HOMER, an early learning platform and a brand of edtech startup BEGiN, has raised $50 million in a Series C funding round to create a ‘systematic experience’ in learning.
The platform secured the funds from a number of strategic investors including LEGO Ventures, Sesame Workshop, the principal investor in Gymboree Play & Music, 3One4 Capital, Trustbridge Partners, and Interlok Partners. In addition to the $50 million, Liquidity Capital also contributed $25 million in trajectory-based funding for further growth.
Led by Neal Shenoy and Stephanie Dua and based out of New York, HOMER is the essential early learning platform for kids. The platform is on a mission to provide the best educational start possible by offering personalized, fun, and proven learning products for children ages 2 to 8. It takes kids on a personalized learning journey that grows with them as they build skills for school and life.
HOMER’s program delivers playful learning across subjects, building the skills kids need through lessons and activities they love. BEGiN, which has been around since 2013, had previously focused mainly on reading skills, whose apps is currently the most popular for children under age five in the US App Store, but it has expanded into other subject areas and plans to take that further.
Speaking about its plans for HOMER, Neal Shenoy, Co-founder and CEO, BEGiN, told TechCrunch in an interview,
“We are launching the industry’s first comprehensive early learning program. And so from a curriculum perspective, this will extend beyond reading to include math, critical thinking, creativity, and socio-emotional learning. We will deliver these learning experiences across digital, physical, tangible product, and in class mediums. We will focus on both serving the child and the parent, and the relationship between them says the parent is the child’s first teacher.”
The co-founder added that the strategic backers plan to help build the curriculum, the products and the distribution for the new program, HOMER.
While the valuation of HOMER, and its parent company BEGiN, is not disclosed, the company told TechCrunch that it already has hundreds of thousands of subscribers and generates tens of millions of dollars in revenues.
Commenting on the funding, Jamie Beaumont, Managing Partner, LEGO Ventures, said in a statement,
“HOMER’s vision and approach to playful learning fosters curiosity and collaboration in children that aligns closely with LEGO Ventures’ investment ethos supporting founders and companies in bringing the LEGO idea of learning-through-play to life. We look forward to working with Neal and the excellent team he has built, and supporting HOMER as they grow and scale their purposeful play offerings across hands-on, in-person and digital experiences.”
HOMER’s early learning program is based on The HOMER Method, a proprietary, expert-designed, research-based and kid-tested framework designed to give children the best start to their learning journey.
Steve Youngwood, President of Media and Education, and Chief Operating Officer of Sesame Workshop, also commented in a statement,
“With its focus on research and kid-centric design, and expansion to embrace the whole child curriculum, HOMER’s approach reflects the mission of Sesame Workshop to help kids grow smarter, strong and kinder. We’re excited to support HOMER’s growth and to look for further ways to partner with them to give young children the best possible start at a critical time of their learning and development.”
With the latest funding, HOMER has also added several new members to its Board of Directors, headed by new Executive Chairman Siddharth Mathur, former Chief Strategy and Development Officer for Mattel and President of Babytree. Others like Steve Youngwood of Sesame Workshop, Jyoti Parikh of LEGO Education, Xinkai Chen of Gymboree Global Education Group, and Michael Cohn, Partner at GSV have also joined as Board of Directors.