Tulsa-Based Edtech Startup Raises $1.35M, Reaches Over 450,000 Students

February 15, 2023
Latest round funded by Lightship Capital, Atento Capital, Cortado Ventures, Pharrell’s Black Ambition, and Google’s Black Founders Fund, among others

Tulsa, OK -- October 5, 2021 -- As schools across the country navigate in-person and remote learning models, a Tulsa-based math gaming platform continues to grow, raising another round of more than $1M and delivering its edtech solution to more than 450,000 students.

Boddle Learning’s married co-founders, Edna Martinson and Clarence Tan, immigrated from Ghana and Singapore respectively and relocated their business from Kansas City to Tulsa while participating in the Tulsa Remote program. Their gaming platform has landed in 27,000 classrooms across all 50 states and raised more than $2M since its inception in 2018.

The startup’s pre-seed raise of $1.35M was fueled by heartland-based VCs and initiatives aimed at catalyzing investment in minority-owned businesses. The round was led by Tulsa’s Atento Capital and included Lightship Capital, Cortado Ventures, ScoutFund, KC Rise Fund, Next Wave Impact, Pharrell’s Black Ambition, and Google’s Black Founders Fund.

“It’s never been more important to help students learn, both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Edna Martinson, co-founder of Boddle Learning. “This latest round of support will help Boddle connect with more teachers and students, accelerate the development of both gameplay and classroom features, and expand access— especially in under-served communities.”

Boddle’s gamified education platform uses 3D games and adaptive learning technology to offer personalized math experiences for K-6 students. The games are designed similar to games kids play outside the classroom and allows students to customize their own characters, play bonus games, and earn rewards while going through learning content. In addition, the platform uses AI to evaluate students’ comprehension, adapting content to make it  appropriate for each student’s skill level.

“Covid-19 has turned the world of education upside down, rapidly accelerating digital tools as teachers and students straddle in-person and remote learning models,” said Michael Basch, managing partner at Atento Capital. “Boddle’s husband-and-wife team brings an unstoppable equation to this landscape. With a video game background and creative marketing prowess, they have developed a unique gamified learning tool that’s already helping students, and one that Atento is thrilled to back.”

Boddle integrates with popular classroom tools like Google Classroom and Clever to make onboarding and rostering easier, and includes a portal that provides valuable feedback to teachers— such as a Learning Gaps Report that identifies skills that need extra instruction. The support from Google comes at a critical time as Boddle looks to integrate more with Google tools that help facilitate learning.

“Edna is a passionate founder working on the important issue of making education accessible and fun for kids. The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund is proud to support Boddle Learning’s mission, to help kids grow their love for learning by connecting teachers to engaging and transformative educational experiences,” added Jewel Burks Solomon, Head of Google for Startups U.S.

In an analysis by non-profit LEANLAB Education, 7 out of 9 teachers reported that Boddle was a helpful tool when students were at home because it made it  easy to assign tasks and gave students an easy way to practice. A recent McKinsey report looking at the effects of the pandemic on education cited Math as one of the subjects students struggled with the most due to interrupted learning.

“We are proud to support Boddle Learning in delivering its technology solution to  classrooms around the country,” said Brian Brackeen, General Partner of Lightship Capital. “Lightship Capital is committed to supporting founders of color, women and others who have been underfunded by traditional venture capital. We were moved by Edna and Clarence’s mission and look forward to their continued success.”

Boddle Learning is based in Tulsa’s state-certified entrepreneurial incubator, 36 Degrees North. Among several awards and recognition over the last year, Martinson was recently named to Forbes’ The Next 1000 list.

“Boddle Learning’s powerful technology is coming on the heels of two difficult years for educators and students,” said Nathaniel Harding, Managing Partner at Cortado Ventures. “Education technology solutions like Boddle Learning can make a significant positive impact on the growth and development of impressionable minds.”

About Boddle Learning

Boddle is an impact-focused gaming company on a mission to create interactive experiences that inspire learning both inside and outside the classroom. By integrating classroom technology and education into real 3D games, Boddle makes online learning fun and personalized for students while saving teachers a ton of time on homework, practice, and assessments.

Learn more about Boddle’s gamified education platform at BoddleLearning.com.

About Lightship Capital

Lightship Capital invests in the unexpected. By seeking dedicated entrepreneurs who innovate in US regions leveraging modest resources to produce outsized returns, Lightship finds and develops remarkable talent while catalyzing emerging ecosystems.

About Atento Capital

Atento Capital is an investment firm that’s driving opportunity in Tulsa through returns, quality job creation, and being helpful. By democratizing access to venture capital and creating pathways to upward mobility for traditionally underinvested groups of people, Atento has helped dozens of companies and entrepreneurs grow and thrive in the Tulsa tech ecosystem.

About Cortado Ventures

Cortado Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm investing in ambitious, growth-driven companies to define a new generation of economic prosperity for Oklahoma and the immediate region.

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