How Skillmatics Became a Leader in Educational Games Across 20+ Countries
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How Skillmatics Became a Leader in Educational Games Across 20+ Countries

Dhvanil Sheth, Founder & CEO of Skillmatics, started his journey in the corporate world, by working at the prestigious Boston Consulting Group. His role involved working with consumer goods companies and retailers across North America, analyzing how various consumer categories would adapt to an online-first world. This was back in 2015, a time when e-commerce was beginning to reshape retail industries globally.

Two key insights during this period ignited the idea for Skillmatics. First, Sheth noticed that parents shopping for their children were rapidly transitioning to online shopping. They sought more information, reviews, and validation from other parents—something that the offline world couldn't provide. Second, Sheth realized that the barriers to building a global consumer brand were lowering significantly due to advancements in technology. Social media allowed brands to reach consumers worldwide, and e-commerce platforms provided the infrastructure to fulfill global demand.

Combining these insights, Sheth aimed to build a global brand from India, leveraging the country's advantages in production costs, skilled workforce, and proximity to raw materials. Thus, Skillmatics was born under Grasper Global, a name that signified the company's focus on children's products and its ambition to reach a global audience.

"We saw an opportunity to create high-quality, engaging educational products that could help parents keep their children engaged and off screens," says Dhvanil Sheth.

Brand with a Purpose

Skillmatics was designed to address universal parental pain points. Parents worldwide wanted to give their children a head start in formative skills, keep them engaged without resorting to screens, and find games that encouraged independent play. Recognizing these needs, Skillmatics developed products that not only entertained but also educated children, fostering skills such as writing, social communication, and problem-solving.

Skillmatics started with educational games and resources, focusing on creating high-quality, innovative products that were also engaging. One of the company's flagship products, "Guess in 10," became a hit due to its unique blend of education and fun. Another popular product, "Foil Fun," dominated the Amazon U.S. market, becoming the best-selling product in all toys and games categories.

"Our products are highly differentiated and focused around intellectual property, ensuring that they stand out in the market and remain protected," explains Sheth.

How Skillmatics Became a Leader in Educational Games Across 20+ Countries

The Secret Behind the Success

The success of Skillmatics can be attributed to several key factors. Firstly, the products are highly differentiated and unique, often the first of their kind in the market. Secondly, Skillmatics focuses on intellectual property, with trademarks and copyrights protecting their products. This strategy has allowed the company to own its innovations fully and prevent competitors from copying their ideas.

Lastly, the company continuously innovates and adds fresh content to its product lines. By expanding the themes and age groups for its products, Skillmatics keeps its offerings relevant and engaging for a broader audience. This constant innovation ensures that the products remain fresh and appealing to both parents and children.

"Simplicity and engagement are at the core of our products. We believe in making products that are easy to understand and use, which has been crucial to our success," says Sheth.

A Rapid and Analytical Development Process

Skillmatics' product development process is a testament to its commitment to innovation and quality. The company has a large design and development team, divided into three verticals: content, design, and engineering. This team works in harmony to ensure that each product is educational, well-designed, and feasible to produce.

The content team includes full-time teachers, child psychologists, and experts in early childhood education who ensure that the educational value of the products is robust. The design team, comprising game designers, graphic designers, and industrial designers, focuses on creating visually appealing and functional products. Lastly, the engineering team brings these ideas to life, managing materials and manufacturing requirements.

“One of Skillmatics' unique strengths is its analytical approach to identifying market opportunities. Using in-house analytics tools, we identify gaps in the market, such as high search behavior but low conversion rates, or common negative feedback in existing products. This data-driven approach allows us to develop products that directly address consumer needs,” adds Sheth.

Skillmatics has also perfected a rapid product development process, going from ideation to launch in just two and a half months. This speed is five times faster than traditional companies, allowing Skillmatics to quickly test and scale successful products.

