Tappity, a digital educational startup providing interactive educational video content for kids, has raised $1.3 million in seed funding to offer a healthier alternative to YouTube.
The Palo Alto-based startup secured the funds from Y Combinator, Mystery Science founder Keith Schacht, Toca Boca founder Björn Jeffery, Brighter Capital (Yun-Fang Juan), former Spotify CTO Andreas Ehn, Fairchild Fund, 18 Ventures and AltaIR.
Founded by Chad Swenson (CEO), his brother Tanner Swenson (CTO), and Lawrence Tran (CPO), Tappity is building the world’s largest library of interactive educational content for kids – starting with science. Its video library offers entertaining and interactive live-action videos kids enjoy, while also ensuring the content itself is aligned with current educational standards.
Tappity believes that a deeper understanding of science leads to a more prosperous world, and by getting kids excited about learning early in life, it helps children develop the tools and enthusiasm they’ll need not only to succeed but also make a real impact on humanity as a whole. The company currently has over 5,000 paying customers and over 20,000 weekly active users who, the company claims, have collectively completed 30 million lessons to date.
Explaining how the company came into being, Chad told TechCrunch the idea for Tappity emerged from his interest in designing interactive learning experiences, which resulted in a senior project where he created an interactive experience to help students learn about evolution. He said that he began to experiment with different concepts in the area over the years, and later realized there could be an opportunity to develop content based around the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) – the set of K-12 science content standards that were developed by a consortium of multiple US states.
“A lot of parents were looking for healthier alternatives to YouTube,” Chad told TechCrunch. “And I really started to believe this is something that could be much bigger.” The Tappity CEO also found that the science-based topics kids are generally interested in are often those that are aligned with what the NGSS aims to teach – like space, dinosaurs, geology and others.
Over the years, Tappity has developed tools that make it easier and efficient to produce interactive, educational video content. Its library now includes over 200 science lessons for kids aged 4 to 10, across thousands of videos. Currently, the lessons span topics like space, life science, earth science and physical science.
While Tappity’s video clips are pre-recorded, they give the kids the feeling of having a one-on-one interaction with the character on the screen. In addition to the video lessons, kids are engaged with an in-app points system for completing activities. The app also offers follow-up emails for parents so they can track what kids are learning and further engage them.
Tappity plans to have over 1,000 hours of video content by the end of 2021, and over 4,000 hours by the year after. The company also plans to expand its team and bring its lessons, which currently are only available on iOS, to the web.