By Nancy Dahlberg
BabySparks announced Friday that it has closed a $2 million seed round led by Ocean Azul Partners. BabySparks is a Plantation-based startup that created a personalized activity platform that supports a child’s early development through meaningful play.
Because it takes a village to raise a child — parents, grandparents, teachers, nanny, siblings, etc – founder Gustavo Rodriguez wanted to build an app that they all could easily use to support that child. Using a proprietary smart adaptive technology, BabySparks' platform learns each child's development profile, identifies specific needs, and then provides parents and caregivers with a customized program -- typically 8 to 10 activities a day -- to support those needs. Its app, available on iOS and Android and available in multiple languages, has been already been downloaded more than 3.5 million times across 180 countries.
"With the support of our seed investors, we're accelerating the development of our product, adding content for new age ranges, and expanding our team. Parents love what we do, and we are very grateful for the 4.6 rating we've received in the app store from over 21,000 of our users. We are committed to helping every child reach his or her full potential," said Rodriguez, CEO, in a statement.
The seed round was led by Ocean Azul Partners and was also joined by Miami Angels, Kairos, Marstar Investments (Steven and Brian Finn), Lou Kreisberg, and Steve Goodman.
"It is simply amazing to see what Gustavo and his team have been able to accomplish to date. We love how helpful their platform is to parents and caregivers, and love to hear the praise they get from users worldwide," said Salomon Sredni, Partner at Ocean Azul Partners.
"We invested because we saw organic growth which signified to us they had built a product that answered a need in the market. And most importantly, we identified Gustavo and his team as scrappy, innovative, and hard working,” said Miami Angels Managing Director Rebecca Danta.
For the Miami Angels, the investment adds to the angel network's growing ed-tech portfolio that also includes Nearpod, Caribu and ClassWallet. Danta points out that the investment is a good example of the ecosystem working together.
"We met Gustavo at the Florida Venture Forum and were incredibly impressed by him and how far he'd gotten without any outside investment. We introduced him to Ocean Azul, who we work closely with, and they led the round," Danta said. BabySparks was also part of 500 Startups Miami’s inaugural Growth Cohort.
Ocean Azul's Sredni has joined BabySparks' board; Monica Simo Black, an ed-tech specialist and investor, joined the board as an observer.
BabySparks is now a team of 20, not all full-time, said Rodriguez, who co-founded the company with CTO Juan Pablo Mejia. Kimberly Corson, a former professor of developmental and educational psychology, recently relocated from Texas to join the team. She is BabySparks' Head of Content Generation.
BabySparks was recently honored as one of the most promising EdTech startups by the Global EdTech Startup Awards and named one of 50 Companies Changing the World as part of the Kairos 50.
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