Lightneer, the Finnish learning game studio founded by Rovio alums, has just announced $5 million in seed funding. The company which is leading the charge in fun learning (not an oxymoron!), pairs the fun and engagement level of video games with the work of some of the world’s top scientists from CERN, Helsinki, and Oxford Universities.
The company’s games are based on the idea that learning can be fun, and while that sounds like something your second grade teacher would say while pressing you into memorizing the state capitols, the folks at Lightneer have the chops. Founded by Rovio’s lead game designer, Lauri Konttori, its chief marketing officer, Peter Vesterbacka, and Lauri Järvilehto, who has a PhD in theoretical philosophy and worked as the “Fun Learning Expert” for Rovio Ltd., the company is planning on making kids like learning without even knowing they’re doing it. The secret lies in their invisible-learning platform: The game is so much fun that kids don’t even care if they happen to, say, absorb the basics of particle physics while playing.
Their debut game, Big Bang Legends, turns all of the 118 elements on the Periodic Table into collectible creatures and teaches kids key concepts from physics and chemistry, all under the guise of a super-fun game using a particle collider to blast antimatter monsters, collect quarks that are needed to form protons and neutrons, and build atoms of different elements. Fun but smart fun—so parents won’t feel guilty about letting their kids play for hours while mom and dad write their Game of Thrones fan fiction.
The seed funding round was led by Chicago- and San Francisco-based GSV Acceleration, and was also helped by Helsinki-based IPR VC, Brighteye VC from Paris, and Edtech investment firm Reach Capital from Silicon Valley. The funds will help the company bring Big Bang Legends to the world.