99Math, a Tallinn-based edtech startup, has raised $500,000, led by Baltic VC Change Ventures, along with Good Deed Education Fund and Martin Villig, co-founder of the Estonian unicorn company Bolt.
The learning platform is designed to help students, between first and sixth grades, learn and engage with a tricky subject: math.
As a 19-year-old recent high school graduate, co-founder Timo Timmi explained the need for 99Math from his personal experience: “Math is one of the most important skills we can learn in school, but grades in math are declining around the world. I believe it is because the way it is being taught in schools just doesn’t feel fun or engaging to Generation Z. If math were as engaging as gaming, the next generation would far exceed the previous with powerful problem-solving skills. In turn, we would hopefully have more engineers, scientists, and astronauts.”
The app is free to use for both kids and teachers. In fact, over 30,000 elementary students from around the world participate in its eSports style math league, “Math Game Days.” Students face off in real-time math battles, complete with live viewers. To participate, all that’s needed is a WiFi-connected smartphone or tablet, which means the barriers to entry are low and adoption is widespread.
“99math has shown that their online math competitions between schools, students and leagues engage tens of thousands of students across the world to practice math. We want to help this team grow 99Math and revolutionize how kids perceive and practice math,” said Yrjö Ojasaar of Change Ventures.
Bolt’s co-founder Martin Villig commented: “Estonian school students are currently first in the world in terms of math understanding and results. I think the way it is taught is imperative to the results. It feels great to see so many students already join the platform and get excited about math.”