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Karisma Kidz is turning children into superheroes – our Startup of the Week

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Welcome to the fifth episode of the Elevator Pitch series 4.

Every week we publish a 30 second pitch from the latest intake of the Elevator Pitch. These leading startups join an alumni group that includes the likes of YPlan, Hassle, import.io and Glow, and has to-date raised over $36m.

In this series we took the founders on a cab ride unlike any other for the most exciting pitch of their lives.

Joe Mathewson, co-founder of Firefly Learning, on turning his teenage hobby into an EdTech startup

Erika Brodnock believes that children aren’t achieving their full potential academically.

Mostly, she says, it’s because their capacity to absorb learning is limited by a lack of basic social and emotional skills that enable them to control their feelings and behaviour.

After working for 14 years with children and families (and also raising five of her own), she decided to tackle the problem head on.

Karisma Kidz

In 2013, she took a few prototypes to the London Toy Fair and from there Karisma Kidz took off.

I’d seen the impact that developing basic emotional literacy could have on a child’s ability to learn and to interact positively and productively with others.

I wanted to find a way to reach every child and give them all that same chance.

The idea behind Karisma Kidz is to get children better expressing and understanding their emotions.

The rise of superheroes

Its core product is a mobile app that lets kids play as superheroes in a virtual world. Through the app’s backend, parents can task, track and monitor their children’s activities.

If a child does something good in real life, their parents can rewards them in the virtual world.

Karisma Kidz also suggests offline activities parents can do with their real life superheroes:

If a child spends a lot of time in the virtual cooking area then we would send some recipes to the parents and suggest that they cook something together that evening.

Entering the market

Both edtech and the app market are crowded spaces, but Brodnock feels that Karisma Kidz offers something that other services don’t.

The majority of companies focus on academic – rather than emotional – learning.

The startup’s app is also pre-loaded onto a number of family tablets s0 it can reach its ideal users.

Karisma Kidz gets a cut from the pre-load deals, which keeps the app free for the children and parents using it.

Going forward

The first version of the app has been downloaded over 40,000 times and the startup has to-date raised £140k in seed funding.

Karisma Kidz is currently in the process of raising a £500k round which Brodnock believes will give the startup “a 2 year runway and help us reach a million monthly active users by the end of 2016”.

She’d also like to add at least one more tablet preload deal in the next 6 months.

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