Language learning startup Lingokids scores $4M funding and partners with Oxford University Press

Madrid, Spain-based (and U.S. incorporated) edtech startup Lingokids is on a mission to get young kids learning a second language.

The company, previously known as Monkimun, offers language lessons in the form of interactive games for children aged 2-6 and delivered via an online subscription and parental portal. It currently provides English and simplified Chinese, with Spanish to be launched next. The lessons themselves are built using the gaming and entertainment platform Unity3D and run on Android and iOS.

“There is a problem with providing quality early childhood language learning because it is time consuming and expensive,” says Cristobal Viedma, who co-founded Lingokids along with his sister Marieta Viedma.

“Kids get bored easily and require adult supervision, that is why we are building a mobile ELL platform with a strong focus on child retention that reduces the burden on parents and brings down price barriers for families worldwide”.

To help with its mission, Lingokids, which already counted 500 Startups as a “pre-seed” backer, has raised $4 million in seed or post-seed funding, depending on how you classify these things. The round was led by European VCs Holtzbrinck Ventures, and JME Venture Capital. Bessemer Ventures Partners also participated, along with Sabadell Venture Capital and Big Sur Ventures.

Cristobal Viedm tells me the new funding will in part be used to bring Lingokids to the web and Windows/MacOS, which in turn will make it more suitable for teachers delivering lessons via an electronic whiteboard.

“Early childhood is critical for cognitive development: the sooner a child is exposed to a second language, the easier it will be for the child to learn,” he adds. “Our app stimulates language learning during this optimum period and since 50 percent of the ability to learn is developed in the first years of life, our immersive program has the opportunity to encourage early learning and development”.

Perhaps equally noteworthy as the startup’s new funding is a strategic partnership it has signed with Oxford University Press. This will see the publisher make available course-specific learning content inside Lingokids “to extend learning beyond the classroom and encourage parent participation”.

Specifically, I’m told, Oxford University Press will start bundling physical books with Lingokids and distribute the package in schools.