This Startup Is Building Small Robots to Teach the Coding Skills for Kids

According to successwithSTEM.org, A well-rounded S.T.E.M education fosters the creativity, curiosity, and problem-solving skills students need to succeed in school, work, and life. S.T.E.M prepares students for a future where success depends less on what they know and more on what they can do with knowledge.

S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education has received a great amount of attention as a key focus in teaching children and young adults in the skills considered important for the next generation of skilled workers. Trends in S.T.E.M include looking at how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics can be presented in teaching and learning from elementary school level so that kids build a wide-ranging skill set.

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Image MATATA Lab

MATATALAB is a startup who is building interactive toys to provide an equal opportunity learning experience for children through simple logic and robotics.

Can you tell us about the founding members of MatataLab and what inspired you to build MATATALAB?

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Team MATATA Lab

MATATALAB CO., LTD. is a young start-up company, founded in early 2017 by a team of four robot developers who, faced with their own children entering kindergarten age, dreamt of combining their passion with their children’s education. Partnering with great educational minds, and with a background at the world’s biggest internet companies, the team strives to provide an equal opportunity learning experience for children through simple logic and robotics.

Can you also tell us about MATATALAB? How did you come up with this name?

The part “Matata” of the brand MatataLab comes from the Disney animated film The Lion King song, “Hakuna Matata”, and also is a magical African proverb from Swahili which means “No worries”.

Tell us more about one BIG problem you are trying to solve at MATATALAB?

With MatataLab’s simple logical games and the robot to make it fun and give instant feedback, coding no longer has to be hard or boring.

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MATATA Lab Kit

What is your opinion about the gender gap in STEM education and how would you address this challenge?

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Kids playing with coding blocks

Every kid should have equal access to education. We want girls to share the same excitement when playing and learning with MatataLab like boys. So we design a friendly cute robot for all genders and all cultures. We also use image recognition technology to empower the infinite possibility of our coding blocks. Our coding language is simply designed as intuitive symbols, and learning resource also tries to use the minimum character, no matter what language you speak, or where you come from, all kids can play together indiscriminative of race, gender or education level.

How much are the products/services priced at? How has the response been so far?

We are currently having three robot sets, Starter Set, Advanced Set, and Pro Set. Price starts at $99. See details on our Kickstarter campaign: http://kck.st/2BmON8p

For now, our MatataLab Pro Sets (early bird) have all gone, and are still being the most popular.

What were some of the biggest challenges while building the product early on and how did you solve them?

I guess it was the mass production process. Many Kickstarter campaigns failed because they don’t have the ability for mass production and to fulfill the delivery. We care about our backers and feel much responsible for them so we have collaborated with an experienced hardware co-working space Shenzhen Valley Ventures (svv.io) for our hardware development and manufacturing. SVV has helped and speeded up many successful startups for many years and is the OEM of Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei, and Xiaomi. In short, we are in safe hand and we conquer the challenge now and are confident with a timely delivery.

What are your achievements so far? And anything exciting happening in the near future?

We’ve launched our Kickstarter campaign on Nov.21 and achieved 100% funding in less than 24hours! The funding is keeping increasing now. Big thanks to all our backers!

Was there any early ‘growth hack strategy’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?

Establishing an email list before you launch your campaign. We gathered our fans, followers and also friends on our Facebook page and invited them to join our mailing list. Then we emailed them with the launch, but not just on our SNS channels and website. This is crucial to help us to reach 100% goal within 24 hours.

Are you tapping into the European/US education market? And if you are pursuing this idea, who will be your potential partners?

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Image MATATA Labs

Yes and actually, we have signed distribution agreements with many of the European countries, like France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and some others. They are all leading channels. Besides, we’ve also built a major partnership with European Schoolnet, a network of 31 European ministries of education, in their Future Classroom Lab project. MatataLab and European Schoolnet share the same vision of future educational trends, especially in the preschool STEAM education segment. By establishing this partnership, MatataLab and European Schoolnet are joining forces to give students a better learning experience and help them enjoy the benefits of technology. Based in Brussels, Belgium, European Schoolnet operates key educational services on behalf of the European Commission, ministries of education, and industry. More information will be released soon. To find out more please visit: fcl.eun.org/matatalab

If this looks like something you would be interested in, you can pledge $99 or more to get the basic starter kit from MatataLab’s Kickstarter campaign. This set includes 1 MatataBot, 1 Command tower, 1 Control board, 16 Motion blocks, 1 Game map and much more. If all goes as planned, shipping to backers is expected for May 2018.

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