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Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images

A number of leading children's brands, including Lego and Sesame Workshop, are among the investors pouring $50 million into BEGiN, the New York startup behind the early-learning program HOMER.

Why it matters: Thus far, HOMER has focused on reading apps, but with the new funding and partnerships, the company says it will expand to a full early-learning program combining digital, physical and in-person experiences, tapping some of its investors for both content and distribution.

Details:

  • Other investors include Trustbridge Partners and Interlock Partners and the lead investor behind Gymboree Play and Music.
  • Former Mattel and Babytree executive Siddharth Mathur is joining the company as executive chairman.
  • Sesame Workshop COO Steve Youngwood, Lego Education's Jyoti Parikh and Gymboree's Xinkai Chen and GSV partner Michael Cohn will also join the board.

Between the lines: HOMER's expansion comes as parents around the globe are looking for new early learning options amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

What they're saying: "HOMER helps parents architect a unique learning journey for their child based on the specific way that they learn," CEO Neal Shenoy told Axios. "This approach helps all children appreciate that they are powerful learners, even when that learning does not occur in a formal classroom setting."

Go deeper

Parents of 545 children separated at southern border remain unfound

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. cannot locate the parents of 545 migrant children separated under a 2017 pilot program as part of President Trump’s immigration policy, NBC News first reported, citing a filing from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Why it matters: The number of parents who are currently considered “unreachable” is larger than was previously known. Search efforts have grown increasingly difficult given the time that has passed between when the children were released from federal custody and when volunteers started trying to find them.

46 mins ago - Health

Biden administration to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated international travelers

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Monday that the Biden administration will allow fully vaccinated travelers from around the world to enter the U.S. beginning in November.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as President Biden seeks commitments from countries to donate vaccines to the global COVAX initiative. He is expected to host a COVID summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week, and many of the countries attending have expressed frustration with the travel ban.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Gen Z breaks into VC

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When Meagan Loyst joined VC firm Lerer Hippeau, less than two years out of Boston College, she was still living with her parents. She had virtually no online brand presence, and the pandemic made it impossible to build a professional network via in-person meetings.

Why it matters: Loyst wasn't alone. Venture firms have accelerated hiring in line with record deal activity, often seeking younger investors who can spot trends that fly below the radar (or intrinsic understanding) of older partners.

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