MarcoPolo Learning is a rapidly growing online children's educational technology and media company.
|Location||New York, United States|
|Sectors||Entertainment Digital B2C|
|Incorporation date||24 Sep 2012|
Global education expenditures have already reached $5 trillion per annum, representing a market 8 times bigger than the software market. Nevertheless, there are still hundreds of millions of children globally who do not have access to quality early childhood education and with the arrival of the mobile device, which can now reach most children, MarcoPolo Learning has a solution.
MarcoPolo is building a children's (ages 3-7) educational company for the mobile generation.
At the core of this, we are building an online early learning school for children all over the world - MarcoPolo World School. Please take a look here:
This allows children to explore the wonders of the real world (using live action footage video), whilst developing key skills for school and beyond. Designed by PhDs and experts in early childhood education, it teaches everything from ABCs, 123s to a comprehensive STEAM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths).
MarcoPolo Learning is growing rapidly, with ~7 million downloads of its existing products and it is already helping to educate children across the world.
We consider that most digital content available to children is "junk food media". We believe that the driver behind this is that many media companies are only interested in selling merchandise (toys etc), whereas MarcoPolo's goal is to build a global media brand which really puts children's education first.
The global problem in the early learning space is compounded because the vast majority of the human brain is developed by the age of 7. Research shows that children receiving early childhood education are more likely to perform better in school, graduate senior school and earn higher incomes later in life. Overall, they are more likely to succeed as adults.
With the mobile device's distribution and interactive power, it can truly engage children with personalised educational content, at the most crucial time of their development. MarcoPolo aims to create a trusted education utility for families all over the world.
Important Information: Exchange Rate & Share Classes
Because the company is incorporated in Delaware, United States, all equity to date has been priced in USD. For the purposes of the Seedrs' raise, prices have been converted to GBP, and will be fixed at the rate of 0.7584 USD/GBP.
Please be aware that if the pound falls against the US dollar by more than 5% between now and close, the company may not be able to accept the GBP investment. In this case, funds would be returned to those investing through Seedrs.
The company has both preferred shares and ordinary shares. Those investing through Seedrs will receive common shares, which are intended to be eligible for EIS relief*.
There are five sub-classes of preferred shares, but they all carry the same rights. The preferred shares are convertible to common shares.
Prior to any distributions to the holders of common shares, including upon any acquisition of the company/exit, the holders of preferred shares are entitled to receive the greater of:
(i) one times (1X) the original issue price at which they purchased their preferred shares; or
(ii) their pro-rata entitlement to the proceeds as if their preferred shares had converted to common shares immediately prior to the distribution.
All preferred shares have weighted average anti-dilution protection, which is triggered by the issue of shares at a price lower than the one at which the preferred shares were issued (i.e. a “down-round”). If anti-dilution rights are triggered by a down round this would further dilute the holders of common shares.
Common shares do not attract anti-dilution protection or preference rights. Seedrs investors are being offered common shares so they are able to seek EIS relief*.
*Please note that tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and is subject to change in future.
Substantial accomplishments to date
- ~7 million downloads with no user acquisition marketing spend.
- >4 billion learning activities already completed.
- #1 kids app for MarcoPolo Ocean in over 70 countries
- Numerous awards, including: Parents' Choice Gold Awards, Apple's "Best of the Year" recipient twice
- 4.5 Star rating on the US App Store.
- Series A funding round - $6.5m, anchored by Boat Rocker Media. We have world class strategic investors and advisory board made up of prominent tech investors and thought leaders in education and children's media globally, including:
- Horizon Ventures (Li Ka-shing - Asia's 2nd richest person).
- Co-founder/ Former CTO of Diapers.com.
- Former Chairman of News Corp Europe / Former Director at Fox Kids Europe.
- Co-founder of Skyscanner.
- Co-founder / Former CTO of YY.com Nasdaq: YY (Major Chinese online education and entertainment platform).
- Former CEO of T Rowe Price Global Investment.
- Founder of Ivi.ru (the Netflix equivalent in Russia).
- VP Buffett Early Childhood Fund.
- Recently launched MarcoPolo World School - already been featured twice on the front page of the US Apple App Store.
