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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

This Norwegian EdTech startup is growing 150,000 users a week

Editor’s note: at publishing this article incorrectly stated that Kahoot is growing at 100,000 a week. The correct number is updated in the text.

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“If you’re going to get penetration in the EdTech market, you need to get student acceptance. If you get students to love it, teachers will love it,” says Kahoot co-founder Johan Brand. But there’s also a chicken and egg problem – you can’t get the student acceptance unless the teacher lets them embrace the concept. It’s a obvious principle, but how many solutions out there actually get both students and educators excited? Apparently Norway’s Kahoot does.

One year ago, Brand was pitching Kahoot at the SXSW EdTech program, where they were finalists. Just last week, they just went again to SXSW with some meetings booked, but were happy to find themselves being referenced in panel discussions, and called out by educators when walking around in their Kahoot t-shirts.

While in Texas they also had a chance to visit one of the schools backed by the Lance Armstrong foundation, and saw Kahoot, their classroom quiz game being played in one of the classrooms. “We walked in wearing sweaters, and when we took them off to reveal our Kahoot t-shirts, the kids went crazy,” says Brand, who says some of the students took selfies and asked for autographs.

Brand agrees that company t-shirts are kind of lame, but they apparently help people harness a movement. Today Kahoot should hit the milestone of three million players using the platform since launch, and says they are adding 100,000 new players a week. This is huge growth considering most of these signups are happening in classrooms, where 3.5 million questions have been asked, and 35 million questions have been answered.

The way Kahoot works is that anyone can create a quiz using their easy drag-and-drop editor, which supports images, video, and other rich media. Using a projector, the quiz is then held at the front of the classroom where students can join and answer (even without an account) on their own personal device. The quiz is then answered in real time, allowing students to gun for the top of the leaderboard.

With so many devices in the classroom these days, the device/projector quiz is an obvious format that has a number of competitors out there, such as Top Hat Monocle and even Mentimeter from Sweden. But while some of these tools might feel like utilities, Kahoot is gunning straight for student acceptance though perhaps more ‘fun’ branding, and by putting students in control.

The powerful gamificiation hook that differentiates Kahoot is what they call the learners-to-leaders circle. The way it works is this:

  • Once the educator has introduced a topic, they will play their own Kahoot! quiz with their class to assess their understanding
  • The educator then asks their learners to create their own quizzes on specific topics
  • Learners research, build up knowledge and gather relevant content
  • They then create their quizzes based on this content
  • And are then empowered to become leaders as they play their quiz back to classmates
  • Teachers can assess their understanding based on the quality of their content

With Kahoot’s branding setting the context and with so much back-and-forth Kahoot feels less like an actual quiz and more like a game.

Get Kahoot
150,000 new players a week is solid growth in the education space, so what have they done to facilitate this? Kahoot has tapped into the fact that many teachers are active on Twitter, so as teachers sign up and create quizzes Kahoot does a bit of nudging, to encourage users to share that they’re signing up for the platform, or to share the quizzes they’ve made.

Another way they’ve been able to hit these numbers is that the platform is free-to-play. While in the past they’ve sold the product to be in use at corporations like Ikea, they’re reaching out to active users on Twitter to find out what’s working for them, and how they can reduce pain points or monetize the product.

One way they’ll likely monetize is through a marketplace, so if one week you’re teaching cell division and you need to quiz your students on mitochondria, then Kahoot can put a good quiz in your hands. A method to do this is through publishers, so that teachers can buy quizzes from the publisher of the book they’re using, which helps ensure quality and make sure it’s in-line with state exams.

However, for now they’re focused on growth and are looking for strategic partners in the U.S., where they see 60% of their growth, and are eyeing potential investors. According to Brand, they’re looking to grow Kahoot big or, nothing.

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