Hoot Reading, a Winnipeg-based online learning platform that offers 1:1 reading lessons with experienced classroom teachers for children from Pre-K to Grade 8, has recently raised $3 million CAD in its seed funding round to fuel the expansion of its online tutoring platform.
The round was led by Spin Master Ventures (SMV) and supported by all of Hoot Reading’s initial angel investors, including Greg and Jeff Fettes of 24/7 InTouch and Neil Jaffe of BookNook. It brings Hoot Reading’s total funding to date to $3.9 million.
With the fresh capital, the company plans to broaden its reach in new markets to address the needs of underserved kids and scale its new Hoot for Companies corporate benefit.
Founded in 2017 by Maya Kotecha and Carly Shuler, Hoot Reading aims to “close the gap” on the 4th-grade reading slump and help children develop a lifelong love of learning. The platform connects kids to teachers through its video chat platform for live, one-on-one reading help. It also boasts a network of over 500 teachers, who deliver lessons based on a curated library of more than 2,000 texts for various reading levels.
Commenting on the funding, Maya Kotecha, Co-founder & Co-CEO of Hoot Reading, said,
"Parents are often shocked to learn that more than two-thirds of kids are reading below grade level by the fourth grade – and the pandemic significantly exacerbated this issue. With this funding in place, we can expand our team and scale our platform to meet the growing demand for our service."
Since its launch in early 2018, the company has delivered over 100,000 online lessons. During the pandemic, Hoot Reading claims to have seen 10x growth, amid the COVID-induced shift to online learning. The startup also aims to aspire young leaders to stay engaged and focused on increasing comprehension and fluency.
Frederic Gunnarson, Spin Master’s Global Head, said,
"Amid the growing cultural awareness and acceptance of virtual learning, or tutoring more specifically, Hoot Reading has experienced impressive traction and exponential growth. We will benefit from Hoot’s deep knowledge of childhood education as we build our digital games edutainment business and are delighted they are one of Spin Master Ventures’ first investments."
Hoot Reading is one of SMV’s first two strategic minority investments, as the fund has also invested in Nørdlight, a mobile game development company based in Stockholm.
Earlier in August, the company launched the Hoot for Companies (H4C), a corporate benefit that provides educational support to the children of working parents.
Hoot Reading had raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round led by co.lab in 2016.