- About to launch The Polos - a TV and Digital series produced and distributed in partnership with Boat Rocker Media.
- We have recently posted a sample of some of the songs from the show on YouTube, take a look/listen here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHkxLBeRSJn0dQ...
- Working on further partnership deals around the world
MarcoPolo uses a "freemium" strategy. Our individual interactive products (apps) and video products (e.g TV show, YouTube videos) are free for consumers, generating audience and engagement and cross-promoting our core monetisation driver - MarcoPolo World School - which is a subscription preschool product. In the case of our video products, we also expect to earn revenues from licensing fees (TV) and advertising (YouTube). Lastly, we plan to generate revenues from educational merchandise.
World School currently charges $5.99/month (we plan to introduce annual in the next 2 months) and we plan to increase the price to $9.99/month by the end of 2018. Our perceived main competitor currently charges $9.95/month and is a billion dollar company.
Use of proceeds
MarcoPolo intends to use the proceeds for the following:
- To continue developing and growing our core online virtual school platform (MarcoPolo World School) with new content and features released every week (for example a new classroom just launched - Art Room).
- To develop our China focused product (in collaboration with a major global media company).
- To continue developing video content for digital networks eg YouTube.
- To continue marketing and building our brand and userbase across the world.
There are over 1.3 billion children in the world aged 9 or below, half of which are under the age of 5. Too many of these children do not currently have access to early childhood education.
MarcoPolo Learning is addressing this need and has the potential to access and engage millions of children all over the world, at the most crucial time of their development.
Our primary market segment is millennial parents of 3-7 year old children. These parents are generally digitally savvy and they realise the necessity for children not only to learn ABCs and 123s but also important skills for life (eg curiosity, creativity and problem solving) in the fast changing, technology driven 21st century. UNICEF estimates that 65% of children entering school today will work in jobs which currently do not exist! We believe these millennial parents also care for the environment and want their children to be inspired by exploring and discovering the wonders of planet earth.
Characteristics of target market
The ubiquity of mobile phones has the potential to put an early learning school in most families' pockets. For example in 2017, there were over 5 billion mobile phone users globally.
Most young children in the US now have access to a mobile device and it is rapidly becoming the primary media consumption tool (similar trends globally).
Since recently removing the 1 child policy in China, in January 2016, there are now about 18 million babies being born every year in China, so this is creating an enormous market for MarcoPolo Learning. We already have over 2 million downloads of our existing products in China and rising quickly. Furthermore, China's education industry is currently a $1.43 trillion market and analysis suggests that it only has 2 major players, with a market share of less than 4%. This highly fragmented market, consumers' willingness to pay and the fast growth of online education are all expected to create phenomenal opportunities for MarcoPolo.
1. Cross promotion / Audience building
Utilise our 5 free apps and TV series/other video content on TV and digital networks to bring users into our ecosystem and drive awareness (whilst generating revenue). These apps have accumulated ~7 million downloads so far and continue to be featured regularly in the App Stores globally.
2. Paid User Acquisition
Aim to acquire users profitably at scale through continuous optimisation of digital advertising campaigns. Important KPIs for us are Customer Acquisition Cost and Free Trial to Paid Subscriber conversion. We intend to use funds to increase our UA budget in order to drive subscription and revenue growth.
Grow product awareness and affinity among parents through social channels.
Partner with influencers, celebrities, school networks and companies to maximise market reach. We are already working on numerous potential major global partnerships.
Our competitors are generally split between the early learning and children’s media entertainment spaces. In our view, there are very few mobile focused companies who are truly educational. Furthermore, there are even fewer companies who are truly educational and have high media value - we believe MarcoPolo Learning is uniquely positioned to combine both.
One of the key ways that MarcoPolo Learning aims to distinguish itself from the competition is through its focus on using video footage of the real world, contextualised with interactive learning activities.
In addition, World School’s relatively low monthly subscription cost makes it an appealing option for parents, who have previously not had many options for their children, apart from “junk food media” or low quality educational products with negligible education value. Our goal is for MarcoPolo Learning to be a truly educational media company, developed for the mobile generation.