teacher wants is for a child to walk into their first school English lesson with a good foundation in the language,” he added.
The startup works on a digital subscription basis and has over 10,000 users in non-English speaking countries. The company is also beginning to pilot a platform for pre-schools which want to begin teaching English, leveraging the same learning method and content.
Mike Dimelow, chief investment officer at ADV, commented on the investment: “Lingumi’s team have created a way of teaching pre-school children elementary english in a matter of months, through play. This is the first application in Lingumi’s mission to build a digital ecosystem of pre-school education to support the development of the next billion children.
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“We’re delighted to lend our support to this inspiring journey,” he added.
The startup, which refers to the first years of a child’s life as ‘the magic window’ claims that its learning methodology helps children form a foundation level of English that is more advanced than what is currently possible, and at a substantially lower cost.
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