The ECD Apps Launchpad.

Impact Area:

Cross Cutter

Year of Investment and Stage:

2017 | Early Proof of Concept

Current Stage

Later Proof of Concept

Investment Amount:

>R2 Million

Financial Instrument:


Have we reinvested:



Closed, Active

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The Problem

Organisations that work in the early learning arena often enlist the help of software developers creating mobile apps as part of their programmes. In many cases, the developers have relatively little understanding of early childhood care and education. They also often have limited insight into the lives of the potential app users. In addition, their support tends to be contract based, making it difficult for organisations to undertake changes to the app at a later stage without incurring further costs. In these circumstances, the uptake for these apps may fail and render them obsolete.

The Innovation

The Launchpad’s innovative ecosystem system approach allows for early learning apps on the platform to share a common technology infrastructure with a modular architecture, that allows for cost-effective customisation and scale. Organisations wanting to develop a new app are able to build on the existing platform and gain access to its full suite of functionalities. This enables them to develop and maintain their apps at a fraction of the full cost.

The Launchpad also facilitates the sharing of best practice, allowing partner organisations to share new ideas and quickly refine existing content. One of the most powerful features of the Launchpad’s ecosystem approach is the ability to track app users over time. This has produced valuable data, enabling stakeholders to better track and understand the factors influencing the progress and levels of participation among users.

Applications that were developed on the Launchpad included The Wordworks App, Bird Seed – a daily activity guide for preschool teachers, and MathsUp.

Altogether, 21 app modules were created in the Launchpad code base, which Reach Trust continues to support.

Why we Invested

We were particularly interested in the Launchpad’s platform effect – establishing a marketplace to cross-promote different early learning apps. The metadata and learnings from successful (and failed) apps will be immensely valuable and enrich the collective understanding of, among other things, what works best for behaviour change interventions targeting teachers and parents, and how apps might find suitable pathways for scale and sustainability.

The Project Team

The Reach Trust has helped more than 10 million people transform their lives through access to free education, health and counselling services on their mobile phones.