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HEI Schools raises €2M in Funding to Bring Finland ́s Renowned Early Education Model Worldwide

23.4.2021 | BY HEI SCHOOLS

HEI Schools is an early education company that brings Finnish-style early childhood education to the world. The Edtech Startup has been selected for the HundrED 2019, 2020, and 2021 Global Collections for their impactful and scalable work in education globally. 

There is a lack of qualified teachers, comprehensive curricula, and progressive pedagogy in many parts of the world, and HEI Schools want to change that. It does this by licensing full-scale learning centers to partners around the world, providing a digital curriculum service for existing schools, and offering an online teacher certification program for any individual wanting to learn more about play-based pedagogy. These various options provide avenues for business owners, principals, and teachers to bring high-quality Early Childhood Education (ECE) to their area.  

HEI Schools plan to grow through its digital products and continued expansion of HEI Schools Learning Centers. Parents recognise the value of early education after spending much more time with their children during the pandemic, and early education is gaining traction as an important period of learning for children based on science and research. Teachers are not just babysitters but rather highly-trained professionals in their field.


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Award-winning, research-based early education concept, HEI Schools, has announced that it has completed a 2 million Euro Series A round of financing. The financing was co-led by Practica Capital and Tesi, Finnish Industry Investment.  

HEI Schools, which was founded in 2015 together with the University of Helsinki, one of the world´s top universities in educational sciences, is a pioneer in providing a unique Finnish brand of research-based early education globally. The company is offering a premium learning center concept, an easy-to-use digital curriculum platform, and pedagogical tools for educational operators and teachers outside of Finland to use. 

Milla Kokko, CEO and Co-founder of HEI Schools says: “This is a great milestone for HEI Schools. The market of early childhood education is developing fast towards a more professional approach: from offering babysitting services to actual early learning. With new investors on board, we can enable this approach to serve more and more families around the world. We are not trying to “export” Finnish society or even the educational system as such, but the deep know-how and methods about how children learn. 

"Our job is to enable local teachers and center operators to implement the methods in their own culture and environment with great tools and continuing online training.”  
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14 HEI Schools learning centers, operated by local entrepreneurs, are open already in China, Australia, Indonesia, Korea, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Finland.

In addition to current markets, 16 new HEI Schools centers are opening during 2021 also in the USA, Canada, Kuwait, and Thailand. More than 40 schools are subscribed to the digital curriculum model and over 200 teachers from 30 different countries are onboarded at the teacher certification program.  

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“HEI Schools’ impressive growth and large customer base of premium learning centres around the world, as well as the fast-growing number of users in digital resources were key proof points of the value of its concept." 

"We’re excited to be part of its growth story in leveraging technology to upskill early years professionals and bring progressive and valuable education to children at their most receptive, “ says Arvydas Bložė, Investment Director at Practica Capital. 

HEI Schools’ Finnish education model is based on holistic development and wellbeing, without compromising academic skills.

The idea that learning is not limited to a classroom plays a vital role in children's strengths, interests, social interactions, and peer relationships. Paying close attention to children's social-emotional, physical, creative, and cognitive growth, the HEI Schools curriculum supports children to be active agents in their own learning and development so that they learn to love learning.  


“The market opportunity for HEI Schools is to bring its resources to millions through digital growth. We are very happy to be part of this financing round which enables HEI Schools to scale its offering globally even further. We share the same ambition with the HEI Schools team and Practica Capital of creating a world-class company out of Finland while driving significant positive impact through wider access to high-quality early education” says Juha Lehtola, Director of VC Investments at Tesi. 

A mission-driven company, HEI Schools strives to provide the most current, research-based early education curriculum to children all over the world in order to give them the highest-quality education possible. 

Lasse Lipponen, co-founder of HEI Schools and Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Helsinki, concludes 

“Childhood is a period of life when everything is possible. It is a period full of learning opportunities and when all the core developmental changes take place. At HEI Schools, it is our mission and commitment to support every child to reach his or her full potential – without limits and without excuses.”


The concept was created out of a growing demand for Finnish model education abroad. HEI Schools has 14 Learning Centers currently open and a dozen more opening by the end of the year, 40 schools subscribed to the Toolkit and almost 200 teachers from over 30 countries around the world on the certificate program. The company offers something truly Finnish, extremely high-quality, and cutting-edge due to its partnership with the University of Helsinki.  

HEI Schools plan to grow through its digital products and continued expansion of HEI Schools Learning Centers. Parents recognise the value of early education after spending much more time with their children during the pandemic, and early education is gaining traction as an important period of learning for children based on science and research. Teachers are not just babysitters but rather highly-trained professionals in their field

Learn more about HEI Schools and their impact.