Singapore-based EdTech startup Doyobi announced Thursday it has closed a $2.8 million pre-series A round led by Monk’s Hill Ventures, to upskill teachers And bring STEM to schools in Asia and the Middle East.

Other investors that participated in the round are Tresmonos Capital, Novus Paradigm Capital, and XA Network; and prominent angels such as Quek Siu Rui (CEO of Carousell), Oswald Yeo and Seah Ying Cong (Co-founders of Glints), and Reuben Lai (Head of Grab Financial Group).

The funding will be used to launch new cohort-based courses aimed at upskilling teachers, and to develop more resources to help teachers effectively deliver STEM and 21st-century skills including creative and critical thinking in the classroom, said Doyobi in a statement.

Doyobi will also use the funding to grow Teachers As Humans, an online community for teachers to find peer support and opportunities for professional development.

“There is a massive gap between what is being taught in schools and what children need to learn in order to be prepared for jobs of the future. Curiosity, imagination, and empathy are just as important as literacy and numeracy skills. We believe teachers are integral to transforming the classroom experience. Doyobi is focused on empowering teachers with the resources and skills to deliver STEM and 21st-century skills in the classroom,” said John Tan, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Doyobi.

The group’s current partners include Leap Surabaya and Codercademy and private schools like HighScope Indonesia, Mutiara Harapan Islamic School, and Stella Gracia School. A growing number of schools in Africa are adopting the Doyobi curriculum as well.

“Our future leaders need to be equipped with the tools to be innovative problem solvers and forward thinkers. Doyobi empowers schools to develop in students the computational thinking skills needed to solve tomorrow’s problems, and they do this with the best interest of the kids at heart, which aligns with our values,” said Ilsa Nurina, Chief Human Resources and Academic Development Officer of HighScope Indonesia.

Doyobi also plans to launch a fellowship for school leaders focused on STEM and 21st-century skills. The goal of the STEM School Leader Fellowship is to help school leaders such as principals and department heads learn how to effectively implement STEM practices in school and develop in students the skill sets and mindsets to succeed in the 21st century. The STEM School Leader Fellowship is co-designed by Doyobi and Allan Shaw, the former principal of The Knox School, one of Melbourne’s leading independent schools.

“The gap between what is taught in schools and what practical skills are still needed for students in the 21st century is becoming very clear to both parents and educators. We believe that Doyobi is the right team to address this massive gap in the education market. John and his team’s approach in combining both STEM and 21st-century skills delivered through their virtual learning environment are what will propel the education system forward,” said Peng T. Ong, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Monk’s Hill Ventures.

The founding team hails from building and scaling companies in Southeast Asia including Ninja Van, GymKraft, and Saturday Kids. EdTech Asia founder Mike Michalec is an advisor.

Founded in 2020, Doyobi empowers teachers to bring STEM and 21st-century skills to the classroom, and ultimately prepare kids to be inventors, entrepreneurs, and changemakers. It provides professional development, teaching resources, and community-led peer learning opportunities to help teachers nurture changemakers.

Through their platform, Doyobi educators are able to teach STEM and 21C-related classes in a fun and interactive way, with guided courses that integrate videos, quizzes, and projects.

Since launching in August 2020, Doyobi’s Virtual Learning Environment is used by nearly 2,000 teachers in over 10 countries. Indonesia and the Philippines are two of Doyobi’s biggest markets, with a growing number of schools in Africa adopting Doyobi. Doyobi’s curricula are also used in Code in the Community, the largest free coding program in Singapore, supported by Google and the Singapore government. Doyobi is a spin-off from Saturday Kids, Singapore’s first coding school for kids. The Co-founders of Doyobi are John Tan, Prerna Gupta, Greg Ho, and Shawn Leong.

Founded in 2014 by entrepreneurs Peng T. Ong and Kuo-Yi Lim, Monk’s Hill Ventures (MHV) is a venture capital firm investing in early-stage technology startups, primarily series A, in Southeast Asia. Backed by institutional investors and family offices worldwide, MHV works with great entrepreneurs to use technology to improve the lives of millions of people in the region.

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