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CatnClever: The App that’s Disrupting Preschool Learning Enjoys Expanded Growth by Inspiring Young Minds to Think

The Clever Forever Education AG has plenty to offer the parents of young children when it comes to harnessing technology to make education more engaging for early learners. 

“The CatnClever App is a serious game for preschoolers and the only one covering multiple subjects, such as math, literacy and socio-cultural aspects, as well as physical exercise,” said Clever Forever Education AG co-Founder Olga Ruf-Fiedler. “It is fully interactive and gamified,

with adaptive levels of difficulty enabled through machine learning techniques. There is also a unique caretaker dashboard that allows for the tracking of a child’s learning progress.”

Each lesson, said Olga, is an “amusing story” revolving around Cat, Mouse and Dog, written by experienced writers and teachers and accompanied by music written exclusively for CatnClever. The app is available in German and English for all mobile devices, and currently features 30 lessons with 300 exercises with new lessons being added constantly.

CFE was founded in April 2021 in Switzerland, after having raised the pre-seed funding round of $1 million U.S. Today, CatnClever has more than 115,000 users. 

“We are dedicated to supporting young children’s education,” Olga said. “Our team—engineers, teachers, writers, artists—all have children ourselves and we know about the challenges of bringing up kids in today’s world.” 

The CatnClever app story can be traced back several years, when Olga spent a lot of time with her goddaughter, a toddler.

“I realized that she was constantly asking me for my mobile phone, but then sat totally absorbed and passive in front of it,” Olga recalled. 

This gave Olga and her friends the idea to develop a game for all kinds of mobile devices, where a child could learn while playing and having fun. Above all, Olga wanted children to be challenged and engaged interactively and emotionally. 

“And,” she added, “my goddaughter loves cats. So, the app started with a cat.”

Olga said the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic confirmed the need for a new type of app. Parents around the world were growing concerned as their children, home from school with a lot of downtime on their hands, became consumed with vapid, pointless games. The kids might not have known it, but they were craving serious games that offered legitimate learning challenges. 

Speaking of the CatnClever team, Olga said, “We love taking on challenges—and we bring together pedagogical, technological and aesthetic knowledge. All these levels need to go hand-in-hand to provide the best and effective way to support the child. Our goal is to make early learning fun, give preschool kids a head start at school and help them develop their potential as learners. We do this by giving them early exposure to key foundational concepts in a playful way.”

The success of this educational game-based  app is rooted in the strong foundation of pedagogy, technology and entrepreneurship that informs the every move of the company’s founders. 

Olga, who serves as CEO of the Clever Forever Education AG, holds a PhD in mathematics from Humboldt University Berlin. She has an enduring track record of starting and building new businesses. As CEO for two separate companies, she developed firms from scratch for established multinationals in the financial services industry.  

Clever Forever Education AG Co-Founder and CTO Sebastian Hähnel worked for many years at IBM Silicon Valley Labs and in the Swiss financial industry. His areas of expertise are software engineering and architecture; and he takes special pride in hiring and mentoring talented engineers.

The Clever Forever Education´s mission is driven by the following realities: 

  • There are many educational apps for schools and higher education, but notably less for preschoolers. 
  • Recent studies show that 75 percent of apps for preschoolers are of a very low educational quality.
  • There is a clear need for educational tools to promote the personal potential of each child or evaluate their learning progress; and to allow their parents to take a break, without feeling guilty, when their kids enjoy screen time with digital devices.
  • There is an urgent need to nudge children away from spending passive screen time with digital devices but provide them with meaningful and engaging activities. 

The commitment of the Clever Forever Education AG team emerged as the crisis in Ukraine unfolded. As refugees arrived in Europe, the team devised a way to offer the CatnClever app to Ukrainian families free of charge, so kids without access to daycare, in the midst of a war, could continue to learn and have fun.

A year after the crisis in Ukraine began, 6 percent of CatnClever users are Ukrainian. AI text-to-speech software allows the app to be used in Ukrainian and Russian on Androids; and users can switch to German or English anytime. 

A strong foundation in technology and education has positioned Clever Forever Education AG as an industry leader—and its future looks bright thanks to the team’s ambitious aspirations for the coming year, which include:

  • The launch of freemium and subscription models.
  • 200,000 active new users projected for 2023. 
  • A referral system, promotion codes and B2B license system for the CatnClever App.
  • A more complex caretaker dashboard and the addition of a teacher dashboard.
  • Continuous production of new lessons .
  • Expanded content for more age groups, with more subjects that include arts and sciences; and game mechanics and learning mechanics within the exercises that are fun and innovative. 
  • The addition of a learning assessment tool and adaptive learning. 
  • A web browser version to enable more users. 
  • The app is backed by evidence-based research.

“As with the children who use the CatnClever app,” said Olga, “our company’s potential is limitless.”

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