Cape Town-based kids’ education company Play Sense has raised ZAR 8.25 million (USD458K) in funding to take its in-home, pre-school learning model online.
The startup secured the funds from Enygma Ventures, a US-based venture capital firm founded by award-winning entrepreneurs Sarah Dusek and her husband Jacob Dusek.
Founded in 2016 by Meg Faure and Lara Schoenfeld, Play Sense has developed a unique play-centric curriculum for young children. It sets itself apart from other programs as a small home-based school for up to six 2-3-year-olds. As of 2018, the company has more than 22 little home-based schools and keep adding.
Play Sense has been into home-based learning till recently, but due to coronavirus pandemic, which has forced schools across the globe to close down, the startup has opted to take its classes online. Now, the startup has gone digital, making its curriculum and pre-school format available online to users around the world. The company said it overhauled its business model to include a digital offering where children can access their imagination-based play sessions virtually.
Expressing its views that small group setting will become the norm of the future, Meg Faure, Co-founder of Play Sense, said,
“This will meet the critical needs of parents and their little ones during this period of isolation. We believe that the way families choose to educate their children will be impacted long term and the choice of at-home or small group setting will become the norm of the future. This funding means that we can roll our program out internationally.”
According to Faure, it took just two weeks for the company to complete the transition. The startup now offers a home-based education solution, including virtual contact time between teachers and learners, and activity and learning support for parents.
Commenting on the funding, Sarah Dusek, co-founder of Enygma Ventures, said she was excited about how Play Sense had successfully pivoted its business, adapting its model to serve parents and children during this unprecedented time of schooling from home.
“We are exceptionally proud of the entrepreneurs we are working with, that even in the midst of this COVID-19 crisis, we are seeing amazing resilience, creativity, and ability to pivot their businesses and respond under pressure.”
Needless to mention, Enygma Ventures last year launched a fund with a focus on investing in businesses founded by women entrepreneurs in the SADC region, and Play Sense is its first investment.