Entrepreneurship is a journey, and is often shared with other people. Having a good team and partners is one the crucial elements to build your business. In fact, some VCs consider the business idea secondary to the team itself.
Codomo was founded by 5 pioneer graduates from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), which has been established in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – one of the world leaders in engineering and design. They are Fendy Lieanata whose major is Engineering System and Design (ESD), Seah Tat Leong from Engineering Product Development (EPD), Aditya Batura and Toh Yong Cheng from Information System Technology and Design (ISTD), Lim Jia Xuan from Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD).
It all started in freshman year of college, when they got put together into a team based on their personalities. SUTD has an algorithm to assign teams based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test results. Their first project was chosen by the Singapore Science Centre to be put on display for 3 months. Having really enjoy working with one another they decided to come together to work on an entrepreneurship capstone (final-year) project. The purpose of the entrepreneurship capstone project was to, of course, to encourage entrepreneurship in SUTD, offering students a seed fund to potentially form startups as a spin-off of their final year projects. Their group worked on a parent-child wearable device that was designed to enhance bonding, communication, and give parents a peace of mind by knowing where their children are.
Codomo is an SUTD-born education technology company with a vision to cultivate every child’s love for learning by offering learners an environment that fosters the confidence and mindset for them to pursue their passion and attain holistic growth – in both academic and non-academic aspects.
To achieve this vision our business model is a trifecta of:
After conducting a multitude of interviews with parents and children for their capstone project, they realised that kids are often overwhelmed by school work from a tender age – just like they were, except worse! No one really gets to enjoy their childhood anymore. Once a child hits 13, you’ve essentially lost them. The torrent of tuition classes and other enrichment classes that kids are crushed by simply eliminate any inclination that they may have to learn anything.
Having gone through the Singapore education system, which places so much emphasis on textbook knowledge and solving problems that have already been solved; Codomo wants to prepare kids for life, not for standardised tests. They believe that the next generation of children needs to equip themselves with 21st century skills to tackle problems that are more pressing in the world we live in now. It takes more than just a great academic qualification to solve the problems we face today and more importantly, the problems that arise in the future.
Codomo launched Potato Pirates – their first product, on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter in September 2017. The campaign was wildly successful, bringing in over a quarter million dollars in revenue and over 5,000 orders for the game. Till date, Potato Pirates is the highest funded gaming Kickstarter project to come out of Singapore ever! This tabletop card game promises “10 hours of programming in 30 minutes, no screens attached.”
Through this parents get to pick up fundamental comptational thinking skills while doing a fun family activity. Codomo also offers their customers e-guidebooks which act as bridging courses for their customers to use what they have learnt in Potato Pirates and translate it into writing actual programming.
As a team, Codomo has always had a tendency to challenge the way education was ‘mass produced’ and made into a one size fits all type of experience. Knowing that not everyone can fit the mould they were placed into, it became jarringly obvious to them that there stood an opportunity for them to make a change. Growing up, conformity was always the means to an end in the classroom. Now, that conformity is what’s shrivelling our talent pool and binding many of us to ‘think safe’ and be socially accepted. Codomo was created to shatter/disrupt that ideology. Conformity breeds uniformity which results in stagnation. That is the death of progress, growth, individualism and creative thinking.
Education for most people becomes a bad memory, something that you never wish to revisit. Codomo is trying to be the change they want to see the change in the world. Instead of just complaining about it, they’re trying to lead the change.