CodeCombat uses online games to teach kids how to code. And to ramp up the growth of the operation, the company is raising money from a crowdfunding campaign on SeedInvest. The minimum amount to invest in CodeCombat is $500.
Nick Winter got the inspiration for the company from his previous startup, Skritter, which is the No. 1 app for learning to write in Chinese characters. He realized that learning should be engaging and fun — not just a set of tedious lectures.
So he applied these ideas to coding. He saw that existing resources were really subpar, as young students had high failure rates and weren’t interested.
To build CodeCombat, Winter recruited several other co-founders:
- Matt Lott serves as the chief technology officer. He was the co-founder of Funnel, which is a microblogging platform for DIY artists. He also worked for Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox.
- Bill Wang serves as the general manager for China. He was once a high school teacher and then worked at companies like Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL), McKinsey and Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG).
How CodeCombat Works
As a note, CodeCombat recommends its games for students age nine and up.
CodeCombat does provide training, instructional resources and other exercises to help with the lessons. There are currently six computer science units, which cover a range of topics from basic coding to advanced areas like recursion, conditional while loops and vectors.
A key part of the success of CodeCombat is that it relies on an open-source model. That is, the code is freely available for anyone to enhance. Consider that the project on GitHub has over 600 contributors.
CodeCombat has also developed Ozaria, which is the next-generation version of the platform. The game play is more story driven and provides extensive customization, such as with heroes.
For those who are deciding whether to invest in CodeCombat, it is encouraging that the company has seen lots of momentum. Last year, it posted $2 million in bookings and as for the current year, there has been an acceleration. The pipeline is already at $4.3 million.
No doubt, a big catalyst has been the novel coronavirus that has resulted in the move toward online learning.
Since inception, more than 25,000 U.S. schools have used CodeCombat and there have been 19.8 million users. The company’s own surveys show that 99% of teachers report that their student enjoy using the service.
Should You Invest in CodeCombat?
CodeCombat has already raised $8.3 million from angel investors and venture capitalists. Some of the backers include top firms like Hone Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Extol Capital and OceanOne Capital.
Regarding the crowdfunding campaign, there has been considerable progress. The amount committed is over $760,000 and the valuation is at $25 million (on a pre-money basis).
The investment comes with a variety of perks, which are based on investment levels. For example, if you agree to invest $7,500, you will get the complete Ozaria and CodeCombat curriculum and support for an underserved school and your own school.
But yes, with any early stage investment, there are definitely risks. Gaming can be fickle, especially with kids. What’s more, the competitive environment is intense for programming instruction.
So before investing, it’s a good idea to do your own analysis.
Tom Taulli (@ttaulli) is an advisor and author of various books and online courses about technology, including Artificial Intelligence Basics, The Robotic Process Automation Handbook and Learn Python Super Fast. He is also the founder of WebIPO, which was one of the first platforms for public offerings during the 1990s. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
Investing through equity and real estate crowdfunding or asset tokenization requires a high degree of risk tolerance. Despite what individual companies may promise, there’s always the chance of losing a portion, or the entirety, of your investment. These risks include:
1) Greater chance of failure
2) Risk of fraudulent activity
3) Lack of liquidity
4) Economic downturns
5) Dearth of investor education
Read more: Private Investing Risks