An Interview With Dee Saigal, CEO & Creative Director Of Erase All Kittens

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Below is our recent interview with Dee Saigal, CEO & Creative Director of Erase All Kittens:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?

A: We’re creating a Mario-style adventure game designed to equip children with transferable digital skills and inspire more girls to code. Our aim is to give millions of young children – particularly girls – the confidence and skills to believe in their own abilities and potential.

Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?

A: EAK currently has 160,000 players in over 100 countries. 55% are girls (as opposed to an estimated 18% for other coding tools) and 95% want to learn more about coding after playing (data taken from 12,000 feedback forms). The game is currently being used in 3000 schools, mostly in the UK and US, and its traction increased by 500% since March 2020. We recently raised $1M from investors, including Christian Reynjens from A Black Square family office, and Twinkl Educational Publishing, to build and launch a new, far more gamified version teaching HTML, CSS and Javascript (the languages of all websites and web apps).

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Q: Can you give us more insights into your offering?

A: Most coding tools have been designed by men, and so largely appeal to boys. We are two female founders who graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and we’re very passionate about solving this problem as we experienced it ourselves. EAK is technically innovative, because players can edit the real code that governs the game environment – building and fixing levels as they play in order to save kittens in a fantasy internet universe. Whereas other coding tools teach only the concepts or repeated lines of code to children aged 8-12, EAK teaches the languages of all websites and web apps – meaningful skills which will allow them to create on the web. The existing game teaches HTML skills and how to create URLs, and the new game (released in August this year) will teach HTML, CSS and Javascript skills – bridging the huge gap between kids learning the concepts of coding and being able to create on the web like developers. We’re designing a coding game that girls genuinely love – one that places a huge emphasis on creativity. Girls can see instant results as they code, there are different ways to progress through the game, and learning is seamlessly blended with storytelling.

Q: What can we expect from your company in next 6 months? What are your plans?

A: We’ll be launching the new version of EAK this August, selling to schools and parents, globally. We will also be carrying out a one-for-one scheme, where for every school account purchased, one will be donated to underserved schools via partnerships with tech companies, educational organisations and NGOs.

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Q: What is a great thing about your company that people might not know about?

A: Tim Berners-Lee was the inspiration behind the story for EAK – when asked for an example of a popular use of the internet that he would never have predicted, he answered ‘kittens’. So we thought that saving cute, fluffy kittens (in the form of kitten gifs) would be a perfect place to start for a storyline. After carrying out extensive research with students, we combined different factors – kitten gifs, quirky characters, a fun storyline with subplots, interactive dialogue and ‘instant results’ coding mechanics – to inspire even the most technophobic children to love coding and creating.

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