Meet the Founder – Tech Will Save Us, Building a Generation of Digital Creators

Meet the Founder – Tech Will Save Us, Building a Generation of Digital Creators

1st May 2020 by Michaela Salomon

When investing, your capital is at risk.

Driven by a vision to empower children to understand, embrace and harness the power of technology, Tech Will Save Us is the edtech business building a generation of digital creators.

We sat down with CEO and Co-Founder Bethany Koby to find out more about where the business came from, and what they’re aiming to achieve.

What is Tech Will Save Us’ vision, in your own words? 

Our vision is to create a world where children are empowered to build and create with technology. We want to create a generation that understands how technology works and has the skills to be active users of it, rather than just passive consumers.

What encouraged you to build the business? 

It all started a few years ago when myself and my co-founder and partner, Daniel, found a fully functional laptop in a bin. This got us thinking about how technology threads through every aspect of our lives. Yet most of us know very little about how it works.

We founded Tech Will Save Us on a radical premise: what if kids could build and create with the technology they use, rather than just consuming it?

We started packing Tech Will Save Us kits on the kitchen table in East London. Today, our play-led learning system has reached over 1,200,000 children worldwide.

How are Tech Will Save Us’ products engineered to encourage success in children at all ages?

Our play-led home learning system is split into three core age groups:

Little Learners – 4-6: Sandbox

Encourages children to engage with tech through hands on play and creativity.

Tech Kids – 7-10: Lab

Encourages children to engage with tech through experimentation and mastery across a wide range of tech subjects.

Future Inventors – 11+ Portfolio

Encourages children to engage with tech through open ended problem solving.

Children can get involved in our play-led learning system at any stage. As they move through the different stages, they build and develop complimentary STEAM skills.

How does Tech Will Save Us differentiate itself from other players in the market?

There are three core areas that differentiate our business from other players in the market:

  1. Play-led Home Learning System: Our creative technology experiences are not stand alone experiences. Rather they are part of a play-led learning system, meaning that they allow children to build and develop complementary skills. This is core to our offering as it gives kids a set of experiences that they can work through and come back to.
  1. Repeatability: We don’t want to create physical or digital products that can only be used once. Rather we create creative technology experiences that children can edit, build on and come back to. For example, the Arcade Coder includes multiple projects and games that children can work through and we regularly add to the Arcade Coder experience so that customers can use the Arcade Coder over and over again.
  1. Digital and Physical Products: Fusing the physical and digital experience is core to all our products. By including a physical element to the experience, our aim is to increase children’s engagement with a topic as well as their retention of a skill or information as they are moving through the experience with their hands, not just their minds.

What are the key developmental skills the Tech Will Save Us’ products help to refine for children?

Our products help children develop a range of hard and soft skills in a fun, collaborative and hands on way.

Our Electro Dough range teaches children aged 4-6 hard-skills around how electricity works. It also encourages them to develop their creativity and motor skills by making dough creations with our tactile electro-dough.

The Music Studio Kits range teaches children aged 8-10 all about sound and how sounds can be manipulated with electricity to make music! Creating different sounds encourages their creativity skills and working through the projects develops their problem-solving skills.

The Arcade Coder enables kids to develop a range of hard and soft skills. Completing the projects teaches children about coding and how games work. The coding projects teach children to iterate and problem solve as they work through the tutorials. Creativity skills are further developed as kids create their own games and pixel art.

What new products or initiatives do you have upcoming in your pipeline?

Games Designer Club

We are super excited to be developing our Games Designer Club which is launching this month! The Games Designer Club will give children ages 6-10 weekly projects based around the themes of inventing and creating games. This club will introduce kids to a whole curriculum of projects about the skills related to designing games, from game mechanics all the way to creating animations with flip books

New Subscription Offerings

Subscription services are core to the future of our business and something that we are working to develop in the near future. We are developing a range of new subscriptions for different age groups, based around a variety of themes and skills, including everything from music tech, to electricity, to energy tech!

As kids grow up more integrated with technology than ever before, how does Tech Will Save Us better prepare them to navigate an evolving world, both professional and personally?

65% of primary school children today will have jobs that haven’t been invented yet. To me, this emphasises the absolute need for children to develop STEAM skills throughout their education. Our creative technology experiences help children to develop a broad range of skills such as creativity, problem solving, logic and coding, in order to prepare them for the future. On a professional level, the importance of this is clear.

Understanding technology is also essential on a personal level. Technology plays an increasingly larger role in our daily lives. It is essential that we have the skills to understand the advantages and disadvantages of this, whether this be understanding the difference between actively and passively using technology or noticing when we need to take a step back from the screen and re engage with the physical world.

How do you integrate consumer testing in product development?

Consumer testing is core to our product development process and we regularly work with parents and children to develop and improve our products. We work with parents at all points of the process from the conception of the product to testing the final version before going to market.

How does the subscription service work?

The Future Inventor’s Club is the world’s first micro:bit subscription service. The micro:bit is a  micro computer that can be used to make all kinds of creations. We worked directly with the BBC to develop this and over 4 million micro:bits have been sold and produced worldwide.

When kids subscribe to the Future Inventors Club, they receive awesome monthly projects that they can complete using their micro:bit. The projects cover a range of tech themes such as AI, Wearables and Gaming.

What will the proceeds from this round help you achieve?

The proceeds of this round will be key to helping us accelerate the growth of our business. A portion of the funds will be spent on R&D, with a particular focus on creating more projects to increase customer retention. We will also create more subscription products to increase Customer Lifetime Value.

Marketing will also be a focus so that we can continue to create engaging content to drive new customer acquisition. Direct sales channels such as marketplaces and our website are key to our strategy, so a portion of the marketing budget will be allocated to Amazon sponsored product campaigns.

The rest of the funds will go towards the team and working capital so that we can make key new hires within the marketing and product teams.

What are your company values?

We have six core company values that we build into everything we do:

Love of Learning: We’re passionate about helping children learn the skills that they need for the future and we believe that learning is and should always be synonymous with fun! As a team we’re always looking to learn new things, whether that’s in relation to technology, education or our business itself.

Seriously Playful: Life’s too short to not have a cheeky sense of humour, which is why we are joyful about work and play, always striving to surprise and delight ourselves and our customers.

Insights Drive Better Results: At the core of everything we do there are our customers – you! We are guided by our customers’ needs and input, always looking for continuous improvements by tracking outcomes and iterating for better results.

Determined To Make The World A Better Place: We are optimistic about kids’ futures, ambitious for the future of the world and technology, and always conscious and striving to improve our impact.

Be Your Best Self: We are resilient, we listen well and help each other grow, we take accountability and responsibility in every challenge.

WOW Making Every Day: WOW is about details and consideration. WOW is about the highest quality for ourselves and our users. WOW brings positive experiences and outcomes for others.

What gets you up in the morning?

Knowing that I am living my purpose and always trying to go deeper into what my purpose is and how to contribute to the world in positive ways.

And my amazing 1 year old and 8 year old sons who are wise and beautiful.

What’s one thing you’re still learning?

Letting go of fear.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to the future generation?

The world needs you so find your purpose and live it fully.

Michaela Salomon

Michaela Salomon

Campaign Support Team

Digital Agency Kent