Stones2Milestones acquires kids content powerhouse MultiStory Learning
Delhi: On the heels of closing a bridge round of $2.5m, Stones2Milestones is excited to announce that it has acquired MultiStory Learning, the boutique kids’ content company from Chennai. With this, the publishing IP of Multistory, The Book Lovers’ Program for Schools and Ms Moochie Books, is now part of fREADom – The English OS. With this acquisition, Founder Amrutash Misra and his team are joining S2M. The consideration for the acquisition was not announced.
Co-founded in 2011 by IIT alumnus Amrutash Misra, Multistory entered the children’s reading space with The Book Lovers’ Program for Schools – a product that helps schools get their children to love to read. Amrutash picked the problem from his own experience in the workplace where he felt that his colleagues were not reading. “Most adults don’t read, even if they can,” exclaimed Amrutash. “Forget books, they don’t read the newspaper. Some of them can’t read a product manual. And have trouble with long emails. They’re losing out personally, and we’re losing GDP. It’s exasperating.”
Book Lovers’ Program supplements school libraries with curated content and created content. The program was used in over 200 schools and 200,000 children (KG to class 6). Storytellers associated with the company visited schools for teacher workshops and classroom storytelling.
In parallel, Amrutash took from his earlier experience at Unilever and established a unique new process to produce kids’ books where manuscripts are first “consumer tested” in schools and feedback is collected in an interactive process involving the author and real children. The resulting books were published under the imprint Ms Moochie. This process-driven approach reflects in the book’s ratings and reviews. For e.g. The Dog Who Taught Me Math, about a girl whose new friendship with a lovable dog helps her with her anxiety issues with math, is rated 5 stars on Amazon; and Ramya’s Snack Box, about the nostalgic tradition of snack-time and lunch-time sharing in school, is among Amazon’s recommended books for children.
In addition to the 70 books produced by Ms Moochie, the Multistory team also ghost produced over 100 books for other publishers. In 2019, Multistory launched the LiLBI kindergarten program – a new age KG program that focuses on reading as the core element.
Founded in 2009, in another part of the country – Gurgaon, Stones2Milestones (S2M) decided to set on a mission to create a nation of readers. Nikhil Saraf, co-founder S2M believes, “Kid’s literature in the digital world is just taking off and with this acquisition, we are in a prime position to create a unique digital first experience in the children’s literature space mixing AR & pedagogy based on data from what children love.”
From 2009 through 2015, the company researched why children are lacking in reading and developed a pedagogic system to solve the problem. In 2016, S2M focused on EdTech product development. It launched fREADom – “The Ultimate English Learning Platform.”
With its unique curation philosophy and language pedagogy, fREADom provides a multimodal learning experience that allows children to pick up critical language skills early so that they claim the freedom to learn on their own, to chart their own destiny. Specifically, the fREADOM app offers books, news, and activities; and fREADom Live offers online English classes with trained facilitators.
More than an acquisition, the merger is a meeting of teams that believe in the same cause and have complimentary skills. Amrutash and his team bring a decade of experience in kids’ content management and education product building experience. They also bring in deep relationships with their client schools and also the Indian kids creator community.
As a tactical benefit, the fREADom app now has a mix of Multistory’s professionally generated content (PGC) in addition to curated PGC and UGC. This multi-ownership content strategy is similar to global content apps like Epic, and even Netflix. Additionally, Multistory’s physical distribution channel will now be leveraged in such a way that fREADom users will get books in real life in addition to digital content – an industry first.
Kavish Gadia, co-founder and CEO, S2M was visibly excited about the deal. “Amrutash and his team did something fantastic – they worked on the ‘will to read’. They were able to entice children into reading through fabulously designed content over a decade. Our customers will be delighted to have access to this content. We are also looking forward to the magic that they will create in the next few years within fREADom. The possibilities are endless!”
Kavish added that “Stones2Milestones is re-affirming the goal of building a world class full stack English ed product with this acquisition.”
Amrutash added, “We desire that our children should be better at reading than us – more than just reading emails, newspapers and WhatsApp messages, they should be able to read big books and absorb knowledge effortlessly from the textual world around us. As Bill Gates does – it’s said that he reads 5 books a day!”
The fREADom app and the fREADom Live 1:1 and 1:7 English class have seen phenomenal growth in the last few months. Since January 2020, fREADom has grown 15 times in 3 quarters. The Company is at an annualized revenue of $1.5 million, three times what it did last financial year. With 100% month-on-month growth in revenue, the Company is confident of crossing $7.5 million ARR by March-2021.
Recently, it announced the closing of Bridge funding of USD 2.5 Million. The round was led by Unreasonable, and its LP Goldhirsh Foundation.