It seems like a long time ago that we asked the question, “Where are Finland’s education startups?” We got some excellent replied in the comments, but now it finally appears that we’re getting some proudly talking about their themselves. Fantastec, makers of the Wonder Bunny game series have recently come to us with exciting news of a $800,000 seed fund investment they have secured.
Using the fun play mechanics of games and supported by Finland’s excellent reputation as a world leader in education Fantastec are making moves into the large, and still growing, game-based learning market. With the worldwide gaming market spend crossing $93 billion in 2013 (according to a Gartner report) and still projected to grow, you can understand why it is still such an attractive field to enter. The percentage that falls under the game-based learning category is still quite small relatively, reaching ‘only’ $1.5 billion according to one 2012 report I’ve seen, but again it is growing, and the same report forecast growth to $2.3 billion by 2017. So you can begin to understand why investment into educational, game learning based start ups makes a lot of sense.
“We want to create visually beautiful, fun and easy to use games which inspire children to learn. If children love what they are doing then fantastic learning results will be achieved – and kids love games”, Fantastec CEO and former teacher, Juha Väisänen says.
Fantastec develops multiplatform educational kids’ games for online and mobile platforms. Currently in beta is their online game world Polar Heroes, like Disney’s successful Club Penguin but with educational adventures. Their mobile games are published under the Wonder Bunny brand and include Math Race, ABC Race and trivia game Animal Friends.
In these games kids help their superhero characters to grow and learn new skills. The idea is that motivation comes from seeing characters gain fun super powers, nurture pets and ride wacky vehicles. So that while helping their game characters learn, kids themselves learn math, reading, general knowledge and more.
Fantastec’s investors include Booster Investment and angel investors from Finland, and we’re told that the money will be focussed on boosting the development of multiplatform titles, to which end they’ll be hiring additional talent. That’s not the money’s only use though, expanding international operations is another goal, one in which they’ve already found success.
They have partnered with Fingerprint, a global mobile technology company that operates Fingerprint Play in the US and dedicated mobile networks for leading companies like Samsung, Sylvan Learning Center and Astro Digital. “We are thrilled to partner with Fantastec on the Wonder Bunny line of educational games and provide new distribution channels to learning-focused consumers around the world”, says Nancy MacIntyre, Founder and CEO of Fingerprint.
So there you have it. A promising education startup success story coming to us from out of Finland. Who’s next with the good news?