LocoMotive Labs is a company that works on assistive and play-based educational apps for kids. The company has raised $4 million in Series A funding co-led by Softbank Ventures Korea and TAL Education Group. Other investors that participated in this round include K9 Ventures, Kapor Capital, NewSchools Venture Fund, Joe Gleberman, D3Jubilee and Jerry Colonna. More details below:
LocoMotive Labs Closes $4M in Series A Round
Softbank Ventures Korea and TAL Education Group Lead Round to Expand Reach to Consumers and Schools for LocoMotive Labs’ Educational Apps
BERKELEY, CA – February 24, 2015 – LocoMotive Labs, developer of assistive and play-based educational apps for young learners, today announced it has closed a $4M Series A financing round. Softbank Ventures Korea and TAL Education Group led the round, with participation from existing investors K9 Ventures, Kapor Capital, NewSchools Venture Fund, Joe Gleberman, D3Jubilee and Jerry Colonna. The company has raised $5.15M to date.
LocoMotive Labs will use the funding to expand its consumer presence in Asia, tapping into the deep connections of its lead investors. TAL Education Group is the leading K-12 after-school tutoring services provider in China, while Softbank Ventures Korea has built a strong portfolio of companies in the global education space. In addition, LocoMotive Labs will focus on increasing its presence in the US education market. The company’s Todo Math app and teacher dashboard is already being piloted in more than 1,000 elementary classrooms, with 25,000 students in PreK to 2nd grade across the US and around the world.
“Parents and educators in Asia, the US, and around the world are increasingly looking for tools and technologies that can make learning math fun instead of frustrating,” said Jason Wi, Principal at Softbank Ventures Korea. “We believe LocoMotive Labs’ deep understanding in gaming and interface design is second to none and will make an unprecedented impact on how children learn math.”
Addressing the Needs of Students with Mathematics Difficulties in Early Elementary
According to Successful STEM Education, 40 percent of US school children start kindergarten behind grade-level expectations in mathematics. Young students, and especially those who enter public school with little math knowledge need individual attention from teachers. This is often difficult in today’s classrooms of 25 students on average, with a variety of backgrounds and skill levels. LocoMotive Labs’ flagship app, Todo Math, offers a suite of multi-level math games with over 400 stages and 60 carefully crafted Common Core State Standard-aligned missions that help K-2 graders practice math fluency at home and at school. The app utilizes the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework as the theoretical underpinning for the development of the games so that all learners at home and in the classroom can learn and practice foundational math concepts.
“Our mission is to remove the obstacles that frustrate young learners and empower all children to develop the confidence and mathematics skills to be successful both inside and outside the classroom,” said Sooinn Lee, co-founder of LocoMotive Labs. “We’re excited to have the continued opportunity to expand our reach to even more families and educators, both at home and around the world.”
As a former game designer, Sooinn saw a tremendous need to merge learning with play when she came to the US and found a lack of educational apps to accommodate different types of young learners. Todo Math was selected as “Best in Design” at the Launch Education & Kids conference (2013) and reached #1 in the Apple App Store education chart in 20 countries including the US and the UK (2014), With over one million downloads worldwide, Todo Math has been localized in 7 different languages, and featured in Apple retail stores.
“K9 Ventures is honored to continue backing Sooinn Lee at LocoMotive Labs. As a mother and as a founder, Sooinn is on a mission to transform how all children all over the world learn,” said Dr. Manu Kumar, Chief Firestarter at K9 Ventures. “I’m confident that Todo Math is going to become the new standard and a right of passage for every child in their quest for being fluent in and comfortable with mathematical concepts.”
“We’re excited that this investment will be used to add additional features for the school market and expand LocoMotive Labs’ reach to support students at-risk for low mathematics achievement,” said Shauntel Poulson from NewSchools Venture Fund.
About LocoMotive Labs
LocoMotive Labs designs exceptional assistive and play-based learning applications to empower kids with special needs to be independent learners. With Todo Math, LocoMotive Labs offers practice and support in PreK – 2nd grade math skills so that elementary students build a strong foundation for further mathematical learning. The team is comprised of award-winning game designers and developers closely collaborating with parents and educators to elevate digital learning experiences for young children. LocoMotive Labs applications are available in the App Store with over 1 million downloads from parents and teachers around the world. www.LocoMotiveLabs.com or www.todomath.com