Educational Technology Company BEGiN (Known For HOMER) Raises $50 Million

By Dan Anderson ● October 1, 2020
  • BEGiN — the company known for its early learning program HOMER — announced that it has raised $50 million in a Series C funding round

BEGiN — the company known for its early learning program HOMER — announced that it has raised $50 million in a Series C funding round. The investors in this round include LEGO Ventures, Sesame Workshop, the principal investor in Gymboree Play & Music, 3One4 Capital, Trustbridge Partners and Interlock Partners. And Liquidity Capital also contributed an additional $25 million in trajectory-based funding for growth.

With the funding, the company plans to launch the first comprehensive early learning program across digital, physical, and in-person experiences in the industry along with co-developing curriculum alongside partners like Sesame Workshop. And the company will launch globally through distribution partners like Gymboree Play & Music.

HOMER recently focused its efforts to date on reading as it is the first learning milestone for children. And HOMER Reading and HOMER Stories comprise of the #1 reading program in Apple’s App Store for children 5 and below. The success of HOMER has been its ability to deliver industry leading engagement to children along with its proven ability to increase early reading scores by up to 74% in just 15 minutes of use a day. And since inception, HOMER has delivered more than four billion minutes of instruction across hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

As school closures are the new normal, HOMER has seen a 280% increase in annual subscriptions, 230% increase in website subscriptions, and children accessing 30% more lessons than this time last year. This comes on more than an 80% year-over-year growth since launch.

Next week, HOMER is going to launch the industry’s first fully comprehensive early learning program, offering an expanded curriculum across reading, math, creativity, socio-emotional learning (SEL) and critical thinking skills delivered across digital, physical, and in-person learning experiences. HOMER’s program is based on The HOMER Method — which is a proprietary, expert-designed, and research-based framework designed to give children the best start to their learning journey.

And BEGiN is also adding several new members to its Board of Directors, headed by new Executive Chairman Siddharth Mathur, former Chief Strategy and Development Officer for Mattel and President of Babytree. Mathur is bringing deep expertise in leading two of the largest kids and parenting businesses globally to drive partnerships, strategic investment, and distribution for BEGiN.

Steve Youngwood, President of Media & Education and Chief Operating Officer of Sesame Workshop, Jyoti Parikh, Head of Brand, Insights & Communication at LEGO Education, Xinkai Chen, Group Senior Vice President of Gymboree Global Education Group, and Michael Cohn, Partner at GSV are also joining the Board of Directors.

KEY QUOTES:

“HOMER is partnering with the largest, most recognized brands in international children’s education, entertainment, and technology to reimagine the early learning journey starting with parents and children at home.” said

— Neal Shenoy, CEO and co-founder of BEGiN, the parent company of HOMER.

“HOMER’s vision and approach to playful learning fosters curiosity and collaboration in children that aligns closely with LEGO Ventures’ investment ethos supporting founders and companies in bringing the LEGO idea of learning-through-play to life. We look forward to working with Neal and the excellent team he has built, and supporting HOMER as they grow and scale their purposeful play offerings across hands-on, in-person and digital experiences.”

— Jamie Beaumont, Managing Partner, LEGO Ventures.

“With its focus on research and kid-centric design, and expansion to embrace the whole child curriculum, HOMER’s approach reflects the mission of Sesame Workshop to help kids grow smarter, strong, and kinder. We’re excited to support HOMER’s growth and to look for further ways to partner with them to give young children the best possible start at a critical time of their learning and development.”

— Steve Youngwood, President of Media and Education, and Chief Operating Officer of Sesame Workshop

“Most digital curricula today is designed to be one-size-fits-all and focuses only on traditional academic skills. HOMER’s comprehensive program focuses on the whole child, teaching the essential school and life skills, and makes it easy for families to focus on what matters most in the early years.”

— Stephanie Dua, co-founder and president of BEGiN

“I’m humbled to join and lead the BEGiN Board of Directors as we bring together the experience and expertise of our incredible team and activate our strategic partnerships with some of the most respected brands and experts in children’s Education, Entertainment and Play. We strive to become the essential resource for families and parents to help their young kids develop critical foundational skills to help them succeed in school and life.”

— Sid Mathur, Executive Chairman of BEGiN