Pok Pok, a Toronto-based edtech company, has announced that it raised $3 million in seed funding to expand its play-based learning experiences for kids. The company was founded in 2019 after it spun out of Snowman, the small studio behind award-winning iOS games Alto’s Adventure, Alto’s Odyssey, Skate City and others.
The idea for Pok Pok surfaced after Snowman employees Mathijs Demaeght and Esther Huybreghts, now vice-president of design and chief creative officer at Pok Pok, respectively, went looking for an app to entertain their young son when he was a toddler. The pair were unable to find an option that fit what they were looking for and decided to build the app they wanted for themselves.
Pok Pok CEO and co-founder Melissa Cash, the sister of Snowman co-founder and creative director Ryan Cash and whose background was in developing products at Disney for babies and toddlers, joined the team when she saw what Demaeght and Huybreghts were working on.
Today, Pok Pok is officially separated from Snowman, and its team consists of 10 full-time employees after recent hiring. The startup launched its Pok Pok Playroom app, which is the first title to go live from Pok Pok, in May 2021. The app encourages kids to learn through independent play and launched with six “digital toys” that grow with the child as they age up. The company says that all of the toys are designed to be open-ended, as there’s no right or wrong way to use them. Huybreghts and Cash emphasized that Pok Pok Playroom is not a game, as there aren’t any levels to beat or objectives to achieve.
Pok Pok’s seed round was led by Konvoy with participation from Initial Capital and angel investors. Existing investors include Tiny, as well as angel investors Jon Levy, the co-founder of Mastermind Toys and Dax Dasilva, the founder and executive chair of Montreal-based tech company Lightspeed, among others. The startup’s seed funding follows its $925,000 pre-seed in February 2021.