Startup in the spotlight: Luqo
The foundations of a good education are already laid at primary school. This is where Luqo comes in. Back in 2014, Rogier Kauw-A-Tjoe already realised that while digitisation offered opportunities in the education sector, the physical world and social aspects were receiving less and less attention. 'Games work well in the education sector, as they make learning more fun and more accessible. What we are seeing now, however, is children totally immersed in their iPads, isolated from the rest of the world. And that's a shame, because if they work together, they can learn much more effectively and have more fun.'
Around the table for maths, language, geography and Design Thinking
From the heart of Utrecht, Kauw-A-Tjoe joined forces with Brian Diephuis to develop an educational game platform on which children can learn in an active and cooperative way. Kauw-A-Tjoe explains: 'Four children stand around a table and play educational games lasting around 10 minutes per topic. The table (or game console) consists of a large screen, four buttons at the edges and a camera arm. This allows us to offer maths, language and geography games.' In addition to these games, 21st‑century skills are also targeted and there is a Design Thinking tool kit.
Cooperation is crucial for good results
There is still room for improvement in Utrecht's start-up climate, according to Kauw-A-Tjoe. As things stand, however, it already offers many advantages for EdTech companies such as Luqo. It's close to HKU University of the Arts and the Dutch Game Garden, for example. There is also a lot of cooperation in other areas. 'We don't think up the content of the games entirely on our own. We are industrial designers and don't have an educational background. All the same, we obviously wish to create games that are educationally responsible. That's why we work closely with various education specialists and conduct a lot of tests in schools. It's great to see that the children really learn from each other and have a lot of fun. They enjoy learning more and are more motivated. They get to explore things together. We give them tools and put them in control of their own learning process. This is exactly what we had in mind. What I like most of all is when teachers start explaining to me why Luqo is so good for their lessons.' The fact that they have a quality product is also evident from the company's various nominations and awards. Last year, for example, they won a Cinekid Golden Guppy.
Growth and investors
The team currently consists of the two founders, who work for Luqo full-time. In addition, they employ two part-timers for funding and game design. A number of freelancers and trainees contribute to the development of the games. 'We currently have 23 games, but before the summer we wish to expand this to 100 games.' You can be sure that these games won't stay on the shelf. Kauw-A-Tjoe: 'We are attracting more and more customers. At the moment, 17 Luqos are used in the Netherlands every day. We are currently only active in primary education, but we aim to expand into secondary and vocational education.This is a logical next step for us. A slightly different design will go a long way towards achieving this ambition.'
The company also has international ambitions and opportunities: 'The platform is very visual, which makes it language-independent. This means that it can be used in other countries without too much work being required. The first international sale has already taken place and Luqo is now also being used in London. Over the next five years, we would also like to become active in such areas as Scandinavia, France and Belgium. We're not sure how things will go with the UK, in view of Brexit. That remains to be seen. International growth is very important to us because it provides the scale we need for hardware sales.' To be able to scale up, Luqo is actively engaged in attracting investors.