Holy Owly, the edtech that teaches English to young children

The service has 15,000 daily paying users. Holy Owl

The application has just been recognized by Apple as one of the most promising of the year.

Each year, the report of the National Council for the Evaluation of the School System (Cnesco) deplores the low level in modern languages ​​of French schoolchildren. The start-up Holy Owly offers to help children aged 3 to 12 in their learning through play. The application has just been recognized as one of the 5 most promising of the year 2022 by Apple. The nugget of sisters Stéphanie Bourgeois and Julie Boucon is the only French start-up to be rewarded.

The principle is simple, each day, a 5-minute lesson is offered to the user. He must retain 3 words or phrases around a weekly theme adapted to age and level. “This system allows children to take advantage of their good cerebral plasticity and to have facilities afterwards. With our system, an 8-year-old child can learn to make his own sentences in 3 months“, explains co-founder Julie Boucon. Their learning method has been studied since 2015. It was developed by their “language center», a team made up of researchers, teachers and children.

The key to the application’s success lies in gamification, learning while playing. When they complete a lesson children are rewarded with points. These points serve as virtual currency, they allow you to buy clothes to dress up your avatar. Plus, to encourage attendance, kids must care for a Tamagotchi, a small virtual creature that needs regular attention. This playful recipe allowed them to amass 15,000 daily paying users. Subscriptions cost between 4.99 and 15.99 euros. Of course, you have to agree to entrust a tablet or a smartphone to rather young children. Even for a short time, this also implies a little supervision on the part of the parents.

Expansion in Europe

Recognition by Apple as “app of the yearis accompanied by a spotlight. Holy Owly and the four other award-winning services will be featured on the App Store. A highlight that will allow them to reach new audiences in 32 European countries. “This visibility will allow us to determine the most promising markets for our expansion.», Analyzes the co-founder. The application already allows learning in English from 12 languages, but the vast majority of users are French.

Another track of diversification, to allow to learn more languages ​​than English. Spanish and Mandarin will be added later this year. The Frenchman will arrive in early 2023, hoping to hit the Canadian market.

To finance its development, Holy Owly is preparing a fundraiser of approximately 5 million euros. It should be completed before the summer holidays. A nice revenge for the co-founders who struggled to find their first investors, hampered by sexism. During their first attempts, the two entrepreneurs were refused by a pool of investors because “[leurs] husbands had not yet invested“.

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