London-based EdTech company Mrs Wordsmith has raised $11 million in a Series A funding round to support expansion in the U.S. and China markets.
The company, whose illustrated and animated word products are transforming the multi-billion dollar education industry, received the funding in a round led by Trustbridge Partners.
Returning investors Reach Capital and Kindred Venture Capital were also involved.
Since launch, Mrs Wordsmith has experienced triple-digit growth year-over-year and shipped more than 200,000 units. The company officially launched its U.S. store in June 2018, which now accounts for 85 per cent of its revenue.
“The world of content is upside down,” said Mrs Wordsmith founder and CEO, Sofia Fenichell.
“U.S. families collectively spend $30 billion on gaming content, $20 billion on home entertainment, $10 billion on cinema, but only $6 billion on education products and schools spend only $3 billion.
“We are going to invert this. When parents and educators engage with Mrs Wordsmith, they can feel confident that what they are buying is backed by the latest research and data, focused on the best vocabulary, and wrapped in hilarious illustrations to engage children. It’s the hallmark of what we do.”
The company has raised a total of $14.5 million to date through a Seed Round and the current Series A.
Proceeds from the Seed Round were invested in building its team of story artists under Hollywood art director Craig Kellman to produce an inventory of thousands of illustrated words.
The company has also invested over 5,000 hours, with three machine learning specialists led by Rob Koeling from Benevolent AI, and supported by Professor Ted Briscoe of Cambridge University and Swiftkey, to build a word curation engine.
“Mrs Wordsmith is reinvigorating a tired content sector with world class creative and machine learning,” said investor David Lin, Trustbridge Partners.
“There are 214 million Chinese and 16 million American early-years children who can look forward to learning with more relevant and engaging content.
The company’s formula of humorous illustrations and smarter materials is working. A recent National Literacy Trust study of 122 children in six schools found that there was a 50 per cent improvement in children’s word learning,
The SSIF, a strategic government school improvement fund, has recently awarded the Cambridgeshire local authority a grant of £47,000 (approx $61,000 USD) to provide Mrs Wordsmith materials and training to 88 classrooms.
This round of funding will allow the company to expand its product narrative and add a new animated vocabulary game and video to its suite of products in early 2019.
More immediately, the company is launching its first stand-alone product line starting with the world’s largest animated dictionary, The Illustrated Storyteller’s Dictionary.
Driving the company’s growth and international expansion Mrs Wordsmith has attracted expert talent, most recently former Pixar Animation Studios senior executive Will Csaklos as head of development.