Home / Technology / CodeCombat raises $6 million to teach coding through immersive games

CodeCombat raises $6 million to teach coding through immersive games

CodeCombat, a platform that helps people learn to code through playing games, has raised $6 million in a series A round of funding led by Hone Capital, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Extol Capital, and OceanOne Capital.

Founded in 2013, the San Francisco-based Y Combinator alum said that it has helped some 12 million students get into coding, with a particular focus on JavaScript and Python.

Through CodeCombat, Students type real code in their browser to enable actions in digital characters on a screen. While it’s free to play for some of the core levels, there is an additional $10 monthly subscription that unlocks extra layers to levels among other perks.

Alongside its funding news today, CodeCombat also unveiled a new game aimed at both teachers and students. Ozaria, as it’s called, immerses students in an interactive world which they must save from doom through “mastering computational thinking,” according to a statement issued by the company, which involves learning Python or JavaScript.

“Other code engines are either designed for professional software engineers or use simplified programming languages,” noted CodeCombat senior software engineer Shubhangi Gupta. “We’ve developed the only beginner-focused code engine that runs real Python and JavaScript in the browser, letting kids with no coding experience start typing real code right away.”

Teachers, who actually do not require any previous computer science experience, can access data on students’ progress which includes assessments, alongside complementary resources such implementation guides, lesson plans, and more.

“Reaching underserved students with engaging computer science education has been both a tough challenge and a big focus area for U.S. educators over the last few years,” added CodeCombat cofounder and CEO Nick Winter. “We’ve been fortunate to be able to build the insights from serving over twelve million CodeCombat learners into Ozaria, which represents a huge step forward in game-based learning inside the classroom.”

Prior to now, CodeCombat had raised around $2 million in funding, with seed backers including Y Combinator and Andreesen Horowitz, and with another $6 million in funding, it said that it plans to fund its Ozaria push, expand further across the U.S., and develop partnerships in China.

Using interactive, game-based learning to teach the fundamentals of coding is not unique to CodeCombat, with well-funded startups such as Kano creating the software tools and hardware such as DIY computer kits and even magic wands to help draw in young learners. At its core, it’s all about helping to plug the much-maligned tech skills gap using an attention-grabbing medium — in an age dominated by countless other digital distractions (including other games).

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