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Edutainment Brand Mrs Wordsmith Raises $11M in Funding for U.S. and China Expansion

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Mrs
Wordsmith
, whose illustrated and animated word products are
transforming the multi-billion dollar education industry, has raised $11
million in a Series A funding round to support expansion in the U.S. and
China markets. Funding was led by Trustbridge Partners and includes
returning investors Reach Capital and Kindred Venture Capital.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181017005534/en/

Mrs Wordsmith Announces $11 million Series A funding round (Graphic: Business Wire)

Mrs Wordsmith Announces $11 million Series A funding round (Graphic: Business Wire)

Since launch, Mrs Wordsmith has experienced triple-digit growth
year-over-year and shipped more than 200,000 units. The company
officially launched its U.S. store in June 2018, which now accounts for
85 percent of its revenue.

"The world of content is upside down. U.S. families collectively spend
$30 billion on gaming content, $20 billion on home entertainment, $10
billion on cinema, but only $6 billion on education products -- and
schools spend only $3 billion," said Mrs Wordsmith Founder and CEO,
Sofia Fenichell. "We are going to invert this. When parents and
educators engage with Mrs Wordsmith, they can feel confident that what
they are buying is backed by the latest research and data, focused on
the best vocabulary, and wrapped in hilarious illustrations to engage
children. It's the hallmark of what we do."

The company has raised a total of $14.5 million to date in a Seed
Round and the current Series A. Historically, proceeds from the Seed
Round were invested in building its team of story artists under
Hollywood Art Director Craig Kellman to produce an inventory of
thousands of illustrated words. The company has also invested over 5,000
hours, with three machine learning specialists led by Rob Koeling from Benevolent
AI
, and supported by Professor Ted Briscoe of Cambridge University
and Swiftkey, to build a word curation engine.

"Mrs Wordsmith is reinvigorating a tired content sector with world class
creative and machine learning. There are 214 million Chinese and 16
million American
early-years children who can look forward to
learning with more relevant and engaging content," said investor David
Lin, Trustbridge Partners.

The company's formula of hilarious illustrations and smarter materials
is working. A recent National Literacy Trust study of 122 children in 6
schools found that there was a 50 percent improvement in children's word
learning (study available here).
And the SSIF, a strategic government school improvement fund, has
recently awarded the Cambridgeshire local authority a grant of £47,000
(approximately $61,000 USD) to provide Mrs Wordsmith materials and
training to 88 classrooms.

Susan Neuman, Professor of Childhood and Literacy Education at NYU and
former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education
says, "Every child in America should have a Mrs Wordsmith product
because they teach the most important words. Feedback from our focus
groups in New York around child engagement was very positive. Teachers
even said the kids were so excited, it was hard to keep the class under
control! That's Hollywood style literacy for you."

This round of funding will allow the company to expand its product
narrative and add a new animated vocabulary game and video to its suite
of products in early 2019. More immediately, the company is launching
its first stand-alone product line starting with the world's largest
animated dictionary, The
Illustrated Storyteller's Dictionary
. The first of its kind, the
dictionary was edited by machine and human linguists and has almost 600
pages of 1,500 Hollywood-style hilarious illustrations.

Driving the company's growth and international expansion, Mrs Wordsmith
has attracted expert talent in linguistics, technology, education and
Hollywood from Google, University of Cambridge and AI healthcare company
Benevolent AI; most recently adding Will Csaklos as Head of Development.
Csaklos will help propel Mrs Wordsmith story and product development as
he did as Senior Creative Executive and Story Consultant to Pixar
Animation Studios.

For more information about Mrs Wordsmith and its products, visit www.mrswordsmith.com.

About Mrs Wordsmith

Launched in 2016 from her kitchen table and now distributed globally,
Sofia Fenichell designed Mrs Wordsmith to transform the way young people
retain and use the vocabulary that drives literacy and academic success.
Hilariously illustrated by the award-winning artists behind Madagascar,
to make it more engaging to learn challenging vocabulary. The company
works closely with literacy experts in the U.K. and U.S., and its
in-house machine learning team.

About
Trustbridge Partners

Trustbridge Partners is a leading growth equity investor with offices in
Shanghai, Hong Kong and Boston, focusing on high-quality growth
opportunities in China. Trustbridge focuses on consumer and healthcare
sectors investing in educational and publishing brands including
Everafter Books, Holiday House and Mrs Wordsmith.

About
Kindred Venture Capital

Kindred Capital is an £80m seed and early stage venture capital
investor, focusing on European technology companies. Based in London,
Kindred invests in entrepreneurs building globally ambitious businesses.
Kindred's portfolio includes Kalo, Paddle, Five.ai, LabGenius and Verve.
Kindred's unique Equitable Venture model of sharing carry with the
founders they invest in, has led to 55 founders co-owning carry in the
fund.

About
Reach Capital

Reach Capital is a venture fund that supports the most promising
entrepreneurs developing technology solutions for challenges in early
childhood, K-12, higher education and lifelong learning.

Additional Quotes

Great movies combine relatable characters and storytelling, but there's
a subtle difference in education. Craig Kellman, the Emmy Award winning
artist behind Madagascar, and Mrs Wordsmith's Art Director said, "Most
education brands struggle to inspire children because their characters
are perfect and flat. There is no sense of a character progressing and
growing. We are different. We purposefully build imperfect characters
who are relatable and can teach children by taking them on a meaningful
journey."

"We have a formula that is repeatable and scalable," said Mrs Wordsmith
Founder and CEO, Sofia Fenichell. "Relatable characters that learn with
you, data-driven curation and great story-telling. We're here to raise
the bar on literacy, bring words into homes around the world in a
hilarious and engaging way, that helps children to realize their
potential."

"It's easy to illustrate the word banana," says CEO Sofia Fenichell.
"But try illustrating the more challenging words that children need to
succeed academically and to express themselves such as ‘ambitious' or
‘brazen'. We have created a powerful data engine that not only inspires
our artists, but also reduce research time and increases time spent on
being creative and creating engaging materials. We also use data to
identify gender bias or understand cultural nuances."

While creativity and engagement are important, Mrs Wordsmith has
partnered with the lead academic advisor and U.S. Childhood Education
and Literacy Development expert at the Steinhardt School of Culture,
Education, and Development at NYU, Professor Susan Neuman to ensure the
content is classroom-ready. Neuman shares, "Only 9 percent of education
apps use characters to teach children and yet, research shows that
children create bonds with characters, which can have strong educational
and psychological benefits. Mrs Wordsmith has found a way to take
learning to the next level by identifying through data the most
important works kids need to know and magnifying it with Hollywood-style
animations."

"Adding Will Csaklos to our team will propel Mrs Wordsmith to even
greater heights. I think Peter Docter, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar,
best articulates why we chose Will above all others, ‘Csaklos pushed,
coaxed, and cajoled us towards a stronger, simpler version of our story.
His concepts of structure and character helped us immeasurably in
crafting and re-crafting our film.' We know Will can do the same for Mrs
Wordsmith," said CEO Sofia Fenichell.

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