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Introduce your startup and give a short description of what you are doing.
Monkimun is a language learning platform for children 2-6 years old.
We’ve built a number of applications focused on this age range that help kids get an immersive experience into a language. Currently we offer all our titles in Spanish, English and Chinese Mandarin.
Currently we’re building a subscription platform to tie together all the content and offer a one-stop service for parents that want to raise bilingual kids.
The platform acts as an interactive and playful launcher of lessons. All lessons are an immersive experience and provide a clear learning outcome for the target language. The lessons are shaped as mini-games in order to engage our target audience. We keep track of all actions taken by the child and send it to our backend servers. The information is used to calculate the child’s learning level, adjust the lessons, and generate reports.
Who are the founders, how did you meet, what are your different roles in the startup.
We are actually siblings so we know each other… well, for all my life! Marieta, my sister, is a bit older than me.
She’s focused on the product side, making sure it’s educational (we also work with experts in the field and a collaboration with a university) and of quality.
I’m more focused on the business side, making sure it reaches the people and that we have key partnerships.
How was the idea for your startup born?
Marieta is a serial entrepreneur that has opened multiple after-school centers in Madrid in the last 8 years. Tons of hands-on experience with kids and education.
When I (Cristobal) was back from leading the platform team at Viki (crowd-source subtitling platform of movies to learn languages that was sold to Rakuten in 2013 for $200M), I joined forces with her to launch a new center focused on language learning for kids 2-6 (http://www.littlepeopleschool.es/).
Shortly after successfully starting this new center (100 kids!), we realised that opening physical locations was a very bad way to scale up and thus decided to launch Monkimun.
Who are your competitors? What sets you apart from them?
– Rosetta Stone: One of the most veteran companies doing language learning Software. They have developed a couple of kids apps but a very shy attempt. Their strength is in Marketing while ours is in technology and toddlers know-how.
– Age of Learning / ABC Mouse: Educational company based in LA. They’re constantly top-grossing in the stores (kids and edu categories). Not focused purely on languages.
– Duolingo: Free Language Learning for adults. Great product and branding. People love them and high quality. However, they’re focusing on adults and recently in the school (8+ years old kids).
What is the main problem in education that you aim to solve.
Language learning is tough. All the experts say the best age to learn languages is between birth and 8 years old. There are not so many great services or products out there, especially for this age-range.
We’re building a one-stop service for kids to learn languages.
In which markets / regions are you active. What markets / regions are next.
Our biggest market is Asia with 40%+ of our active users coming from the region. The second market is the US.
We see a lot of potential in the LatAm market.
Who is your target audience.
Users: Children 2-6 years old.
Customers: Parents. In the future teachers and preschools too.
What is your business model. How much does your product / service cost.
Currently, we have a freemium model. Free to download and try, $3 to use the full version.
We’re developing a subscription platform that we’ll release in June.
If you raised funding, how much did you raise. Who are your investors. If not, are you planning to raise funding.
We raised $1M from a set of international investors (USA, Spain, Singapore, Japan) including one of the biggest after-school chains in Japan (SHO-zemi Innovation Ventures).
Are there milestones you are especially proud of and would like to share.
Last year we were awarded Best Android App by Google. This was a huge boost for the team.
What are the next steps in growing your startup.
Finishing our subscription platform and launching it in June.