Helsinki-based startup HEI Schools lands €2 million to continue expanding its early education concept globally

Early education startup HEI Schools has announced that it has completed a 2 million Series A round of financing. The financing was co-led by Practica Capital and Tesi, Finnish Industry Investment.

HEI Schools, which was founded in 2015 together with the University of Helsinki, one of the world’s top universities in educational sciences, is a pioneer in providing a unique Finnish brand of research-based early education globally. The company is offering a premium learning centre concept, an easy-to-use digital curriculum platform and pedagogical tools for educational operators and teachers outside of Finland to use.

Milla Kokko, CEO and co-founder of HEI Schools commented: “This is a great milestone for HEI Schools. The market of early childhood education is developing fast towards a more professional approach: from offering babysitting services to actual early learning. With new investors on board, we can enable this approach to serve more and more families around the world. We are not trying to “export” Finnish society or even the educational system as such, but the deep knowhow and methods about how children learn. Our job is to enable local teachers and centre operators to implement the methods in their own culture and environment with great tools and continuing online training.”  

So far, 14 HEI Schools learning centres, operated by local entrepreneurs, are open in China, Australia, Indonesia, Korea, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Finland. In addition to current markets, 16 new HEI School centres are opening during 2021 in the US, Canada, Kuwait and Thailand. More than 40 schools are subscribing to the digital curriculum model and over 200 teachers from 30 different countries are onboarded at the teacher certificate programme.

“HEI Schools’ impressive growth and large customer base of premium learning centres around the world, as well as the fast-growing number of users in digital resources were key proof points of the value of its concept. We’re excited to be part of its growth story in leveraging technology to upskill early years professionals and bring progressive and valuable education to children at their most receptive,” said Arvydas Bložė, Investment Director at Practica Capital.

HEI Schools’ Finnish education model is based on holistic development and wellbeing, without compromising academic skills. The idea that learning is not limited to a classroom plays a vital role in children’s strengths, interests, social interactions and peer relationships. Paying close attention to children’s social-emotional, physical, creative and cognitive growth, the HEI Schools curriculum supports children to be active agents in their own learning and development so that they learn to love learning.

“The market opportunity for HEI Schools is to bring its resources to millions through digital growth. We are very happy to be part of this financing round which enables HEI Schools to scale its offering globally even further. We share the same ambition with the HEI Schools team and Practica Capital of creating a world-class company out of Finland, while driving significant positive impact through wider access to high quality early education” said Juha Lehtola, Director of VC Investments at Tesi.

A mission-driven company, HEI Schools strives to provide the most current, research-based early education curriculum to children all over the world in order to give them the highest-quality education possible.

Lasse Lipponen, co-founder of HEI Schools and Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Helsinki, concluded “Childhood is a period of life when everything is possible. It is a period full of learning opportunities and when all the core developmental changes take place. At HEI Schools, it is our mission and commitment to support every child to reach his or her full potential – without limits and without excuses.”