"We've built a unique capability to rapidly develop, test, and scale products, much like a tech company. This approach has been instrumental in our growth," states Sheth.

Leveraging Technology for Success

Skillmatics leverages technology extensively across its business operations, from product design and development to marketing and logistics. The company uses a combination of third-party software and proprietary tools to analyze market trends, manage production, and optimize marketing strategies.

This tech-driven approach has enabled Skillmatics to maintain efficiency and agility, crucial for a global business with teams spread across multiple countries.

"We often joke that we're a tech company selling consumer products. Our use of technology has been a key factor in our ability to scale and innovate," says Sheth.

How Skillmatics Became a Leader in Educational Games Across 20+ Countries

Marketing to Parents and Kids Alike

While Skillmatics primarily targets parents with its marketing strategies, ensuring that the products are educational and beneficial for their children, the company also understands the importance of making products that children love. To achieve this, Skillmatics conducts extensive playtesting with children, continuously refining the products based on their feedback.

The company employs innovative marketing strategies to reach both parents and children. For example, Skillmatics partnered with Chick-fil-A in the U.S. to include samples of their "Guess in 10" game in 18 million kids' meals, effectively reaching a massive audience of children.

"Our primary consumer is the parent, but we ensure that our products are loved by kids through extensive playtesting and targeted marketing," says Sheth.

The Role of D2C

Skillmatics started as a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand, leveraging the advantages of this model to rapidly test and scale their products. The D2C approach allowed Skillmatics to get direct feedback from consumers, iterate quickly, and build a strong online presence. This strategy was crucial in establishing credibility and eventually expanding into offline retail.

Today, Skillmatics products are available in over 20,000 retail stores globally, but the company continues to value the D2C model for its ability to provide rapid feedback and facilitate direct engagement with consumers.

"The D2C model has been instrumental in our growth, allowing us to test, learn, and scale rapidly while building a strong brand presence online," explains Sheth.

The Funding Journey and Steady Growth

Skillmatics' funding journey began with a challenge, as early investors were skeptical about the potential of a global brand from India. However, the company's persistence paid off when Sequoia Capital (now Peak15) recognized their vision and provided the initial investment. Since then, Skillmatics has raised multiple rounds of funding, totaling $24 million, from investors like Peak15, Sofina, and notable family offices.

The company has grown consistently at 70-80 percent year-over-year, reaching a projected revenue of over 500 crore this year. This steady growth is attributed to Skillmatics' focus on execution, continuous innovation, and strategic market expansion.

"Our consistent growth is a result of focused execution, constant innovation, and strategic expansion. We are committed to maintaining this trajectory," states Sheth.

Commitment to Sustainability

Skillmatics is committed to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. The company uses predominantly paper-based materials, all of which are FSC certified and recyclable. Additionally, Skillmatics is working towards becoming a fully carbon-neutral brand. In the U.S., their products are labeled "climate pledge friendly," indicating that the carbon footprint from production to delivery is offset through renewable energy projects.

"Sustainability is a core value for us. We strive to minimize our environmental impact and support renewable energy initiatives," says Sheth.

Expanding Globally

Skillmatics has successfully established a global presence, with 85 percent of its revenue coming from international markets. The company's strategy involves entering new markets through online channels, building a strong presence, and then expanding into offline retail. This approach has allowed Skillmatics to scale rapidly and effectively in markets like the U.S., UK, and beyond.

"Our global expansion strategy involves leveraging online channels to build a presence and then scaling offline. This approach has enabled us to establish a strong global footprint," explains Sheth.

Skillmatics stands as a testament to how innovative thinking, a commitment to quality, and strategic execution can build a successful global brand. From its inception driven by key insights into consumer behavior to its rapid growth and global expansion, Skillmatics continues to redefine the landscape of educational products for children.

"We are committed to creating high-quality, engaging educational products that parents and children love. Our journey has just begun, and we are excited for what the future holds," concludes Sheth.

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