Kalam Labs, a live game streaming EdTech company that focuses on K-12 learning with a multiplayer ecosystem, has raised a pre-seed round of $450,000 funding from Y Combinator, Lightspeed, and FirstCheque.
The funds raised will be utilized to accelerate its product roadmap to build a “Metaverse for Science,” starting with fun and immersive virtual missions for 6-14-year-old kids to learn their favorite STEM topics by joining and playing various science-led missions.
Launched in June 2021 by three young students - Ahmad Faraaz, Harshit Awasthi, and Sashakt Tripathi - Kalam Labs offers science-related learning courses for school students. The platform also provides a Youtube channel that holds science classes for students.
Kalam Labs has made multiplayer gaming more suitable for education by introducing engaging live video and chat interaction. The startup aims to build a virtual world where curious kids hangout and learn their favourite science topics by live game streaming and multiplayer gaming.
Speaking about the company, Co-founder of Kalam Labs Ahmad Faraaz said,
"The 2020s children have been born directly into the age of iPhones, Netflix, and Google. It is impractical to make them sit in front of a blackboard or a Zoom Class expecting them to remember irrelevant information. While our growth has been unexpected and amazing, we are very aware just how tough it is to meet the high standards our very young users have from us on a daily basis. What motivates us is their passion and engagement on our platform. Education is undergoing a generational change, and we plan to be at the forefront of building products that will accelerate this shift."
Kalam Labs has amassed thousands of paying students and claims to be growing its user base by 50% week-over-week completely organically and via referrals within student communities. It has high-paced-in-game chats and engaging game-play. Most children spend up to three hours per week, returning thrice weekly, according to the company.
During the livestreams, an instructor plays a multiplayer game with the kids, taking them through game-based exercises about the asteroid belts, Mars landings, and other topics.
The company said well known games such as Minecraft (150M MAUs) and Roblox (200M MAUs) are already seeing "education economies" organically emerging within the games. Teachers are designing and conducting live sessions inside these multiplayer games to help kids learn coding and science. For example, teachers are using pre-built Roblox templates to customize game levels. Students then play these Roblox levels as groups or individuals to learn complex concepts such as chain reaction simulations in the process.
Hemant Mohapatra, Partner at Lightspeed, has also responded to the latest development, saying
"At Lightspeed, we have invested in global scale companies in both education (Byju’s) and gaming (Epic Games). Having seen hundreds of pitches in education over the years, we thought the approach Kalam Labs had for K-12 was one of the most interesting and fresh. Learning through play is as old as humanity itself — a behaviour so primal and genetic that we even see it in animals. What Kalam Labs is building is just a digital version of how humans have always learned new skills. We are excited to back the Kalam team as they take on this ambitious challenge."
Kalam Labs said it already has 10,600 subscribers on YouTube and more than 1,400 paying subscribers who are generating more than $15,000 a month in revenue.