Norwegian gaming company Kahoot! is launching a new program designed to position the company as a sort of YouTube for education games, allowing their millions of users to create their own games and popularize them through the Disney-backed platform.
CEO and co-founder Åsmund Furuseth told TechCrunch today that Disney decided to increase their share of the company -- bumping their valuation up to an all-time high of $376 million -- right as the company laid the groundwork for their latest initiative: Kahoot Ignite.
Kahoot! Is home to more than 60 million games and has now reached a monthly total of 100 million users worldwide, prompting them to double down on their platform and provide more support for game developers outside of the company.
"Our vision is to build the world's leading learning community by connecting teachers, students, parents and organizations," they wrote in their blog post on the new Ignite accelerator program.
"We're assembling a diverse family of apps for iOS, Android and Windows to join us on this journey. Create value for all learners across all geographies and champion our brand mission to make learning awesome!"
Furuseth said the company had about $30 million to invest in other companies and were "in a financial market where we can get more capital." The company has been successful at monetizing an array of educational games used by schools and corporations alike, and they hope to parlay that success into helping other game developers expand their platform and popularize their games.
Kahoot! was originally created in 2006 as a simple education game known as Lecture Quiz, but expanded to a platform holding many different kinds of games in 2013. They say they are a "game-based learning platform that makes it easy to create, share and play fun learning games or trivia quizzes in minutes."
"Kahoot! is used in a multitude of settings - in K-12 and university classrooms, corporate offices, social settings, and major sporting and cultural events. Kahoot! is embraced by teachers, loved by students and valued by organizations and in 2018, Kahoot! had over 1 billion participating players in more than 200 countries," they wrote.
"Kahoot! is on a mission to make learning awesome and build the leading learning community in the world."
Microsoft and Spotify-backer Northzone have also contributed funding to the company in addition to Disney, which has allowed them to create engineering games based on Star Wars and others based around properties owned by the entertainment giant.
In their company presentation on Monday, Kahoot! told investors that more than 4 million teachers used Kahoot! games during lessons and 50 percent of U.S. K-12 teachers use Kahoot! during a school year. Over 700 million students and 20 million members of companies or organizations used Kahoot! For a variety of educational purposes.
The company creates games themselves but mostly hosts games created by their users, which serves as the reasoning behind their name. They allow teachers and businesses to create games for their own students, giving creators autonomy and tools to build the best mechanism they can use to educate their students. Most of their money comes from businesses, which have private paying accounts that they use to educate new employees on a variety of topics. Many of the educational games used for schools are free to use for anyone, and students in almost 200 countries have accessed the platform in some way.
"Learning is the main topic. We like to have the mix," Furuseth told TechCrunch's Ingrid Lunden. "Putting something on Kahoot could be an outcome, but we're also interested in 'network products,' which have the same desire to enable learning."
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- Educational gaming company Kahoot! Is hoping to become a YouTube or Netflix for games, providing a platform for developers to create their own products that serve their audience.
- The Norwegian company is backed by both Microsoft and Disney and has created a number of games based around Star Wars.
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