• Bloomcoding, the Moldovan edtech company teaching children to code via an online after-school platform using AR and VR technologies, has raised €1M from Prague-based Credo Ventures, Warsaw-based Inovo VC, and Kyiv-based u.ventures.
• The company has offices in Moldova and Bulgaria with main markets in Romania, Bulgaria, and Poland.
• With the new funds, they plan to hyper-scale existing CEE markets, establish a presence in SEE, hire critical senior talent in the team, and continue to develop the AR and VR-based curriculum.
“6 years ago, a mother thanked me with crying tears for changing the life of her child. This was during the period of my life when I was leading an NGO in after-school 21st century skill learning, where we were teaching 21st-century skills through various projects aimed at primary school children. That moment sent me on a path of impact-building as I integrated the idea that education has the power to fundamentally change a life. Our core value at Bloomcoding is an obsession with changing one’s life,” co-founder and CEO Emil Chichioi shares with The Recursive.
Fast forward to today, Bloomcoding helps parents get access to affordable, convenient, quality coding education for their children of 7-14 years old. Children learn how to code by developing 3D experiences for VR and AR, in small 1:4 group classes.
The edtech startup has already reached many milestones along their way to adapt classroom and curriculum experience to the new trends in edtech, and enable parallel benefits in 21st-century skills learning.
Placing Moldova on the VC map
Bloomcoding is the first Moldovan edtech startup to raise €1M from VC, marking the start of a new era for the local startup ecosystem.
Asked what helped them attract the investment, co-founder Emil Chichioi highlighted the company’s focus on long-term retention: “We command one of the highest retention rates compared to our competitors, which is key in our market for both profitability and student outcome. We are one of the few companies in this space that managed to close the round. We command a very high capital efficiency as we did a lot of execution on a shoestring budget. Of course, operating in Moldova and arbitraging on the cost of talent is a key component in our secret. We have a very special tax regime (almost 0% employee taxes) that enables us with a high competitive advantage on the OPEX side,” he shares.
Credo, whose portfolio unicorns include UiPath, and Inovo, an investor in beauty app soonicorn Booksy, were convinced about the founding team’s vision and passion, as well as the company’s traction record. Ukraine’s u.ventures also participated in the round, marking the first Ukrainian investment in a Moldovan startup.
In just one and a half years since launch, Bloomcoding has shown potential to become a market leader in online coding education for children. By reaching 1000 student coursants monthly, they have captured a significant market share in Romania and Bulgaria. The edtech startup has also gained international acknowledgement by winning 3 major accelerators: Rubik Hub Accelerator in Romania, sTARTUp Day 2022 pitch contest in Tartu, Estonia, and Genesis StartUp Academy co-organized with Meta.
“Every now and then you meet a founder who is so passionate about what they’re building, that you kind of want to give them money on the spot. (…) Up until now, Emil and his team have delivered beyond expectations on a shoestring budget. So we are super excited to see their product vision executed and scaled with proper funding, so it can be brought into the hands of thousands of kids,” said Guillame Fournier, general partner at Credo Ventures.
The new funds will allow the company to continue innovating in the live online lesson segment of the product and improve their competitive edge.
Coding with VR and AR
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) jobs are considered the future of our economy, making STEM education more and more popular with parents. In turn, this increases competition in STEM exams, and with that, the demand for K-12 online tutoring in areas such as programming. The primary education segment (K-8) is anticipated to grow the fastest at 19%, and this is the segment that Bloomcoding aims to lead in CEE and SEE, Emil Chichioi tells us.
As coding becomes paramount for children’s future success, schools are struggling to equip and engage students in the process. This is where Bloomcoding aims to make a difference by allowing children to learn naturally through play, building games, and becoming not only users, but also creators. The company’s method of teaching combines AR and VR toys with a multi-year coding curriculum adapted for three age categories, all while creating a safe environment for children to interact with technology.
“We reimagined child engagement in online teaching, being the only online coding school for children, globally, to send EdTech learning tools at home that are deeply integrated into the live online lesson experience. What we did is a synergy between two market niches in EdTech, namely subscription-as-a-service toy kits and live online classes. This created a new type of online learning experience that boosts the critical component of education, engagement, which leads to high retention, hence more student outcomes,” Emil Chichioi explains.