Jason Liu, the CEO of KidStarter (correct, not Kickstarter), brought on Joyce Yeung of Storied Up to develop the story for his Indiegogo campaign. Yeung comes from a successful corporate background, where at age 30 she had nearly flown one million miles around the globe. All of this business travel plus having a baby drove her to abandon the corporate track for the entrepreneurial consultancy, which is now in its sixth month.
Liu heads the team of contractors at KidStarter, which has experienced incremental success in its Dallas, Texas home base. Operating in the wake of the Maker Movement (see the documentary which will be aired in Dallas theaters), KidStarter seeks to reinvigorate youth when it comes to STEM topic education.
KidStarter began with enthusiasts who came together to create instructor-led classes for young kids focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)—part of the Maker Movement. Ten months into 2014, it became apparent that the demand for such courses greatly exceeded the supply. Not only was class size rivaling first-year university courses, but KidStarter was receiving invitations from foreign cities like L.A. (sorry, Texas joke, everything outside Texas is foreign).
On the eve of such growth, KidStarter has come to Indiegogo to leverage the crowd for an idea that would ramp up its offerings for Dallas and other cities, namely Los Angeles and Boston. Their goal is to raise $20,000 of which 20% will go towards an online marketplace for “Makers”. Another 40% will allow them to hire more teachers, and the balance is earmarked for creating an application.
What is this online marketplace? It is a place where makers can put forth their projects, forming a treasure trove of content, from which to build curriculums for the KidStarter courses. Kids naturally gravitate to creative expression and hands-on learning, so KidStarter marries these two concepts together.
For those not in proximity to attend an instructor-led class, the marketplace serves as its extension. People from around the world will be able to interact with the makers and their projects. While the exact interaction between parties is still TBD, the potential for this venture is amassing.
When I spoke with the campaign’s manager, Joyce Yeung, she expressed that the immediate goal for the KidStarter team is to expand into the above-mentioned cites. This will triple their geographical reach and will take a few years to accomplish.
I asked her what was driving the demand for hands-on STEM focused learning. To my surprise, it wasn't the parents—at least not as strong as the kids’ own prerogatives. Yeung commented, “The kids are driving the demand for these classes. When it comes to going to soccer practice on Saturday or attending robotics class, they choose robotics”.
The market is evident for KidStarter, and Liu knows this. The current hurdle that he and the team faces is getting the word out on his campaign. The expansion cannot go on without the needed $20,000 crowdfunding goal, and as they have elected fixed funding, it is all or nothing.
Please support KidStarter on Indiegogo. Also, I would love to hear your thoughts on this POP in the comments below.
KidStarter’s Indiegogo Campaign Page