London-based edtech startup Lingumi, a platform that focuses on toddlers and pre-schoolers, has raised £4 million in a new funding round led by China-based technology fund North Summit Capital.
The Series A round was joined by its existing investors LocalGlobe, ADV, and Entrepreneur First. Besides the funding, the startup also announced the launch of daily free activity packs and videos for children and families to support them during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It also pledged to donate 20% of its sales during this period to the Global Children’s Fund.
Founded in 2015, Lingumi is a pre-school English learning edtech startup with focus on kids ages 2 to 6. It provides a platform that gives children a strong and early foundation in English. Lingumi’s lessons are designed around social learning and delivered through interactive speaking tasks, teacher videos, and games.
Lingumi aims to build a better way for children to begin learning English in their earliest years. The startup works with academics, teachers, and researchers to design its learning method and offers lessons with fun games, making learning English playful and joyful. Lingumi’s daily mini-lesson contains 5-6 fun games that introduce children to English, naturally and interactively. It delivers kids a new lesson each day they play, introducing them to new nouns, verbs, questions and phrases gradually. Thus, kids build up their knowledge of the English language piece by piece.
Expressing its excitement on the partnership, Toby Mather, Founder and CEO of Lingumi, said in a statement,
“We’re excited to partner with a highly-strategic investor in Dr Min and the North Summit team. Lingumi’s rapid expansion in the Chinese market required a strategic local investor, and Dr Min and the team had a clear-sighted understanding of the technology and scale opportunity both in China, and globally.”
Lingumi claims children learn vocabulary up to six times faster via its platform compared to in-person, pre-school courses. The startup also claims that its course is 95% cheaper than live courses.
Issuing a statement on the investment, Dr Wanli Min, General Partner at North Summit Capital and former Chief Data Scientist at Alibaba, said,
“It is only the most privileged children who can access native English speakers for one-on-one tutoring. Yet we believe all kids deserve equal access to quality education, and English learning is no exception. Lingumi has the potential to democratize English learning and offer every kid a personalized curriculum empowered by AI and Lingumi’s ‘asynchronous teaching model’.”
The London-based startup plans to use the investment to further develop its technology and expand the team globally. The platform is now being used by more than 100,000 families globally, including in mainland China, Taiwan, UK, Germany, Italy and France. Lingumi claims 40% of its active users play lessons daily, and that more than 1.5 million English lessons have taken place in China over the past six months.