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Introduce your startup and give a short description of what you are doing.
Pili Pop is a mobile language learning method for kids.
Our goal is to get children excited about speaking a foreign language. Basically, we help them practice a foreign language at home by having conversations with fun virtual characters on mobile.
Who are the founders, how did you meet, what are your different roles in the startup.
We are 3 co-founders:
- Elsa, who handles every technical aspect of Pili Pop
- Soiny, who developed an expertise in interactive projects for kids and is in charge of the conception and design of Pili Pop
- Eugene (me!), in charge of the mobile marketing, user acquisition and finance
Elsa and Soiny met 6 years ago while studying UX design at Gobelins school (one of the best design schools in France) and never stopped working together since then! I met them 3 years ago when they were part of the French startup accelerator “Le Camping”, and we started the company together.
How was the idea for your startup born?
Elsa and Soiny did an exchange program in the Netherlands while attending Gobelins school. They were amazed by the English proficiency of Dutch students compared to French students while both groups had studied English the same amount of time. The main difference is that Dutch have many more opportunities to actively practice English while being kids. That’s when we decided to develop the Pili Pop method to give more kids the chance to practice a foreign language with the help of new technologies!
What is the main problem in education that you aim to solve.
Research has shown that children’s brains are especially hard-wired for language learning. But those learning advantages disappear pretty quickly during teenage years so we really need children to learn a foreign language as early as possible.
Unfortunately, there is no easy and affordable way to help children take advantage of those amazing abilities. Where is the Duolingo / Babbel / Busuu for kids?
Who are your competitors? What sets you apart from them?
No global leader has yet emerged in the children’s language market even though it is the most crucial moment to start learning a foreign language. The market is divided between several start-ups: Little Pim (US), Fun English (Taiwan) and Monkimun (Spain).
We are the first method using a unique speech recognition technology tailored for kids to get them used to talk in a foreign language. We believe daily active practice is really the most important factor to succeed in learning a new language and our method is focused on that.
In which markets / regions are you active. What markets / regions are next.
Potentially, every kid in the world that has access to a tablet or a smartphone could use Pili Pop. We’ve got significant downloads from more than 70 different countries, most of them come from Europe, mainly France, Italy and Germany right now. More than 65% of our subscribers are from outside our home market, France. Now we are focusing our efforts on Europe but there are huge potential markets for us in South America and Asia.
Who is your target audience.
One of the difficulties of our market is that we have two customers:
- Children, obviously, who use the product
- Parents, who decide what the children can use and make the purchasing decision
In terms of product: Today, Pili Pop is made for children between 5 and 9 years old but we plan to quickly develop products tailored for younger kids (3-5) and older kids (10-14).
How do you engage with your target audience. How do you convert them into users of your product.
Pili Pop is free to download with a free trial so everyone can try it out for free!
What is your business model. How much does your product / service cost.
Pili Pop is available through a monthly subscription. There are 3 subscription plans ($9.99 for 1 month / $39.99 for 6 months / $59.99 for 12 months). With the subscription, children receive new content every month and parents get access to a monthly progress report.
If you raised funding, how much did you raise. Who are your investors. If not, are you planning to raise funding.
We’ve raised 100,000€ from a business angel when we started the company. We are currently raising a new round to accelerate our growth.
More than 2,500 families already subscribed to our first app, Pili Pop English!
Are there milestones you are especially proud of and would like to share.
Our main focus is to make a product that kids want to use. Motivation, and especially motivation on the long run, is one of the main problems for any learning product, whether for kids or for adults. We are especially proud of the app usage. Kids are super active in Pili Pop using the app 5 times per week on average!
What are the next steps in growing your startup.
We are releasing our second app, Pili Pop Español, on September 24th! It makes Spanish-learning fun and easy for children aged 4-7.
The app comes packed with more than 200 Spanish words and phrases providing the essential building blocks for learning Spanish to kids.
How can people get in touch with you.
Room for anything else you would like to add.
In only 5 years, more than 2 billion people will be studying a foreign language, and most of them will be kids. We want those kids, not only to study, but more importantly to use and practice their foreign language everyday at home so they can grow up bilingual and have a brighter future!
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