California-based educational game developer LocoMotive Labs just raised $4 million in a major funding round.

LocoMotive Labs’ flagship Todo Math app reached the No. 1 spot in education on the Apple App Store, and it has over a million downloads. Its playful approach to helping educate young children is finding success in homes, and this Series A financing round will help its expansion into U.S. classrooms and its push into the Asian education market.

The Beijing, China-based TAL Education Group and the venture capital firm Softbank Ventures Korea led the investment round, which takes LocoMotive Labs’ total funding to $5.15 million. The TAL Eduction Group is a leading K-12 after-school tutoring provider in China, and LocoMotive Labs is hoping to tap into the Asian education market with its help.

Math education is a particular problem in the U.S., where 40 percent of school children start kindergarten behind grade-level expectations. LocoMotive Labs says it can help address this with Todo Math’s focus on play and fun.


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“Our mission is to remove the obstacles that frustrate young learners and empower all children to develop the confidence and mathematics skills to be successful both inside and outside the classroom,” said Sooinn Lee, a former game designer and cofounder of LocoMotive Labs. “We’re excited to have the continued opportunity to expand our reach to even more families and educators, both at home and around the world.”

More than 25,000 young students are currently piloting the Todo Math app and its teacher dashboard in 1,000 elementary classrooms across the U.S. and worldwide.

“Parents and educators in Asia, the U.S., and around the world are increasingly looking for tools and technologies that can make learning math fun instead of frustrating,” said Jason Wi, the principal at Softbank Ventures Korea. “We believe LocoMotive Labs’ deep understanding in gaming and interface design is second to none and will make an unprecedented impact on how children learn math.”

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