Toca Boca, Leapfrog Executives Join Pre­K Startup Monkimun as EdTech Industry Shakes Up

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Former creative lead and founding team member of Toca Boca, Jens Peter de Pedro, ​and former Editor­in­Chief and VP of Leapfrog, Dr. Suzanne Barchers, have ​joined Monkimun.

​Former creative lead and founding team member of Toca Boca, Jens Peter de Pedro, ​and former Editor­in­Chief and VP of Leapfrog, Dr. Suzanne Barchers, have ​joined Monkimun, a 500­Startups backed company developing language learning apps and tools for early childhood,​as their new VP of Curriculum and Experience Director.

The two executives are joining ​as the company enters its next phase of growth,​ and at a time when a wave of big moves is shaping the future of the industry​. The global market is booming with companies closing 9­figure rounds at billion­dollar valuations and with an unprecedented number of acquisitions. Last year, the sector increased at a 58% in fundingand deal activity rose 13%

De Pedro, Experience Director at Monkimun, notes, “What attracted me to Monkimun was the play­based learning approach. I have not seen any other company with an equally deep commitment to learning through self­direction. Monkimun’s approach of Edufying Games is unique. At Toca Boca play was at the heart of everything and I believe I will be able to contribute greatly to Monkimun’s vision with my expertise in digital play.”

“We are excited to learn from their experience. Suzanne Barchers’ addition on the curriculum side will bolster our content, letting parents and educators rest assured that we are giving their children learning tools of the utmost quality. De Pedro, regarded by many as one of the foremost experts on children’s apps in the industry, will bring his expertise to the goal of engaging kids with a fun, immersive and non­judgmental experience​. With their help, we will bring Monkimun and early childhood education to the next level” says Cristobal Viedma, Monkimun’s CEO.​

In February, Monkimun launched Lingokids,​a comprehensive English course for children ages 2—6, designed with content from Oxford University Press, ​among others. Lingokids is structured in fun, interactive educational games and uses an adaptive learning algorithm that adjusts to the child’s level and improvement​, so children are constantly learning. As Dr. Barchers points out, “Monkimun has a strong focus on building a sound curriculum and education experience ​catered to each and every child,” critical in children’s education.

With more than 230 books published, Dr. Suzanne Barchers has served as editor for teachers’ and
children’s books, as Managing Editor at Weekly Reader​, and as Editor­in­Chief and Vice President at LeapFrog​. She has developed curriculum for programs such as Reading Rainbow​’s School Edition. She currently serves on advisory boards for PBS Kids and YouTube.​

Monkimun has raised $1.5 million in seed funding to date from Dave McClure’s 500 Startups​, Japan’s SHO­zemi Innovation Ventures, and renowned angel investors Carina Szpilka, VP of UNICEF, ​and Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO of SpaceX.​

Monkimun, a San Francisco ­ Madrid based startup founded in 2014, has more than five million installations​. Our mission is to make Language Learning for Kids™ fun. We create a safe environment for children age two to six to learn a new language. Monkimun plans to launch their Spanish and Chinese learning platforms in the coming months. Their apps, including Lingokids, are available in the App Store and Google Play. To stay current with new releases, check out their website:

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Cristobal Viedma
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