WOMG is a video game where children develop coding and computational thinking skills while accomplishing missions in a world of adventures.

Millions of children learning coding anytime and anywhere, not limited by the lack of resources in schools in emerging countries.

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Eligibility

  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Lourdes Amayo

Initiative's representative date of birth

April 9, 1986

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Mexico

Where are you making a difference?

Starting in Latin America, then Africa and globally with a special focus in emerging countries.

Website or social media url(s)

https://www.mywomg.com/

When was your organisation founded?

11/2019

Focus areas

  • Helping people adapt to technologies of the future

Project Stage

  • Pilot (have done first proof of concept)
  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $100k - $250k

Organisation Type

  • For-profit
  • Hybrid

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

Manuel taught himself coding at 12 years old, since then, it has been his best resource for academic and work projects. It has even influenced his teaching of Social Science as he makes his students use logical thinking to analyze socio-cultural topics. Motivated by helping children develop logical thinking through coding, Manuel asked Manu to ideate a tool for this. As a graphic designer, illustrator, animator, and science fiction writer, Manu is an expert in creating powerful ways to communicate ideas. Manu thought this tool should be as attractive, engaging, and fun for children as playing games is. Both realized that playing is also the way children learn. Manu then envisioned a video game where you code robots to accomplish missions.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

60% of future jobs will require tech skills including Computational Thinking and Coding. 30% of the global workforce will come from Latin America and Africa. However, about 82% of children there are not developing these skills. Most schools don’t have a curriculum on tech skills, developing one is slow and expensive. Most youth from emerging countries will not be prepared for the jobs of the future, their opportunities to thrive will be limited.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

A solution for children to learn coding anytime and anywhere, not limited by the lack of resources in schools. Capable of reaching millions of children very fast. Attractive and engaging for all children, even those who ignore the need to learn coding. WOMG is an adventure video game with an original story and characters, where the player accomplishes missions by using a combination of gameplay, coding, and computational thinking skills. An exploration game, in constant expansion of scenarios and missions, where children learn through experimentation, collaboration, and competition while having fun. WOMG’s learning methodology is embedded in the gaming experience allowing self-directed learning. Its synchronized multi-platform supports mobile and computer devices in online and offline settings. WOMG Home will be launched at an affordable price for middle-class families in emerging countries. WOMG Schools, which includes a tutoring module to assign missions and track the students’ progress, will be launched in private schools in Latin America. These two for-profit channels will support free access to WOMG by children from low-income public schools in emerging countries.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Our innovation is creating a real video game that integrates coding in the gameplay. There is no other educational tool that offers the high-quality gaming experience that WOMG offers, and there is no other real video game that uses coding as one of its gaming mechanics. WOMG is both a video game designed to satisfy the highest standards of gamers and an effective educational tool to learn coding. As a real video game, WOMG is attractive to all children, especially those who ignore the need to learn coding and just want to play. It is accessible beyond the classroom, getting to those who don’t have access to this learning at school. It is a solution for parents looking for video games that are engaging and beneficial for their children

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

Children, 10 years old and older, will apply computational thinking and coding to play. These skills are taught progressively by the main characters of the game as required. A lab, separated from the gameplay, is available to learn more and practice. Players are rewarded for gaming and learning accomplishments. Children are motivated to learn this knowledge because it is required to succeed in the game. In addition, missions expose the player to real-world knowledge on science, culture, and environment; and the game has female characters designed to challenge the sub-representation of women in tech. An immediate impact is to increase children's aptitude for science and technology. In the long term, we expect to inspire and empower them to opt for tech careers and to work early on in tech-related projects. This aptitude, skills, and experience will prepare them for the future of jobs.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

