Well-known gaming entrepreneur Trip Hawkins has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding for “emotional learning” startup If You Can Company and announced the launch of a new Apple iPad game called If.
The round was led by Greylock Partners, along with Almaz Capital and other investors. The company had previously raised $2.8 million from a number of sources, including Andreessen Horowitz. Greylock’s David Sze will join If You Can’s board.
The company is aimed at using gameplay to teach children social and emotional intelligence skills. Its new game is called If, a chapter-based adventure that helps kids “manage difficult emotions, persevere through challenges, make healthy decisions and show empathy and compassion.” Bringing dogs and cats back into harmony in the town of Greenberry is the goal.
If You Can is Hawkins’s third gaming endeavor — the first was Electronic Arts and the second Digital Chocolate.
In an interview earlier this week, Hawkins said that he was looking for a “scalable solution” to impart social and emotional learning knowledge to children.
“There is very little that a caring parent can do to curate games that have value,” he said. “There is also a deficit in how children get taught role modeling in a way that commands their attention.”
Hawkins said that he was trying to create a game that was “fun enough to hold their attention,” while also using government- and university-endorsed learning tools. “Since some early games like ‘Typing Tutor,’ there has been a 30-year gap in designing games that are designed to be both fun and can provide an assessment.”
Said Hawkins about his new effort: “I did not want to do another new thing unless it really meant something.”