Encantos Plans for a More Diverse Future in EdTech
By Sam Blake
When Noramay Cadena opened the bilingual children’s books she had been gifted after she gave birth to her son last year, she was quickly taken back to her own childhood in Mexico. The book featured a Spanish-language lullaby, “The Pin Pon Song”, about a cute cardboard doll, which Cadena described as both extremely silly and culturally significant.
“That’s when I knew this was content that was by the community, for the community,” she said. “As a user, I was really blown away by how they combined entertainment with education.” She also thought the quality of the books were far higher than what she’d expect from what was then an early-stage startup based in L.A.
That would be Encantos, a publishing firm-turned-content house set on becoming the next big thing in edtech.
In addition to being a mother, Cadena is also an investor. In 2015, she co-founded L.A.-based MiLA Capital, a seed-stage firm “that invests in tech you can touch.” Smitten by the Encantos product, she was disappointed that the company didn’t align with her fund’s focus on tangible products. But earlier this month, after Encantos decided to extend its seed round, another fund Cadena helps lead, Portfolia – was able to get in on the action through its Raising America Fund, which is devoted to people of color and LGBTQ founders, along with companies that serve those populations.
Encantos, which raised over $2 million in February to expand its brands and product mix, recently launched its subscription app, which chief executive Steven Wolfe Pereira told dot.LA will lead the company’s shift toward a “direct-to-learner” platform. Encantos extended that seed round to take advantage of the increased demand for edtech that’s combined with kids and family entertainment, Pereira said. He added that the company is at 120% of its fundraising goal and still waiting for a few investors to confirm their check size before the round closes in September.
“We believe we’re building the most important, impactful and beloved entertainment edtech company on the planet,” he added.
Cadena is bullish as well. “I see this brand becoming a billion-dollar business,” she said.
Encantos’ leaders and investors point to three factors they think will help it get there.