Enygma Ventures invests R8.25m in SA online preschool Play Sense


SA startup Play Sense has secured R8.25-million from US venture capital (VC) fund Enygma Ventures to enable it to grow its online in-home pre-school offering.

It’s Enygma Ventures’s first investment in its original cohort of 11 female entrepreneurs selected for its investor-ready programme, which was run earlier this year (see this story).

The R100-million fund, which will invest up R10-million in women led startups from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, was launched in October last year by husband and wife duo Sarah and Jacob Dusek who are the founders of US adventure-hospitality firm Under Canvas.

Enygma Ventures’s R8.25m investment has allowed Play Sense to pivot to an online offering

Dusek said in a statement earlier this week that she is excited about how Play Sense has successfully pivoted its business, taking its unique play-centric curriculum online, adapting its model to serve parents and children during this unprecedented time of schooling from home.

The startup was founded in 2015 by occupational therapists Lara Schoenfeld and Meg Faure. The startup’s first group launched in Cape Town in the February of 2016

While based in Cape Town, the startup has 35 franchisees in Gauteng and the Western Cape, with 28 active groups (some franchisees are on hold due to pregnancy, illness says Faure) with a total of 120 children. International expansion is now also “on the cards”, Faure told Ventureburn in an email yesterday.

She said when SA schools closed three weeks ago, the startup pivoted its offering to offer parents a home school programme.

“This programme is conducted within virtual schools – the teacher remains the point of contact, creating a virtual community — she connects with her little ones daily through the Zoom platform and supports the parents. The actual activities are delivered via a platform called Obami.

Faure said the startup also offers equipment kits needed to conduct the programme and added that the delivery of these is currently being explored within the context of lockdown.

“We are marketing through social media predominantly. In addition, for marketing purposes, I do weekly parenting talks to 100 parents on Zoom,” she said, adding that these are currently sold out until the end of this month.

Read more: Enygma Ventures announces names of first 11 women entrepreneurs it will fund
Read more: US duo launch R100m VC fund to invest in women-led startups in Southern Africa

Featured image: CEO and co-founder of Play Sense Meg Faure (Supplied)



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