Tech Pitch: Kuato Studios

Co-founded by high-profile investor Frank Meehan, Startups finds out more about the educational gaming start-up looking to “inspire the future of learning”

Company name: Kuato Studios
Founders: Sian Priest and Frank Meehan (since retired) – current leadership team: Sian Priest, Mark Horneff, David Miller, Scott Lamb, and Kris Turvey
Background: Leadership team have a background in gaming and education technology.
Based in: Commercial Street in Shoreditch – we felt it was important to be at the centre of London’s start-up and technology scene.

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

Kuato Studios is challenging the perception of educational gaming. Using cutting edge technology we hope to inspire and engage learners by capturing the excitement of learning through video games. We’re pushing a new standard of educational games that combine high production values and pioneering learning methods with our adaptive learning engine. This creates a highly motivating and personalised experience for every user.

Where others reinforce the 19th century model of learning and assessment (content followed by tests), Kuato addresses the needs and styles of every learner by focusing instead on twenty-first-century skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and collaborative learning. The Studio then turns its focus to what it calls Learnification: the application of powerful game mechanics to specific learning skills. And last, we address the subject matter. The primary focus for us, however, is skills and game mechanics.

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

Thanks to the rapid and ever evolving development of technology, we now live in the most transformational era since the industrial revolution. Education however, is not keeping up and we are determined to challenge and address this to inspire the future of learning.

Here at Kuato, we have a unique mix of teachers, developers and visionaries that sets us apart from our competitors. Harnessing this unique skill set, Kuato has been able to create solutions that utilise habitual activity and promote motivation through collaborative learning, creative problem solving, and purposeful play. Entwined within the core game mechanics is an adaptive learning engine that can allow, for example, a teacher to pinpoint the unique position of each and every user’s learning progress. This unique fusion of technologies has allowed Kuato to establish itself as a trusted provider of modern learning solutions.

We are dedicated to changing the face of education to take advantage of the connected world we now live in. It’s important to create learning environments where people can fail without fear but also where they can learn new skills, not just facts. These skills can then be implemented to further enhance the learning experience.

Are you funded?

Yes, we are backed up by Horizon Ventures, a Hong-Kong based investment company focused on telecommunications, media and technology.

What were you doing before starting?

Kuato’s leadership team has a wealth of experience in both education, and game design and development.

Mark Horneff, the managing director, has 20 years’ experience at major games studios including Ideaworks and Sony where he worked on Call of Duty, and Playstation Home.

Sian Priest, the chief operating officer, is the co-founder of Kuato Studios. She has seven years experience in operations and production working at mobile software company INQ Mobile and video production company Guerrilla.

David Miller, director of learning, has 15 years’ experience in education and EdTech. He is also the winner of the `Pearson Award for UK Teacher of the Year 2008 and a National Teaching Fellow of the UK Teaching Awards.

Creative director Kris Turvey has 10 years’ experience in developing and managing a wide range of award-winning creative products for young people, including major games, music and art projects.

Scott Lamb, technical lead, has 15 years’ experience in the games industry, from Playstation to present day. He is credited as the lead programmer for Blitz Games and Spacehopper Studios.

What’s the best thing about where you’re based?

Being based in London has given us access to some of the UK’s best talent from the gaming and education fields.

This mix of skills fosters a culture of innovation and healthy, creative friction between the development and educational sides of the studio, ensuring our games find the perfect balance of learning, without compromising on fun.

London has also been an ideal platform for our developing partnership with Pearson Education as well as launching our 100 Hours of Code initiative to schools across the UK. With learning to code now high on the UK education agenda and its addition to the curriculum coming into effect from September, we want students to discover code through engaging gameplay.


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