Erase All Kittens (EAK) is an EdTech startup that created a ‘Mario-style’ web-based sport designed for teenagers aged 8-12. Nonetheless, the sport has a twist: it locations an emphasis on inspiring ladies to code (since let’s face it, most coding instruments are created by males). After reaching 160,000 gamers in over 100 international locations, it’s now raised a $1M Seed funding led by Twinkl Educational Publishing, with participation from first investor Christian Reyntjens of the A Black Square household workplace, alongside angel traders, together with one of many founders of Shazam.
Whereas the present EAK sport is free, a brand new sport launched in July will likely be paid for, additional boosting the product’s enterprise mannequin.
EAK says its analysis exhibits that some 55% of its gamers are ladies, and 95% wish to study extra about coding after enjoying its sport. EAK is at the moment being utilized in over 3,000 colleges, largely within the UK and US, and its traction elevated by 500% through the lockdowns related to the pandemic.
It’s Erase All Kittens’ rivalry that coding training instruments for kids have been largely constructed by males and so naturally attraction extra to boys. With most instructing repetitive coding, in a really inflexible, tutorial manner, it tends to attraction extra to boys than ladies, says EAK.
“Gamers edit the code that governs the sport atmosphere, constructing and fixing ranges as they play with the intention to save kittens in a fantasy web universe,” mentioned cofounder Dee Saigal, co-founder, CEO and inventive director. Saigal is joined by co-founder Leonie Van Der Linde; CTO Rex Van Der Spuy; Senior Video games Developer Jeremy Eager; and 2D Video games Artist Mikhail Malkin.
Stated Saigal: “We’re designing a coding sport that ladies genuinely love – one which locations an enormous emphasis on creativity. Women can see on the spot outcomes as they code, there are other ways to progress by means of the sport, and studying is seamlessly blended with storytelling.”
Saigal mentioned: “Once I was youthful I wished to be a video games designer. I beloved developing with concepts for video games however coding had at all times appeared like an inconceivable process. We weren’t taught coding at college, and I couldn’t see anybody who appeared like me making video games, so I didn’t suppose it was one thing I might do.”
“While researching our target market, we discovered that one of many greatest obstacles for women nonetheless begins with gender stereotypes from an early age. By the point ladies attain faculty, this snowballs right into a insecurity in STEM abilities and decrease expectations from academics, which in flip can result in decrease efficiency—a spot that solely widens as ladies become old.”
EAK’s rivals embody Code Kingdoms, Swift Playgrounds and CodeCombat. However Saigal says these video games are likely to attraction way more to boys than to women.
The brand new sport (see under) will likely be bought to colleges and oldsters, globally. EAK may even be finishing up a one-for-one scheme, the place for each faculty account bought, one will likely be donated to underserved colleges through partnerships with tech corporations, instructional organizations, and NGOs.
Jonathan Seaton, Co-founder and CEO at Twinkl and Director of TwinklHive, mentioned: “We’re actually excited to accomplice with Erase All Kittens, as a digital firm Twinkl acknowledges the significance of making ready kids to achieve the digital age and we imagine by means of this partnership we will actually make a distinction.”
“The crew is especially enthusiastic about serving to additional Erase All Kitten’s mission to empower ladies and provides them the identical alternatives to study to code and construct their very own digital creations. Guaranteeing that each one kids have equal entry to alternatives to study is on the coronary heart of Twinkl’s imaginative and prescient and a key motivation within the growth of this partnership for each organizations.”
Erase All Kittens says it’s addressing the worldwide abilities hole, the place the gender hole is more and more widening. In line with PWC, simply 24% of the tech workforce is feminine and girls make up simply 12% of all engineers, whereas solely 3% of feminine college students within the UK checklist tech as their first profession selection.
Analysis by Childwise discovered that 90% of women hand over on coding after first making an attempt it, and in the event that they lose curiosity in STEM topic by the age of 11, they by no means recuperate from that. It is a large and rising downside for the tech trade and for traders.