Computational thinking is a set of problem-solving principles used to create solutions that computers can implement: abstraction, decomposition, pattern recognition, and algorithms design. Algorithms are executed through Coding. Players will learn to code in Javascript, a programming language extensively applied in real tech solutions. The effectiveness of learning is measured by the accomplishment of the game’s missions whose difficulty is related to the level of programming and computational thinking applied. Furthermore, we will study the long term impact of WOMG in children’s careers.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Online courses to learn coding that are most used by adults, programmable toys that are too expensive for most families and schools in emerging countries, online gamified courses (not real video games) that are only used in schools as a trained teacher is required, and online platforms to build mini-games that attract users who intentionally want to learn coding. WOMG is a video game attractive to all children, even those who ignore the need to learn coding, that allows self-directed learning and can be used outside the school. WOMG is affordable for families and schools in emerging countries.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

We did a pilot with a school in Mexico where our first prototype was tested by 64 children from 10 to 12 years old in their computer class during one month. Teachers, parents, and children loved the concept. The feedback from the pilot was used to adjust our gaming and learning mechanisms and build the next version of our prototype which is currently being tested by 10 children and 2 teachers, our alfa testers. We are in an iterative process of testing and adjusting the product while building the MVP (minimum viable product), our first commercial version of the game. In addition, our idea has gathered interest and support from the tech and social impact startup landscape in Silicon Valley: WOMG won Berkeley Haas School of Business’ Trione Venture Fund and Haas Social Fund grants for $10k, and was finalist on the Berkeley's Big Ideas and the Global Social Venture competitions.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

1st goal: Launch the MVP this year. We need $100k. We have raised $30k from Angel Investors and are close to raising $10k more. We will launch a CrowdFunding campaign in June to raise $30k - $50k. We expect to get $10k - $20k from this Changemakers challenge. 2nd goal: Get initial traction. We need $100k. We will launch the MVP in Aug 2020 in 2 schools in Mexico that are already interested. From the CrowdFunding, we expect to get at least 300 paying direct users. We will raise $100k from Angels and grants by June 2021 to get 10 schools and at least 2,500 direct users by the end of the year. 3rd goal: With proven traction, we will run our Seed Capital Funding round to raise $1MM by the end of 2021 to expand the game and support growth.

10. Team

Lourdes: co-founder, Berkeley MBA, part-time: Fundraising and Business Strategy. Manuel: co-founder, Software Developer, full time: Tech development and Educational content. Manu: co-founder, Graphic designer, Illustrator, Animator, SciFi writer, full time: Video Game Design. Full time employees: 1 Video Game Developer, 1 Music Engineer and Composer. Contractors: 2 Spanish and English voice actors, 1 Accountant, 1 Legal Advisor. New hires for 2020, full time: 1 Game Developer, 1 Designer.

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Nationality
  • Ethnic group
  • Gender
  • Status as a migrant

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

I come from a middle-class family in Peru. I'm an immigrant in the US, Latina, Women looking to raise venture capital from the US. My co-founders also come from middle-class families in Latin America. The US Venture Capital industry is dominated by American white men. There is a similarity bias that will make it challenging for us to meet our goals. For this reason, we are working to get the proof of market we need so our idea can showcase its value and we can convince investors with results.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

11. Bring it to life: Please walk us through a concrete example of how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address

Valeria, 12 years old from a middle-class family in Mexico, is learning basic computing at school. All she knows about computers is they are tools to do homework. One day Valeria starts to follow Mika on social networks, an ingenious and funny cartoon. Among other things, Mika talks about her missions to save the world. Intrigued, Valeria accepts Mika’s challenge to join her on a mission in WOMG. She starts to play and loves it! so she asks her parents to get the paid version. They do it without a doubt when they learn the game is educational, is used in schools, and is very affordable! Valeria soon becomes an expert in the game's missions and coding challenges, and an influencer in the game’s forums. One day, her parents get a letter from WOMG congratulating Valeria for winning a scholarship for a computer science course in a prestigious tech school. A new world of opportunities begins.

12. Skills Matching: HSBC Employees will have the opportunity to offer skilled-volunteering. If matched, which of the following skills would you be most interested in receiving?

  • Monitoring Impact
  • Legal Services
  • Board Development
  • Marketing Strategy, Design
  • Brand Development
  • Multimedia

13. Financial Sustainability – funding breakdown: please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating an estimated percentage that comes from each source.

Grants: $10k (22%) received in 2019. 

Angel Investors Funding: $35k (78%) received in 2020.

