The Finnish Pedagogical STEAM learning provider, Kide Science, has secured €1.5m funding in a seed round led by Sparkmind.vc, with existing partners including Zanichelli Ventures also participating. Kide Science has now raised a total of €2.4m since launching at the end of 2017. This investment is the third from Sparkmind.vc’s €40m learning-focused venture capital fund.
EdTechX first spoke with Sari Hurme-Mehtälä, CEO of Kide Science in August last year about integrating science education into earlier stages, allowing children from different backgrounds to become more equal in learning and adopting the scientific way of thinking. Sari spoke about the need to develop the introduction of science in early education and help solve for successful planning and execution of these lessons.
In August, Kide Science were active in 14 countries and looking to optimise their international growth. The investment will help accelerate this further by enabling the business to pursue new opportunities in Asia and across key international homeschooling markets. The investment will also allow rapid expansion of the company’s existing parent product, as well as funding key hires in global business development and marketing.
Sari Hurme-Mehtälä commented: “We’re excited that this new investment allows us to rapidly scale our global sales and marketing activities. This will help us teach key science skills to even more children globally, enabling them to better understand their world. Being purely learning sector-focused Sparkmind.vc is an ideal partner for us and we look forward to working with them.”
In Finland, the business has a rapidly growing customer base, including the City of Helsinki and the nation’s largest private kindergarten chain (200 locations and 10,000 children). It also produces a TV show on YLE, Finland’s national public service broadcaster. In addition, Kide Science has signed deals in MENA, the Far East and with a large chain of learning centres in China. The latter will see the company’s programmes delivered in 70 locations across 30 provinces.
Kai Talas of Sparkmind.vc continued: “We see early childhood education as a highly attractive market segment with significant growth prospects and lucrative opportunities for scalable solution providers like Kide Science. For Sparkmind, Kide Science stands out because of its very strong pedagogical proposition and outstanding multidisciplinary team. We’re excited to lead this seed round and to build on the significant momentum the company has already generated.”
With the world currently facing significant challenges and many embarking new on new approaches to learning, Sari mentions how important it is to teach children critical thinking skills and positive attitudes towards nature and our planet. Young children naturally learn through play. However, as play and science education might seem unrelated, children as often introduced to science in ways not relevant to them. Teaching science to young children needs to be approached in a different way. Play and imagination are the base for young children’s science education. Kide Science has created a playful STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) pedagogical model, following rigorous research by one of the company’s Founders at the University of Helsinki. Their approach puts young learners into imaginary science scenarios, empowering them to solve real problems through story-telling and play-based activities. Teachers and parents can easily deliver these in formal/informal learning settings, including at home, to support children’s curiosity and scientific thinking.