ClassDojo is on its way to a $125million mission to bring kids to the metaverse

Tencent discreetly valued the 11-year-old ed tech unicorn founded by Under 30 grads Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don at $1.25 billion as part of its virtual push last autumn.

Liam Don, the president of ClassDojo, is piloting a little, cuddly-looking creature around a virtual island on his online browser, hunting for his staff in a brief game of hide-and-seek. The little island and its friendly monsters are reminiscent of previous virtual worlds such as Animal Crossing, Minecraft, and Roblox. But it’s neither the unusual looks or the easy gameplay that have Don so enthralled. This is what this live demo promises: a virtual environment for kids that parents and teachers can rely on.

This is ClassDojo’s future, the tech firm that Don cofounded in 2011 with CEO Sam Chaudhary. The British friends spent the last ten years creating an app that appealed to instructors with tools for lesson planning and feedback as well as parents with features for communicating and getting information on their children’s academic progress. They are currently investing their time, energy, and $125 million in previously unreported investment towards software environments outside of the classroom.

Unlike other offers, ClassDojo’s virtual world is meant to be a closed, safe space in which students may build and hang out after school – all while participating in activities that gradually develop essential soft skills such as creativity, teamwork, and sportsmanship. “We don’t want to turn it into an edutainment thing where we do math games with robots. That’s been done a million times,” says Don. “We want to expand the creative toolset that kids have.”

ClassDojo is now unveiling its big new act in time for the upcoming school year with the goal of making the company’s virtual space available to at least half of the 51 million kids in active ClassDojo classrooms starting in August. (ClassDojo refuses to say how many of those kids use the app on a monthly basis.)

It’s a lofty objective. If it succeeds, ClassDojo will probably find itself in a competition for virtual and literal real estate in the digital “metaverse” with well-capitalized public corporations like Meta, the parent company of Facebook, and game platform Roblox. Even while ClassDojo has a workforce of only 110 employees and is expanding, it nonetheless has substantial resources of its own. ClassDojo secured a previously undisclosed $125 million Series D fundraising round spearheaded by Tencent in September, secretly valuing the firm at $1.25 billion, according to estimates from Forbes.

And most importantly, ClassDojo thinks it has a real head start. According to the business, 95% of American schools are already using it, and it has had more than five years’ worth of resources to expand its virtual world amid a wave of decreasing tech expenditures. All that is required is for the children to stick around.