Participating investors include M&S Partners, IMJ Investment Partners, Ookbee and Red Dot Ventures
Recently named as the Most Promising Startup at Echelon 2014, Thailand-based e-learning startup Taamkru today announced that it has raised US$620,000 in seed funding led by 500 Startups, with participation from M&S Partners, IMJ Investment Partners, Ookbee, and Red Dot Ventures.
Launched in 2013, Taamkru is well-known for its eponymous website and smartphone app that allows kindergarten children to learn, while parents monitor their learning progress against peers in different countries. It is currently available on iOS and Android devices.
At the moment, there are about 120,000 users on Taamkru. A sizeable fraction of that can be attributed to Thailand, its biggest market. However, expansion efforts to enter other countries in the region and beyond have started. The company is actively looking to partner content providers, publishers or distributors.
Wicharn Manawanitjarern, CEO and Co-founder, Taamkru said, “Asian parents are very competitive and are willing to spend if the product or service caters directly to their needs of building strong foundations for their children academically.”
Going forward, the firm will register as a new Singaporean entity. Manawanitjarern explained that incorporating in the city-state will help attract future investors. The funds will be used to beef up hiring efforts in the region. At the same time, the engineering team will remain in Thailand for cost-saving purposes.
“Asian parents always look up to Singapore education system, and being able to let their children practice with Singapore content and compare scores with Singaporean kids is just their dream come true,” he noted.
Manawanitjarern added that the firm is currently profitable with most of its earnings originating from product-placement advertising and banner advertisements. Taamkru also allows in-app purchases, which can include real-time performance tracking reports.
Investors participating in this round also prove to be valuable strategically and financially. For example, Taamkru could very well head into Southeast Asia with a partner like Thailand’s e-book store Ookbee, which has an existing presence in the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.
The firm also took the opportunity to announce its season-three Taamkru Kindergarten Application Test (TKAT). To date, this tri-annual Thailand-based offline competition has attracted more than 20,000 preschoolers. While winners will receive trophies awarded by His Royal Highness Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti of Thailand, the school of the winning child will also receive an honour plaque from the Thai Ministry of Education.