Online School Where Children Learn English From Native Speakers Novakid Raises $4.25M In New Funding

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Novakid is an online school where children learn English with native speakers. Below is our recent interview with Andrey Malafeev, from NovaKid:

Q: Can you tell us something more about the company and your programs?

A: Our unique interactive program was created by experienced educators and methodologists for children from 4 to 12 years old with different levels of English proficiency. Lessons at Novakid are used online through a specially designed virtual educational platform. All Novakid teachers (we employ 900 at the moment) are native speakers with British or American accents and certified educators with over 3 years of experience working with children, including online.

The key feature of Novakid is its digitalization. In its training programs, the school uses innovative IT tools that lead to learning outcomes much faster than traditional methods of acquaintance with a foreign language. Thus, the most effective and proven worldwide communicative approach in combination with the total physical response approach (TPR) proves its effectiveness from the very first session. In addition to TPR, visual support is being actively implemented, as well as interactive educational games.

Novakid’s IT-platform emphasizes personalisation and AI-assisted data extraction and analysis. It utilizes a data-driven curriculum approach, which involves gathering highly detailed student attainment data from student-tutor sessions, and exerting this data to personalize each student’s curriculum, while at the same time improving overall curriculum via constant A/B testing to produce better outcomes for all students.

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Q: What are some of the real-world results children can expect with your online school?

A: It seems to me that the most important indicator of language knowledge is not the ability to use words correctly and make sentences from them, but the accent, that is, sound and intonation elements. The native speakers who teach at our school do not speak to children in their native language. This is important, because the right emphasis must be placed from childhood. Students are completely immersed in English and from a very young age know how to speak it correctly. Over time, outsiders do not even suspect that our students are not native speakers, and this, it seems to me, is one of the key results that training at Novakid can give.

We have an interesting case in Russia, where one of our students is an 11 years old actor – Dobromyr, who studies at Novakid exactly to be able to speak American or British accent for his movies.

Q: How would you say your offering is better than competitors that would offer a similar service?

A: Education in our school is based on a platform developed by Novakid, which, using virtual reality and gamification technologies, provides children with a deep immersion in the process of language acquisition. In this case, the model of massive online role-playing games (MMORPG) is used, thanks to which students can interact with each other while mastering the material and earn personal “achievements”, and teachers act as participants and moderators of this process. At the same time, a unique methodology for assessing student progress based on machine learning (it uses more than 900 parameters, A/B testing and other components of a data-driven approach), allows you to get clear indicators of learning outcomes at any time and flexibly adjust the program to every student.

Q: You’ve recently raised $1,500,000 in Seed funding; can you tell us something more?

A: You mentioned seed funding, but recently Novakid has raised $ 4.25 million in Round A. This round was led by PortfoLion, a large Hungarian venture capital fund (part of OTP, a leading banking group in Eastern Europe). New investors also include the American fund LearnStart (which is a division of the LearnCapital family of venture capital funds, which specializes in investments in the EdTech sector, which at various times invested in leading EdTech companies, for example, VIPKID and Brilliant.org), as well as funds TMT Investments and Xploration Capital.

Both investors of the seed funding round closed in January 2020 – Korean venture capital fund BonAngels with the participation of LETA Capital – also took part in the new investment round. The raised funds will be used by Novakid for the development of operations in Europe and Southeast Asia and further technological improvement of its product.

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Q: What are your plans for the first half of 2021?

A: We are planning to enter several large markets in Asia, expect further growth in the number of students and, of course, will attract new teachers. As for educational programs, Novakid will continue to actively introduce new IT tools into the educational process. making it unforgettable and original. In development – new quizzes, home tasks and other elements of the lessons. New functionality for parents is also being actively implemented, providing convenience of payment and tracking progress of their children.

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