Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Rohan Mahimker, the CEO of Prodigy Games, in his Oakville office's employee classroom on June 25, 2020.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

A GTA online company that has turned math education into a video game for millions of children worldwide has raised $159-million from U.S. private-equity giant TPG and the Canadian Business Growth Fund (CBGF).

Oakville, Ont.-based Prodigy Education Inc, which had previously raised just $15-million in institutional capital from CBGF in 2019, said the new funds would fuel a hiring spree, with plans to double in size to 800 people this year. “We’re planning on growing very aggressively with this fundraise … and pursue our mission of helping every student in the world love learning,” co-chief executive officer Rohan Mahimker said in an interview.

Mr. Mahimker and co-CEO Alex Peters, both 32, began building the company as a school project a decade ago when they were students in the University of Waterloo’s mechatronics engineering program. “Our original idea was to create the world’s first emotionally responsive educational math game” using facial recognition software, and later biometric monitors to observe how children responded to the games, Mr. Peters said.

Story continues below advertisement

The idea was to “intensely personalize the learning experience” for students, he said. The pair later ditched the hardware to focus solely on software, but kept the core idea of personalizing games to help students succeed.

The company’s flagship offering is a free learning platform offered at schools and to parents that disguises math exercises as video games. “The supplementation to the school curriculum in math has been wonderful,” said CBGF CEO George Rossolatos, whose four children have used the platform. “The kids use it while they think they’re playing a video game, and it’s much more than that.”

Like other online video games, Prodigy generates revenues by selling extras such as personalized outfits, and hairstyles for the users’ online avatars. Access to paid features are typically unavailable at school; teachers use the program to track students and assign homework virtually. Prodigy has about nine million active monthly users and 100 million registered users globally, and is used widely in schools in English-speaking markets, including North America, Britain, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Prodigy’s user growth was disrupted by the pandemic as teachers weren’t able to offer its programs to students at school. But as parents turned to the internet to find educational online tools for their kids sheltering at home, many registered for Prodigy, including paid premium memberships, which “in turn drove higher level revenue growth,” Mr. Peters said. He added the company expects to see elevated use at home even after the crisis subsides.

The co-CEOs declined to provide financial details, but Prodigy was named by Deloitte and The Globe and Mail as one of Canada’s fastest-growing companies prior to the pandemic. It more than doubled revenues on average in each of the four years leading up to 2019, according to Deloitte, and increased revenues by 320 per cent over the three-year period ending last April in The Globe survey, reaching annual revenues of between $25-million and $50-million.

The company is believed to now generate revenues exceeding $50-million annually. Mr. Mahimker didn’t specify how much of the funding went to buy out existing investors, but did say a majority went to the company.

He added that Prodigy, which for years drew only on early funding from friends, family and the founders, handpicked TPG’s growth equity financing firm, TPG Growth, as a backer because of its track record helping some of the world’s leading internet businesses – including Uber, Airbnb and Spotify – expand into giants.

Story continues below advertisement

“Prodigy’s impressive growth is underpinned by a truly differentiated, game-based and adaptive platform that is well aligned with the core curriculum” of students in grades 1 through 8, TPG partner David Trujillo said in a statement. “Their commitment to their uses and to their educational purpose is inspiring.”

Investors have taken interest in Canadian education-tech companies during the pandemic, especially as classrooms shift to remote learning. Like Prodigy, many were born in the Waterloo, Ont., area. Kitchener’s Applyboard Inc. raised $100-million last May as its software platform for recruiting international students gained greater attention during the pandemic, helping schools keep revenue flowing even in remote-learning environments. Meanwhile, online learning provider D2L Corp., also of Kitchener, is considering going public after seeing higher growth last year.

Editor’s note: The spelling of TPG partner David Trujillo's last name has been corrected in the online version of this story.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the authors of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies