Ed tech company Encantos, which helps children learn through digital and physical play, has closed a $3.2 million seed round led by Precursor Ventures, with participation from Angeles Ventures, Concrete Rose Capital, Metrodora Ventures, Next Play Ventures, Portfolia’s Rising America Fund, and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.

Among additional investors are New American Funding president Patty Arvielo and former Zillow co-founder and chief executive Spencer Rascoff, as well as early investors including Human Ventures, Kapor Capital, and MathCapital.

The funding followed an earlier note financing of $2.5 million, which included existing and new investors such as NBA All-Star and serial entrepreneur Baron Davis, private equity executive and Morales Capital chief executive Angel Morales, and international business executive and new Encantos chairman Sol Trujillo.

The new round of financing brings the company’s total funding to $8.5 million and will help Encantos accelerate its subscription services that delivers digital and physical learning products for pre-school and primary school-age children.

Precursor Ventures partner Charles Hudson has joined the Encantos board of directors in connection with the financing.

Culver City, California-headquartered Encantos has also appointed two key executives. Julie Fleischer becomes the company’s chief growth officer to lead all of Encantos’ commercial and marketing teams overseeing revenue, customer acquisition, retention and loyalty, and marketing.

Fleischer has more than 20 years’ experience across customer acquisition, retention, insights, media and marketing. She was previously senior vice-president customer intelligence for WW (formerly Weight Watchers), where she led business intelligence, customer experience excellence, and marketing. Before that, Fleischer held executive roles at Neustar, Omnicom Group, Kraft Heinz, and Digitas.

Encantos has also appointed Taylor Margis-Noguera as chief operating officer to lead all of the company’s strategy, operations, finance, and legal functions.

Margis-Noguera is a seasoned start-up founder and executive with more than 20 years’ experience leading cross-functional teams to drive scale. He has co-founded several companies and was most recently the managing partner at growth strategy consultancy Vaudeville Ventures. Margis-Noguera previously held leadership roles at LBi and Special Ops Media, after an early career in finance at Citigroup and JP Morgan.

Steven Wolfe Pereira, Encantos chief executive, said: “There’s never been a greater need for teaching kids 21st century skills. While Covid-19 has only accelerated education’s digital transformation, it is clear that kids can’t just be in front of a screen for hours at a time. At Encantos, we believe kids learn best through play.

“With over 50% of kids in America now diverse, there is incredible demand for both cultural authenticity as well as our unique story-teaching approach using both digital and physical products. Story-teaching marries the best of entertainment and the most advanced concepts in educational pedagogy, to excite and engage children in the learning process.

“With the addition of new capital combined with world-class talent with deep experience in acquiring customers and scaling operations, we are prepared for our next stage of growth.”

Charles Hudson, founder and managing partner of Precursor Ventures, added: “There are few companies out there tackling the hard-to-solve education challenges in the innovative way that Encantos is. Encantos has done an amazing job creating direct-to-consumer brands combining digital and physical products that help give kids and parents the support they need to enrich and supplement learning.

“If this moment has taught us anything, it is that our educational system is not meeting the needs of the next generation of children. We need strong, innovative companies like Encantos to ensure learning takes place beyond the classroom and children develop the 21st century skills needed to reach their full potential.

“I’m excited to join the board and work closely with Steven, Susie and the Encantos team to usher in a new era of entertainment-led ed tech for today’s kids and families.”

Date published: 20 November 2020

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