NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BEGiN, the company behind the proven early learning program HOMER, announced today the close of a $50 million Series C funding round. Investors include LEGO Ventures, Sesame Workshop, the principal investor in Gymboree Play & Music, 3One4 Capital, Trustbridge Partners and Interlock Partners. Liquidity Capital also contributed an additional $25 million in trajectory-based funding for growth. The company will use the funding to 1) launch the industry’s first comprehensive early learning program across digital, physical, and in-person experiences 2) co-develop curriculum alongside trusted partners such as Sesame Workshop and 3) launch globally through distribution partners such as Gymboree Play & Music.
“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,” said Jamie Beaumont, Managing Partner, LEGO Ventures.
HOMER has focused its efforts to date on reading, the first learning milestone for children. HOMER Reading and HOMER Stories comprise the #1 reading program in Apple’s App Store for children 5 and below, having earned numerous industry awards including Children’s App of the Year, Parent’s Choice, Teacher’s Choice, and Academics Choice. The success of HOMER has been its ability to deliver industry leading engagement to children alongside its proven ability to increase early reading scores by up to 74% in just 15 minutes of use a day. Since inception, HOMER has delivered more than four billion minutes of instruction across hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
With school closures as 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 80%+ year-over-year growth since launch.
Next week, HOMER will 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, a proprietary, expert-designed and research-based framework designed to give children the best start to their learning journey.
“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,” said Steve Youngwood, President of Media and Education, and Chief Operating Officer of Sesame Workshop. “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.”
“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.” said Stephanie Dua, co-founder and president of BEGiN.
Reshaping the board and executive team for growth
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. Sid will bring his deep experience in leading two of the largest kids and parenting businesses globally to drive partnerships, strategic investment, and distribution for 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.” said Sid Mathur, Executive Chairman of 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 will also join the Board of Directors.
BEGiN is the award-winning educational technology company that creates learning products that are as effective as they are engaging— cultivating critical skills and bringing high quality educational content to kids everywhere.
HOMER is the essential early learning program for kids 2-8. HOMER gives kids the best start to their learning journey by building confidence and developing skills that prepare them for school and life. The HOMER Method— our proprietary learning framework— delivers academic skills such as literacy and math, in addition to personal skills like problem solving and social emotional awareness, through content that is personalized to their interest, age, and learning level, during the critical time in early childhood development when kids’ brains are most hungry to learn.
To learn more visit, www.learnwithhomer.com.