Growing educational toys maker PlayShifu announced that it has raised a Series A funding round of $7 million to create engaging and immersive augmented reality experiences for children.
The funding round was led by Chiratae (formerly IDG Ventures India), Inventus Capital, and Bharat Innovation Fund (BIF). Existing investor IDFC-Parampara Fund also participated in the round.
Founded in 2016 by Vivek Goyal and Dinesh Advani, graduates of Stanford GSB and IIT Kharagpur, PlayShifu creates engaging and immersive augmented reality experiences for children that encourage early Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning.
With the fresh funding, it has raised $8.5 million to date, PlayShifu has an aggressive strategic plan in place to expand on its tech prowess. The US and Bengaluru-based startup said that it will continue to focus on tech innovation, research on unique physical and digital interactions, and new product developments. PlayShifu also plans to significantly update current products and expand its diverse retail presence from 15 countries to 30 countries in 2020 and beyond.
Excited with the latest funding the company received, Vivek Goyal, CEO of PlayShifu, said in a statement,
“We are extremely excited to have investors onboard who are highly focused on consumer tech, in our journey to make early learning fun and accessible to children around the world."
"We have an exhaustive product pipeline, an incessantly creative and passionate team of innovators, and now, the right partners to make an extremely positive impact on the educational foundations of generations to come.”
PlayShifu’s first flagship product, Shifu Orboot, is an AR-based globe that promises kids adventures around the world. Its user base has crossed 250,000 kids worldwide. The company also plans to shortly launch a new version of Orboot with features like student profiles and progress tracking, a dedicated portal for teachers and detailed lesson plans among others.
The latest addition to the startup’s product lineup is Shifu Plugo. It aims to help kids improve STEM skills with super-fun characters, captivating storylines, and enriching play methods through a combination of classic physical consoles with new-age digital interactions. PlayShifu currently offers two consoles - a building blocks game called Plugo Link and a math-focused Plugo Count. It plans to introduce four more by the end of 2019, which include a vocabulary game Plugo letters, rhymes-focused Plugo tunes, and a steering wheel game Plugo steer.
Speaking about its innovative products and future strategy, Dinesh Advani, COO of PlayShifu, said,
“We are experiencing incredible demand from international markets across the world, purely due to the reason that our innovative products make early learning agnostic to markets and languages. Our products make an instant connection with kids and parents alike. We now have the tools at our disposal to execute against an even more impactful retail strategy and presence, while we continue to strengthen our position as the segment leader and disruptor in the edtech space.”
Executive director of Chiratae, Karthik Prabhakar, also issued a statement on its latest investment in PlayShifu saying,
“PlayShifu is targeting the multi-billion dollar augmented reality industry with its unique proposition of an enriching learning environment for kids coupled with fun. Vivek and Dinesh, along with their team, have built a solid product roadmap to capture a significant market share in this segment in the U.S. and European regions. Having backed the team early on, this round of funding will boost the product line and offer more such engaging and immersive experiences for their audience."
At present, PlayShifu has a retail presence in key markets and countries around the world, including the US, Canada, UK, Poland, Germany, Dubai, Japan, India, Russia, Hong Kong and South Africa. Hope, with the latest funding, the company will be able to expand its presence further.