Erase All Kittens, an online game that teaches girls to code, signs distribution deal with Tesco

U.K. edtech startup Erase All Kittens — an online game that teaches kids, especially young girls, coding skills — has signed a distribution deal with Tesco, one of the U.K.’s largest supermarkets. The move comes on International Women’s Day, an annual date to support women and girls globally. Erase All Kittens has so far raised over $1 million in seed funding.

The deal means that Tesco Clubcard vouchers can be used to purchase an annual subscription to Erase All Kittens for £9.99 per year via Tesco’s website. There are 20 million Tesco Clubcard Members, and 6.6 million regularly using the store’s app.

“We’re delighted to team up with Erase All Kittens, whose work encouraging girls into coding is so vitally important in a world where digital literacy is vital to our everyday lives,” a spokesperson for Tesco Clubcard said.

Erase All Kittens is an online game that teaches kids professional coding skills as they “set off on an adventure to save kittens in a magical Internet Universe.” It’s won several awards to date.

EAK said each teaching method on the game has been designed to spark the imagination of 7- to 13-year-olds, allowing players to build and fix levels using real source code. Designed to appeal to both girls and boys, EAK claims that 95% of the girls surveyed want to learn more about coding after playing the game.

The startup said the “Mario-style” web-based game has reached over 160,000 players in 4,000 schools in more than 100 countries. Last year, it raised $1 million in seed funding led by Twinkl Educational Publishing, with participation from first investor Christian Reyntjens of the A Black Square family office, alongside angel investors, including one of the founders of Shazam.

“There is still a huge misconception that coding and engineering are more for boys, when in fact it’s gender bias keeping women out of careers in STEM,” CEO and co-founder Dee Saigal said. “Unless more girls and young women learn how to use technology to shape the world we live in, the gender gap will just keep growing. We’ve built Erase All Kittens to address this problem on a global scale, and we’re incredibly excited to be partnering with Tesco to inspire more girls across the U.K. to code and create.”

EAK currently consists of three to four hours of gameplay content teaching HTML and CSS. New levels teaching further HTML, CSS and Javascript skills will be added on a regular basis throughout the year.