Strive is an educational technology startup that aims to teach kids how to code in a fun and engaging way. Y Combinator is one of the most well-known and respected startup accelerators in the world, so their backing is a significant validation of Strive’s mission and potential. Strive seeks to foster in them a passion for Stem subjects that will last a lifetime.
Teaching kids how to code is becoming increasingly important in today’s digital age, and there is a growing demand for coding education programs that are both effective and enjoyable. Strive’s approach to coding education appears to address this need by making coding more fun and accessible to kids.
The Singapore-based startup announced today that it has raised a $1.3 million seed round, which was led by Y Combinator (it is an alum of the accelerator program). Soma Capital, Goodwater Capital, and individual investors including Jamie Beaton, CEO of Crimson Education, KP Balaraja, co-founder of WestBridge Capital, and Calvin French-Owen, former CTO of Segment, also participated.
Strive, which offers private lessons for children between the ages of 8 and 16, intends to grow throughout Asia, focusing on the 3.7 million pupils enrolled in international schools.
Tamir Shklaz and Pulkit Agarwal founded Strive in 2020 with the conviction that everything you learn today might be obsolete in a few years due to the advancement of AI automation and technology.
“The most important skill we can give kids or anyone is learning how to be adaptable,” said Shklaz. “If you want to inspire adaptable students, learning should be fun. Learning should be joyful. So we really started Strive for the core intention of equipping kids to thrive in the 21st century by making them fall in love with the process of learning.”
What distinguishes Strive from several other kid-friendly online coding learning resources is the fact that Strive wants to develop a learning experience that is more efficient and interesting than those offered by its rivals.
“We have really incredible teachers, but we don’t hire teachers based off their technical ability,” he said. “Of course, they need to be able to teach coding, but what’s far more important is their ability to empathize and relate with the student.”
Students can select the projects they wish to work on in their classes since they are “hyper-personalized”; for example, they can create a pong-style game, a math exercise, or a physics simulation. Projects have immediate feedback and are visual. When a learner finishes a new line of code and a problem, they immediately see the results on their screen. The use of circles, colors, and movement is what really engages children in it.
Even though more parents and educational systems are beginning to embrace coding, according to Agarwal, their teaching strategies frequently cause youngsters to feel disinterested and dissatisfied. The majority of the time, kids are just being exposed to coding when they lose interest in it. They draw the incorrect conclusion that coding is too challenging, dry, or just not for them.
When teaching through active learning, teachers assist students through coding activities by asking them questions and allowing them to take the initiative.
When Strive first began, it had 16 students, and Shklaz and Agarwal would spend six hours a day instructing in order to evaluate various standards and topics. The staff at Strive, including the company’s founders, still have to instruct at least one pupil. To prepare herself to take on a student, Strive’s head of operations, for instance, is enrolling in coding classes with the company’s instructors.
The model’s scalability is one of the difficulties Strive can encounter when it implements its growth strategy. According to Shklaz, there are two options. One is moving from one-on-one to up to one-on-four student ratios in each class. The second is that because Strive recruits many college students who are studying coding, it has a sizable pool of potential teachers. Shklaz stated that Strive will establish a training procedure and infrastructure to guarantee that the standard of teaching is maintained.
Strive’s current client acquisition strategy mostly relies on word-of-mouth referrals from children and their parents. Some of the new financing will be utilized to improve its code editor, including new concepts and curricula tailored to particular children’s interests.
Teaching kids how to code “is one of the desired outcomes, which is to be able to think and solve problems and code them in the same way you would develop a fluency for languages,” Shklaz said. “But far more important than that is confidence and a joy of learning.”