PlayShifu Raises $7 Million for Augmented Reality Experiences that Encourage STEM Learning in Children
Bangalore-based Augmented reality EdTech startup PlayShifu has raised more than $7 million to develop augmented reality experiences that foster STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning in kids. PlayShifu develops innovative and immersive learning tools for kids aged between 4 and 12 that are geared at making the early learning process both fun and enjoyable.
Funding round was led by Chiratae (which was previously known as IDG Ventures India), Inventus Capital and BIF.
Apart from its Bangalore base, the startup also has an office in the Bay Area. PlayShifu wants to pioneer the creation of highly engaging and immersive augmented reality experiences for kids. With the latest funding round, the startup has now raised more than $8.5 million in total which will go towards its efforts on tech innovation, new product developments and unique phygital (physical and digital) interactions.
PlayShifu also plans to significantly update its current line of products and expand its retail presence to more than 30 countries from 2020 from the current 15.
According to the PlayShifu CEO Vivek Goyal, the startup already has a very exhaustive product pipeline along with a passionate and creative team of innovators to drive its vision forward. PlayShifu believes the onboarding of a group of investors highly focused on consumer tech as partners can have a very positive impact on its product and the educational foundations of future generations.
The startup’s first flagship product was the Shifu Orboot, an augmented reality-based globe that immerses kids into adventures around the world. PlayShifu’s user base has so far surpassed 100,000 kids in the U.S. market alone, with its current emphasis being on kids that aged between 4 and 8. The startup’s Shifu Orboot app has had a retention rate of 40% in the second month which far outpaces the 8% retention rate for other top kids’ apps and toys.
The product has had some good uptake with technology integrators and teachers from 28 U.S. states exploring PlayShifu and adopting its products for their iPad-enabled classrooms. According to PlayShifu, 65% of these teachers are already using its Orboot product in their classes every week.
The Orboot 2.0 will be coming soon with lots of rich features including student profiles, teacher’s portal, progress tracking and detailed lesson plans. It is also common core aligned. PlayShifu plans to roll it out to more than 2000 schools in 2019.
The company’s newest product is the Shifu Plugo that delivers new-age digital interactions without losing the charm of the classic physical consoles and is developed to help kids acquire STEM skills through super-fun characters, storylines that are highly captivating along with rich and engaging tactile play techniques.
There are already two consoles that schools can try but PlayShifu is planning on introducing an additional four before the end of the year. Starting price for a console and a gamepad will be $50. PlayShifu already has a global appeal which can be seen through its deeply embedded retail presence in some of the key global markets such as Japan, Canada, Germany, India, Poland and Dubai.
The company has revealed that it is already seeing strong demand for its products from across the world. Educators around the world are seeing the value in the company’s innovative product lineup that are applicable for early learning across multiple markets and languages.
PlayShifu was founded in 2016 by Vivek Goyal and Dinesh Advani who is the company’s chief operating officer. Currently, the company has 55 employees.
The EdTech company will continue to target the multibillion-dollar augmented reality industry using its unique proposition of creating a rich, immersive and interactive environment for kids that combines learning and fun.
The new infusion of cash is expected to boost the company’s product line and provide a more engaging and immersive experience for kids.