Alphabet Babies receives six figure investment to launch new literacy programme for early years learning

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Glasgow based start-up Alphabet Babies has received investment from business angel syndicate Equity Gap and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, which it will use to launch a second strand of its successful literacy and language learning programme, this time aimed at parents.

The original product, which has already been successfully taken to market, provides nurseries with learning programmes for 0-2 and 3-5 year olds. Using the investment of £104,000, Alphabet Babies will complete and launch a product for parents of young children wishing to experience fun learning times with their child at home.

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Alphabet Babies was established in 2011 and launched its current product to the nursery market in September 2014. Its online offering provides nursery staff with learning materials to engage children in literacy in a fun way, through songs, drama, puppets and other interactive formats, as well as an interactive portal for children to practise what they have learned.

The product differs from other early years language and literacy programmes because it is much more than just a phonics programme. It encompasses the four essential areas children need to be successful readers in the future: alphabetic awareness, print awareness, oral language, and phonological awareness. The big selling point is that it is written specifically for the early years with age-appropriate activities, unlike other programmes that have been adapted from the primary school curriculum.

The business was co-founded by a teacher of English who also gained valuable experience as a Literacy Development Officer with Education Scotland, and a former head teacher of a primary school and nursery, who later became Head of Early Years Education and Childcare at East Dunbartonshire Council.

Alexis Viswanathan, co-founder of Alphabet Babies, said: “Our online product aimed at nurseries is linked to Curriculum for Excellence for Scotland and the Early Years Foundation Stage for England. With many children around the world following the English curriculum, this gives the product global reach.”

“We are very excited at the prospect of launching our materials aimed at parents later this year. The funding we have received from Equity Gap and the Scottish Investment Bank makes this launch possible and we are pleased to have demonstrated the potential and wide appeal that our products have.”

The idea behind the literacy and communication programmes came about when Alexis had twin boys and invited other new mums to her home to engage their little ones in literacy through multi-sensory activities. Through discussions with parent friends, and a desire to bridge the gap between learning at home and learning that takes place in nurseries, she joined forces with her business partner, Anne Smith, to write learning materials, and over two years developed and refined this based on feedback from both parents and nurseries.

Fraser Lusty of Equity Gap said: “We have been impressed by the co-founders of Alphabet Babies, their experience and drive. The originality of the product they have developed is key to growing their customer base and moving the business forward, and we hope that by bringing funding and a commercial perspective to the business we can assist the team in taking the business to the next level.”

Equity Gap is a business angel syndicate actively investing and co-investing in early stage Scottish based companies.

Alphabet Babies has a strong business pipeline already in place and will use the funding to continue to drive more sales, alongside the launch of the new product later this year.

The company acknowledges the large amount of support it has received since it began from Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Edge Fund and the E-Spark accelerator programme.

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