Providing quality and intensive education for children from the poor and backward community can increase their chances of ending the poverty cycle. In this age of digitalisation, computational thinking and digital literacy are highly sought-after skills. Cristian Bello understood the importance of imparting digital skills to underprivileged kids, to prepare them for the future. He, therefore, started a social enterprise called Bomberbot in 2014 with a mission to bring digital skills to girls and boys around the globe
Aims to help digital skills
Based out of Amsterdam, Bomberbot brings digital skills to children in the Netherlands through a range of both school programs and after school activities. It enables teachers to teach programming at primary/middle schools as children practice the concepts by playing games and solving puzzles. Notably, the Dutch startup provides teachers – with nor prior programming experience – with all the tools to be able to teach programming in middle/elementary schools.
Coderise acquired Bomberbot
Recently, Coderise, an online platform that teaches coding to young students in developing countries, announced the acquisition of Bomberbot for an undisclosed amount. In an exclusive conversation with Silicon Canals, Cristian Bello, founder, Bomberbot, says, “It’s a large step for Bomberbot as it will help us expand to the American market. Andres Barreto (Coderise’s founder) is an experienced entrepreneur with a large network in the US and believes his skills and network will be valuable for the next steps of the company.” Barreto is also the managing director of Techstars Boulder Accelerator, as well as one of Bomberbot’s earliest investors.
With this acquisition, both Bomberbot and Coderise will offer a new program in the USA that aims to teach middle school students digital skills through an extracurricular computer science and media literacy program. Talking about operations, Bello clarifies, “Bomberbot will continue to work independently but with the support and experience of Coderise. Both teams will be working together to successfully achieve the expansion of the American market.”
Focus on school programs and after school activities
Founded in 2014 in the Netherlands by Bello, Bomberbot will continue to focus on teaching digital skills to children in the Netherlands through an extensive range of both school programs and after school activities. “Bomberbot will definitely continue having a focus on the Netherlands. This is the market where we started, and that has brought great results to Bomberbot. One of our goals is to continue making an impact in the Netherlands as we expand to the US,” he adds.
Transparency is the key
At the moment of the sale, Bello claims that Bomberbot had 10 FTEs and about 20 freelancers. Acquisitions can be quite a stressful affair for employees, due to the uncertainty involved. Talking about the steps he took to allay the fear and anxiety of his team, Bello states, “As soon as an acquisition process begins it does create quite some stress on people. We took two key steps to help this process be less stressful. Firstly, we were transparent with the team about the whole process. We’d be informing them about the process, the negotiations, and what the sale would mean for them.”
“Secondly, one of our requirements to Coderise was that they would keep the whole team employed. Bomberbot achieved great results due to a high-quality and passionate team and it was very important for us that they would continue with Bomberbot after the sale,” he adds.
Programs should be both fun and educational
According to the company, in the Netherlands, more than 175.000 kids have already learned digital skills with Bomberbot.
Talking about his future plans, Bello tells us,” Nothing in mind yet. Bomberbot was an amazing experience and I’m very proud of the impact we made. I’ll remain an advisor to Bomberbot but first, I’m going to take some time to reflect and then, perhaps start a new venture again.”
Coderise was founded in Florida in 2012 by Andres Barreto to solve a problem he observed while being a Colombian immigrant entrepreneur in the USA – the lack of access to digital education.
Coderise offers programming bootcamps for teenagers in Latin America. It later expanded to offer alternative college education for adults by joining forces with Holberton School from Silicon Valley. It is now expanding its presence to the USA and Europe with the acquisition of Studio Krok BV, the founding company of Bomberbot.
“Bomberbot and Coderise share the belief that digital skills and basic programming knowledge are crucial in today’s digitised society. Together we can expand our reach and impact to teach coming generations the digital skills they require to become successful citizens,” says Barreto.
Main image credits: Bomberbot