BOSTON – MathTalk, an organization dedicated to increasing math literacy and preparing children to succeed in mathematics, announced today that it has raised $1.9 million in first-round seed funding from leading social impact investors committed to supporting entrepreneurs and businesses that are creating sustainable change in communities.
Imaginable Futures led the initial round along with the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact, Community Impact Ventures, and Boston Impact Initiative. The Local Enterprise Assistance Fund served as financial advisor to MathTalk and provided instrumental support in closing the round. The funding will enhance MathTalk’s ability to grow its MathTrail footprint throughout Massachusetts and nationally, accelerate digital growth, and grow installation and product development teams.
“We led the round for MathTalk because we’ve seen how their community-driven work sparks new ways of interacting with and understanding the world around us through math,” said Ashley Beckner, Venture Partner at Imaginable Futures. “Playful, informal learning experiences that deepen our connections to each other and the world around us are needed now more than ever.”
National tests show the coronavirus pandemic had a devastating impact on the learning and academic performance of young children, especially children in communities that face greater barriers to equitable education. According to new data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, math test scores for 4th-and-8th grade students nationwide are at their lowest in over a decade, and reveals even starker gaps among Black and Latino students, low-income students, and English learners.
This milestone investment will provide greater access to math for young children and their families through MathTalk’s inventive work, particularly those living in economically distressed communities.
“We do this to inspire children and families, everywhere, to find the fun in math and have more math conversations, together,” said MathTalk CEO Omo Moses. “We do this work because we want to build a world in which all children believe that math is for everyone. We do this because research shows that early math learning is part of a critical foundation for success in school and in life.”
“MathTalk embodies the mission of providing young children with equitable opportunities to learn and thrive, all while preserving the fun and enjoyment that comes with learning. We have been fortunate to be part of the MathTalk journey,” said Amine Benali, Managing Director at the Local Enterprise Assistance Fund.
Research shows that when parents and young children take time to explore, enjoy, and talk about math together, it sets the stage for positive early math experiences and helps young children view themselves as capable math learners. But in reality, talking about math isn’t something that comes easily to everyone: 93 percent of adults in the U.S. report having at least some level of anxiety about math. With MathTalk’s community-based installations, parents can ensure that their child’s earliest math learning experiences are positive.
The investment marks the company’s second significant milestone in recent weeks, after the successful launch of MathTalk’s Bob Moses MathTrail in Cambridge. The one-mile trail, which is full of activities and games that teach mathematical concepts interactively, is located in The Port neighborhood of Cambridge and runs through several Cambridge parks. It honors Bob Moses, the noted civil rights activist, educational pioneer, and founder of the Algebra Project, a nonprofit dedicated to helping students from historically marginalized communities develop mathematical skills.
MathTalk is a team of parents, teachers, researchers, organizers, children’s media producers, designers, artists, game developers, entrepreneurs, and kids, that turn stories, public art, and augmented reality experiences into products and activities that make adults and the children in their lives smile while learning math. Visit www.math-talk.com.