Israeli educational games company CodeMonkey has closed $1.5 million in seed funding. The startup has developed a game-based learning platform for teaching children code. These funds will be used to expand CodeMonkey’s research, development, sales and marketing teams.
J21 Corporation led the current funding round alongside Invictus Capital from Singapore. China-Israel Education VC Fund and Japanese holding company Edulab also entered the strategic partnership. As part of this partnership, Edulab announced the integration of CodeMonkey into its STEM resources portfolio in China and will expand the CodeMonkey platform to reach 30,000 elementary school students.
CodeMonkey cofounder and CEO Jonathan Schor said, “Programming today is no longer in the domain of a small percentage of the population; it is widely recognized as a basic trade, just like math or English. Since life is becoming increasingly digital, there is a greater need for programmers. According to Code.org, by 2020 there will be over one million unoccupied programming jobs. Through introducing programming to students from a young age, we will equip them with the skills they need to succeed in future professions. In 2015 alone, President Obama announced the 'CS For All' initiative and allocated a budget of 4 billion dollars for integrating computer science professionals in American schools. CodeMonkey is designed to address the increasing demand for coding skills among society and provides a feasible way to teach computer language to children around the world,” Schor added.
CodeMonkey is a game-based-learning platform that enables students eight years and older to learn the fundamental principles of computer programming. In the game, players help a monkey collect bananas by writing code. Meanwhile, an AI engine simultaneously runs in the background and analyzes the players’ actions in order to deliver personal feedback, hints and instructions accordingly. During the game, students not only acquire the fundamentals of computer science, but 21st century skills, such as multistep problem solving and analytical thinking, as well.
CodeMonkey is also tailored to educators’ needs as it is designed as a curriculum that does not require prior coding knowledge and experience. CodeMonkey also provides basic training, management and reporting tools, automatic grading and interactive online training course (MOOC).
“We like investing in companies that have a committed founder who developed a sophisticated product that has a well-designed and user-friendly interface. CodeMonkey has developed incredible momentum, impressive technology, skilled arts and graphics via an expert team that is fundamentally changing the way children learn and use coding all over the world. It is of high importance in particular in China, where modern education is of top priority” said Eliezer Manor, CEO of Shirat Enterprises Israel, General Partner at China-Israel Education VC Fund.
CodeMonkey is ideal for elementary schools that are interested in incorporating computer programming into their curriculum. CodeMonkey is designed as a classroom resource and does not require prior knowledge and experience. The tutoring package includes basic training, management and reporting tools, automatic grading and detailed tutorials for teachers. In Israel, CodeMonkey has been operating for the second consecutive year in the framework of the "National Coding Olympics" by the Israel Ministry of Education. In 2015 alone, more than 250,000 students from 1,700 schools have participated nationwide.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 3, 2017
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