MEL Science, a subscription EdTech service, has raised a $2.5m Series A funding round led by Sistema Venture Capital. The newly-raised capital will be utilized to further improve their VR and AR aspects, as well as hire more employees. The startup will also use the money to fund research, and eventually, launch new products in the areas of physics and biology.
MEL Science CEO and founder Vassili Philippov commenting on the funding said,
We’ve chosen Sistema Venture Capital as our investor and partner to strengthen our technological expertise and to obtain support for active business development.
Founded in 2014, and headquartered in London, the firm’s subscription service allows its subscribers two experiment sets each month. The experiments work with MEL’s app, available for Android and iOS, or a Google Cardboard device (complete with VR headset) that comes as part of the subscription.
The first experiment set will incorporate VR and AR. This basically means that the startup will use virtual reality and augmented reality content to take kids on a virtual tour inside a chemical reaction, right after they conduct an experiment in the real world.
The app was designed to improve kids’ understanding of what’s happening in a given experiment. This was achieved in a revolutionary way, with 3D graphics, macro photos and videos of molecules up-close. According to Philippov, he decided to start the company after conducting science experiments to entertain and educate his own kids at home.
After they used tin chloride and zinc to grow a “crystal hedgehog,” his kids were eager for more. They wanted to know how the crystals had grown so quickly. Turning to YouTube, and numerous educational sites, he just couldn’t find good content that would show kids more about what was happening on the molecular level during this chemical reaction. The entrepreneur said IT and physics were always dueling passions for him. MEL Science lets him bring both of them together.
It’s easy to teach history and literature at home, but most people do not have a lab in their homes, unless they happen to be scientists. We chose the UK as HQ because it is a country with the world’s strongest educational traditions and the best specialists in this field.
Sistema Venture Capital’s Dimitry Filatov said he hopes MEL Science will use its new funding to develop more VR content, kits and curriculum for use both in schools and at home. MEL Science is currently sold direct to consumers, and typically parents or grandparents, who want to buy a subscription as a gift for science-curious kids. Subscriptions have also proven to be quite popular among families that homeschool their kids.
Alexei Katkov, president of Sistema VC, commented,
We think MEL Science’s chemistry kits are a product of the future, which perfectly reflects our investment philosophy. We all have children and we want them to get the best education, no matter where in the world they live and what opportunities they have for learning.