Investing and Performance | 17 June 2024

Taking education to the next level – How Brainspark Games are revolutionising learning through play

Reedah El-Saie, the founder of digital educator Brainspark Games, describes her development and investment journey to help ensure no child is left behind.  

There were three threads that came together that led to me founding Brainspark Games. Firstly, as a mother of three children, I was very aware of the stress and anxiety families experience when it comes to homework, revision and exams. Secondly, as a family of diverse heritage, I felt the curriculum lacked inclusivity and a broadness to inspire all children within our education system. Thirdly, and perhaps related to the first two experiences, was the fact that I couldn’t get my sons to stop playing computer games.

If I couId bring education into gaming and vice versa then maybe I could find a solution. After six months of research, I found there was no single platform offering open world, immersive educational games that were aligned with the UK national curriculum. So, I decided to build one myself and Brainspark Games was born.



Brainspark founder Reedah El-Saie


Our mission is to revolutionise the way children learn through play, enhancing the way they acquire and retain knowledge, democratising high quality, immersive education to reach every child in every corner of the world.

There are some really stark facts that show the need for this. Ultimately, our education system is not designed for diverse learners, resulting in 32% of children in the UK not achieving four GCSEs above C grades according to the latest government data. However, 60% of children globally (Statista 2021), and 91% of children in the UK (UKie 2022), play mobile games. Yet in many ways gaming is still seen as the antithesis of education – as purely a distraction and entertainment.



How Brainspark Games help children learn


Like many parents, I had reservations around the lack of meaningful content in games and the level of addiction. But I loved the idea of children doing something they enjoyed which was also teaching them. There is huge potential here as the technology progresses – for example, introducing augmented reality allows visual and kinaesthetic learners to move around while playing, so they’re more likely to remember what they’ve learnt.

The younger generation are already digital natives. Children enjoy gaming because it’s fun, immersive and social. It allows them to connect with friends and family across the world as well as express their creativity and enjoy some escapism. By combining this with learning we knew we could unlock a new knowledge universe. Over the last two years, we’ve undertaken deep research and development, working with world class universities, to co-design our games with children, parents and teachers. Our mandate is to ensure our games have rich, curriculum aligned content and clear learning outcomes combined with fun and playful game mechanics.

So how do our games work?

Our games cover history, science, climate change, English literature, maths, art, languages & culture, tech & coding, sports & wellbeing and so much more. They’re designed to be culturally inclusive and engage neurodiverse as well as neurotypical children. Our games condense 12 weeks of term time learning into a few hours of fun fast gameplay. Children can learn more in less time – giving them time back from the repetition of homework and revision and a chance to explore other pursuits like sports, music, and the natural outdoors, interests which help form rounded individuals.



An example of how Brainspark Games uses augmented reality to complement learning at home.


We’re currently building the UK’s, if not the world’s, first AI-powered, augmented reality games that are aligned with the GCSE curriculum, as well as games for primary aged children. Twinned with this is understanding and accessing the market in the best way so we can make a real difference. That’s why we have ambitious plans to partner with schools, charities, community groups, governments and sponsors to deliver our games across UK, Europe, Middle East, South Asia and Africa, where there is high demand and low product offering.



Brainspark Games support classroom learning within the curriculum


It's important though that our games work as a bridge, not a barrier, to the real world, helping children realise their applied learning. One way we do this is through our holiday camps, which are free for children on free school meals and delivered in areas of deprivation. Children spent five minutes building a bug hotel in our climate game, then the rest of the day building a real-life bug hotel in their garden or local park.

How our partners have helped

Paul Franks and the Coutts Interactive Entertainment team have been instrumental in introducing us to angel investors, schools, charities, local government organisations, media, potential partners, celebrity influencers and so much more. Unlike other banks, they have a unique and personalised approach to client relationships and really worked hard to understand our needs, champion Brainspark Games and actively support us to reach our ambitious globalisation and growth targets.

Coutts’ help in finding the right angel investors has been essential. We had a selective criteria for investors, as we wanted them to be ‘super angels’ – not only offering funding but adding value through industry expertise, wider regional networks, access to follow on funding as well as insights into the startup and growth journey. Our ‘super angels’ consist of men and women who are culturally and neuro diverse. We’ve benefitted from leaders in the games industry and education sectors, exited founders and seasoned investors who have global networks as well as venture capital funds in Europe and the Middle East.

Those partnerships and collaborations have been critical to our development as well as our financial growth. We work closely with our ‘BBB’ or Board of Brilliant Brains, made up of over a hundred children, parents and educators from across the world and representing a diversity of backgrounds. Together we test ideas and enable a user-led design approach to ensure strong product market fit. Our schools’ partnerships allow playtesting with children and educators as well as fostering trusted relationships to iterate and refine our educational games to complement traditional classroom-based learning.



Brainspark Games are able to unite a number of contemporary themes for children when it comes to learning about the impacts of climate change in our world.


The power of a learning curve

There have been challenges along the way, not least as a solo and female founder. However, myself and my team, have built resilience, drive and ambition underpinned by life experiences which have served us well through this journey. There will always be obstacles, so my focus has been on building more traction, outperforming the competition and ensuring our company remains sustainable over the longer term.

We’re continuing to win recognition as well as investment. The seven Innovate UK grants, numerous contracts and the external validation of awards as well as support from Coutts and our ‘super angels’, have all been transformative. We’re rightly ambitious in our scaling as we can see the global potential for digital learning. We’ve raised £1.4m so far but have clear pathway to building value well into nine figures.



Children learning through Brainspark Games


The 15 awards and recognitions we’ve picked up so far are testament to this potential. Notably, we’ve been recognised in the Prime Minister’s Council for Science & Technology Research & Development report case study of high impact educational games on neurodiverse pupils. In 2024 we’ve twice been invited to Royal Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace, for contribution to the creative industries and the Council for Science and Technology.

The growth potential is exciting, crucially because our partners clearly understand our purpose to empower all children to realise their own potential through educational gaming. As with every learning curve, it’s a great journey to be on. 

Reedah El-Saie is the Founder & CEO of Brainspark Games

Main Image – Reedah El-Saie



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