14. Financial Sustainability – please tell us more about how you plan to fund and scale your project over the next 12 months.

Our 2020 budget is $102k to launch the MVP (minimum viable product): 79% product development, 14% marketing, and 7% legal and accounting. We have raised $35k from Angel Investors. We will launch a CrowdFunding campaign in June to raise $35k more. We expect to get $10k to $20k from this Changemakers Challenge. We will raise the remaining from a new Angel Investors round in Aug 2020. Having launched the MVP in 2021, we expect an initial $51k of revenue: 40% from School and 60% from Home. The School version price is $2.5 per user/month paid by the school under an annual contract. The Home version is free up to Level 2, then it offers family plans with an average price of $2 per user/month, cancel anytime, or a $35 one time payment. To reach at least 1 million users and 350 schools and generate $12MM of revenue in 2024, we need $1MM. We will raise these funds in a Capital Seed Round in 2021

15. Growth Strategy: What are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

(1) Children's top of mind videogame: main characters as influencers in social media. YouTubers, gamers as ambassadors. (2) Get educational credentials to win parents' trust: Schools to adopt WOMG early on. Partner with educational institutions to offer continuing education in technology. (3) Launch in Spanish and English to be available globally, but focus growth in emerging countries, starting in Latin America, then Africa. (4) Build a profitable self-sustainable business to realize our mission completely. Have other sources of profits with entertainment products using WOMG's original world.

16. Activating changemakers: How are you giving people the power to control their own destiny and support other people to become changemakers in their communities?

An online platform, separated from the game, will have coding challenges that will refer to real-world problems. Players will use Computational Thinking to solve them and to create something real such as an app. Users will collaborate in forums and get prestige points as others value their contributions. These points will be used to apply for scholarships in educational institutions. 

These skills and opportunities will empower users to become changemakers of their future. As they share their progress, they inspire others to follow. This can multiply the creation of changemakers globally. 

17. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?

In 2019, we won two grants from Berkeley Haas School of Business: the Trione Venture Fund for $5k and the Haas Social Fund for another $5k. 

The same year we were finalists in the Berkeley Big Ideas Competition and the Global Social Venture Competition.

18. Tell us about how collaborations and partnerships would enhance the scalability and impact of your project

Partnering with prestigious educational institutions to offer benefits for continuing education in technology will help us provide access to life-changing opportunities.

Partnering with organizations on the mission to develop tech skills such as Lego, Samsung for Kids, or Code.Org to distribute WOMG will expand our market and impact.

Partnering with tech companies and the government will help us realize our goal of offering free access to low-income communities in emerging countries.

Finally - Your Selfie Elevator Pitch: Share a 1-minute video that shares a quick summary of the problem you would like to solve, how you’ve chosen to solve it, and the impact you hope to see.

Evaluation results

2 evaluations so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation:

Yes, absolutely! - 100%

Yes/maybe - 0%

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No - 0%

2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

Yes, absolutely! - 100%

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No - 0%

3. Does this entry have SOCIAL IMPACT?

Yes, absolutely! - 100%

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4. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 50%

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No - 0%

5. Is this entry ACTIVATING CHANGEMAKING?

Yes, absolutely! - 100%

Yes/maybe - 0%

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No - 0%

6. FEEDBACK: Highlights

IMPACT POTENTIAL: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) – and you have a concrete plan for future impact. You have specific tools for measuring impact. - 0%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful solutions - 100%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work operationally and financially in the present and future; your plan is specific and you value sustainability. - 50%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You have a good plan on how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 0%

Other option - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: Areas for Improvement

IMPACT POTENTIAL: make sure to provide specific instances of your social impact (or how you plan to measure impact) – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, the main activities/products, and provide evidence of (or plan for) impact evaluation - 100%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: make sure to describe how your solution is unique and innovative – it is helpful to include the research you have done on past solutions and how your solution is different from (and/or builds upon) these. - 0%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 100%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: make sure you describe your plan for how to empower others to become changemakers through your programming, service, or product - 100%

WRITING STYLE. Try to be concise, descriptive, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

Other option - 0%

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