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EdTech startup from Russia attracts $1.5 mio in investment

Novakid, an EdTech startup from Russia, announced that it has attracted $1.5 mio during a recent investment round. 

LETA Capital (Russia) and BonAngels (South Korea) venture funds contributed to the round in equal shares.

Founded in 2017, Novakid specializes in distance learning. The company is developing a platform for teaching English to children aged 4 to 12 while actively involving latest technologies in the learning process, from virtual reality to artificial intelligence, and even applying gamification strategies.

LETA Capital Managing Partner Alexander Chachava commented that modern approaches to teaching such as virtualization and using elements of machine learning to develop and fine-tune study programs tailored to individual needs are already in demand globally.

Currently, Novakid has students in 36 countries, including Russia, Poland, Spain, Germany and Turkey. Company representatives say its turnover is $2 mio and over 2019, the business grew by more than 200%.

The learning platform is subscription-based, with lessons taught by native speakers. Some 2,000 children in Russia are using the platform to learn English.

It is not the first venture round for the company. Since its founding, Novakid has managed to attract $2.2 mio. The startup’s first investor was a private organization in the United States, according to co-founder and CEO Maxim Azarov.

At present, the platform attracts the majority of students through direct interaction with their parents, although the company is also considering the option of cooperating with schools, he said citing stereotypes about teaching methods as one of the difficulties with development in the domestic market.

“There is a segment of Russian consumers who are wary of the idea of ​​learning from native speakers, 100% in English without even using Russian,” Maxim Azarov said.

Everyone is accustomed to formal training where English lessons involve using 80% of Russian and 20% of English, while Novakid uses a completely different methodology. On the other hand, there is no such stereotype in European or Asian markets.

“However, word of mouth is gradually going its job, and we believe that in one or two years Russia will get rid of this stereotype as well,” Maxim Azarov said.

Alexander Chachava’s daughter is one of Novakid students, and it was after using the platform that she began to speak English fluently – although initially she was a little nervous about her teacher not speaking any Russian at all, the managing partner of LETA Capital said.

“Novakid is different from similar projects because it focuses exclusively on the young audience, and has a reliable technological platform and experienced methodologists who develop unique learning-through-play courses. I think Novakid will become popular with any children, not only Russian, and will become their love brand and favorite game,” Alexander Chachava shared with Invest Foresight.

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