Codeverse scores $10M seed round to expand nationally next year

If you want to teach a billion kids to code, you’re going to need some funding.

Children’s coding school Codeverse announced on Thursday that it has raised a $10 million seed round. The company operates studios where children ages six to 13 learn KidScript, a language the startup developed to teach the fundamentals of coding.

“The goal was to start in Chicago and then expand to around 40 studios across the country,” said co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Katy Lynch. “This round is going straight into our expansion plans, starting with Naperville and Wilmette. In 2019 we’ll be looking to launch in an additional market.”

“A big part of this round is the expansion of the brick and mortar, but also to invest in KidScript.”

Lynch, the former CEO of Techweek, and her husband, Belly co-founder Craig Ulliott, opened Codeverse’s first brick-and-mortar location in 2017 in Lincoln Park. Lynch said expanding to Wilmette and Naperville “just makes sense” given the demand for Codeverse — both new locations currently have wait lists — and the support the company has received from the communities.

“Prior to launching our studio in Lincoln Park, we spent some time in the North Shore and west suburbs demoing KidScript at schools,” said Lynch. “The chambers of commerce, city officials and schools there have been very supportive of our mission since day one.”

At the company’s studios, children build mobile games and applications that give them control over everything from the facility’s lights to its 3D printers and drones. Powering all this play is KidScript, which is designed to teach children the core concepts of popular coding languages like JavaScript, Ruby and Python.

In addition to growing its physical footprint, Lynch said the company’s seed round will be used to accelerate the development of its kid-friendly coding language.

“A big part of this round is the expansion of the brick and mortar, but also to invest in KidScript,” said Lynch. “Right now, KidScript is only available to students at our studios, but in the future it will be available as a standalone service.”

To support its growth the buildout of KidScript, Codeverse will do some serious hiring. The company will make over 100 new hires in the next 12 months, the majority of which will be studio managers, assistants and instructors. The hiring spree will drastically increase its headcount, which currently sits at 34 full-time employees.

Codeverse also made several leadership hires over the past few months, including a director of programming, VP of North America and VP of product.

“The new talent we’ve brought on, including leaders from the STEAM and education space, is a testament to our commitment to our students, providing the best on-site support to enable their education,” said Lynch in a statement.