by Paola Stringa
Marshmallow gamea Bari company founded in 2014 by Cristina Angelillo (Manager), Massimo Michetti (General Manager), Marianna Pappalardi (creative director) e Francesco Capozzi (CTO), which manufactures and distributes worldwide educational apps for kidsconducted a capital raising round from 2 million eurosthe undersigned from CDP Venture Capital Sgracross Fondo Italia Venture II – Fondo Imprese Sud, and the power investment fund Sefea Impact SGR (see press release here).
The operation was followed by the LCA law firms for Marshmallow Games, Hi Lex for CDP and RP Legal & Tax for Sefea Impact.
The capital increase aims to develop the company’s global growth, strengthen its leadership in Italy and make it happen benchmark in preschool entertainment. And it will provide the opportunity to launch a new product, as well as further push the company’s flagship product, ie Smart storiesthe interactive story app that takes kids to preschool age (3-6 years) discover STEM fag (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). With hundreds of thousands of downloads worldwide and available in 5 languages (Italian, Spanish, English, French and German), Smart Tales in the App Store is recommended, has been “Today’s app” in 50 countries and was elected by Unicef Italy as part of charitable initiatives aimed at raising awareness among children about the values of solidarity, gender inclusion, fair play, prevention of bullying and respect for the environment.
Thanks to the raised capital, the new product will then be launched, allowing you to create apps, interactive books, advergames and highly engaging content without the need for technical skills, and respond to a growing demand from publishers, media companies, agencies, professionals and coaches. It’s called ZenCreate and is part of the growing trend of the so-called tool no code which aims to democratize the process of creating and distributing digital applications. A constantly evolving market that will touch $ 187 billion in 2030 and will affect 65% of applications realized within the next 5 years.
The company, today an excellence in the panorama edtech internationally, also thanks to its proprietary technology, it has in recent years launched over 20 apps on the market that have passed 2 million downloads globally – the US and China are the two reference markets – and also reached the top positions in the rankings in the children’s category 150 countries.
With the round just concluded, he rises to 3.5 million the value of capital raised over the years by Marshmallow Games: In particular, the funds gave confidence to the company, as well as investors and entities, i.a. Boost Heroes which involved her in its acceleration program in 2018, and Invitaliaas well as several Italian business angels (see another article by BeBeez),
To execute the program Scale up company, a employment plan which will bring the team at the Bari office from the 19 people currently involved to over 30 in the next 12 months, which will expand all the key business areas, namely development, graphics and animation, marketing and sales.
“This important step rewards the work done in recent years and represents a first step in growing globally, both in terms of the user base and in terms of access to networks of international investors who will be able to support us in future growth phases. More than one destination today is a new departure for the Marshmallow Games. We are proud to be able to do that from Bari“commented Angelillo. “In the last two years, a greater understanding of the impact of technologies on education at all levels and in all age groups has developed. A trend confirmed by the constant growth in investment from international VCs in this area, just think that in 2021 there was investments exceeded $ 20 billion in edtech companies globally, which compared to 7 billion. in 2019 represents an increase of 90% year on year.“
“Marshmallow Games is one of the most promising companies in Italy in the field of educational technologies applied to children, and we are proud to be able to contribute to their development plans.He comments Francesca Ottierhead of Italia Venture II Fund – Fondo Imprese Sud of CDP Venture Capital Sgr, “Digital is an integral part of life for all of us and also for our children, and it is important to take care of the development of products dedicated above all to the preschool range that are able to stimulate curiosity and learning”.
“We’re really excited to start this adventure with the Marshmallow Games”, on his part confirms Chairman of Sefea Impact, Massimo Giusti, “Because we are convinced that its founders have intercepted an important social problem that needs to be answered as soon as possible, namely the misuse of digital technology by the little ones, which, among other things, had a further explosion. We believe it is important for Today’s children, who are naturally inclined to use digital, to develop tools that can promote the healthy and responsible use of digital, also as a means of bringing children closer to science and value issues.Today, it would be anachronistic to keep children away from what characterizes their generation the most, but at the same time it is necessary to provide parents with the tools to guide their children to a digital that learns and not just entertains. “
We remember that Italia Venture II and Sefea Impact had already invested together in an initiative with a positive social impact in 2022. In fact, in February last year, they participated in the round of 2 million euros of Giffoni Innovation Hubincubator for technological projects in the creative and cultural industry and which since its establishment has collaborated with Giffoni Film Festival (see second article of BeBeez).