Nowadays it is unlikely that your children will grow up unaware of the digital world, replete with all kinds of technology, apps, and AI-based programs one could imagine. Parents who do strive to keep their children away from screens – preferring them to be eating sand and running outside – are noticing great difﬁculty, as screens always promise a quick distraction.
However, many startups have now started to work with and not against the active and exciting lifestyle children should enjoy, with some achieving an interesting balance between augmented reality and the real outdoors. These impressive companies range from games, language training platforms and robots, physical exercises, support for children with special needs, coding bots, and even help with life skills including time and money management.
Here are 10 European startups that are helping our kids learn while having fun using tech:
Joy – Founded in 2016, this startup has produced the ﬁrst icon-based watch, Octopus, in order to teach children good habits and time management. Parents are able to input tasks and points into their child’s schedule as well as program visual reminders from their smartphone, and when the time comes, these will pop up onto the kid’s watch. The goal of this French startup is to help children learn self-discipline and to become independent while helping their parents prioritise tasks.
Codarica – This Stockholm-based startup creates fun coding games catered to children 6 years and up. While using the power of gaming and storytelling, the platform introduces kids to coding through a project-based curriculum. In their eyes coding is the form of literacy of the 21st century, and the goal is to give children a head start in understanding computer sciences that seem to might be a must in the future. Founded in 2014, Codarica has raised $120k to date.
Lingokids – This well-funded, fast-growing Spanish edtech startup is changing the face of early childhood language education. This platform has already taught over seven million children in 180 countries a second language since its launch in 2015. Its goal? To remove language barriers and provide quality language learning education for all children around the world. Based in Madrid, Lingokids raised $7.3 million in 2018, and was listed as one of our top 10 Spanish startups to watch in 2019.
A-Champs – This Barcelona-based startup focuses on getting kids (as well as their entire families) moving and enabling them to live healthier lifestyles. This real-life gaming system does exactly what it says – the attractive product offers app-based competitions, games and activities by incorporating the developed ROXs, which are wirelessly connected high tech pods that come with different sensors, light and sound effects.
MiCuento – This Spanish startup allows you to personalise a dozen children’s stories for your son, daughter, niece, or nephew – with their name, city, and even hair colour for a special reading experience. Just choose your child’s characteristics on its platform, and order a personalised book from its selection of classic themes including dragons, Christmas, and even The Little Prince, in six different languages. MiCuento will deliver your unique, hardcover, full colour book in 7-10 days. Founded in 2013, this startup has raised €50k to date.
EMYS – From Wroclaw, Poland, EMYS has developed a friendly robotic head that teaches foreign languages to kids ages 3-7 through regular, fun interactions, focusing on simple vocabulary and expressions. EMYS appeals to multiple senses and uses language children already know, using their favorite cartoons, toys, and items from their surroundings. The robot can move, speak, recognise faces, and even express emotions to foster bonding, and uses rewards to reinforce learning. Currently the robot is equipped to teach kids English and Spanish, but the startup is developing capabilities for other languages. Founded in 2016, EMYS has already raised a pair of undisclosed seed rounds.
PlayCraft – Based in Sofia, this startup’s mission is to improve the cognitive and socio-emotional abilities of children from 3 to 15 years old through play. PlayCraft is developing a variety of products and services, both digital and offline, to help kids learn life skills. It is currently developing educational software for kids from 4 to 6 based on a fairy-tale narrative sequence through 12 episodes. Each episode is a separate game challenge that helps children develop specific skills, with an emphasis on self-reflection, understanding, and confidence.
ERNIT – This Copenhagen-based is the world’s first smart piggy bank, which teaches children basic financial management. It’s all about getting children talking about money and how to save it. ERNIT consists of a smart piggy bank and an app, which enables parents and their kids to create wishes, and allows parents and others to contribute money – for instance, in exchange for doing chores. The piggy bank provides a physical way for kids to connect with their savings – they can hear when money is added, and the light on their piggy’s snout lets them know how much progress they’ve made towards their goal.
Robo Wunderkind – This Vienna-based startup produces ready-to-build robots for children. The products are embedded with different electronics such as sensors, motors and micro-controllers that a child – even as young as 5 years of age – can build. Once built, children can program the robots to do different things through Robo’s app. The startup has so far raised $2.2 million and has been recognised with several awards since it was founded in 2013.
ToucanBox – This startup delivers a box of stimulating, educational and inspirational activities to children aged 3-8. Each box is put together by educational experts to help motivate and engage kids, as well as develop key skills essential to the growing users’ progression. Every toucanBox includes all materials required to create 1, 2 or 4 projects, a set of easy-to-follow instructions and a reading book to encourage children to investigate a variety of topics. The London-based startup’s goal is to provide parents and children the opportunity to spend quality time together.
All-in-all there are many startups enabling kids to engage in fun and useful activities even while using technology. It is difﬁcult enough to watch the youngsters stare emptily into screens while the world is evolving around them, so why not motivate them participate in something that will enrich their lives?
By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!