Hopscotch on ‘Shark Tank’: What is the cost, who are the founders and how is Mindy Kaling attached to the kids app?

An object-oriented programming language, Hopscotch works by dragging and dropping colorful blocks of code to build routines

Hopscotch on ‘Shark Tank’: What is the cost, who are the founders and how is Mindy Kaling attached to the kids app?
Samantha John on ‘Shark Tank’ (ABC)
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Every kid learns in their own way. An entrepreneur from Brooklyn, New York, presented her fun educational app, Hopscotch, this week on 'Shark Tank'. The app is designed to help children learn coding.

An object-oriented programming language, Hopscotch works by dragging and dropping colorful blocks of code to build routines. The official website claims, “Parents will love the STEM exposure and the administration will love the innovation in your classroom. Show your school how easy it is to take initiative on activities that engage students and deepen learning.”

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“The most successful teachers we've seen hand Hopscotch to their students and give them full responsibility for expertise. Model active learning by giving students a powerful tool and exploring together,” the website also reads. Wondering how to get this app for your little ones? Read on. 

Hopscotch on ‘Shark Tank’ (ABC)

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What is Hopscotch?

A build-your-own-games app featuring a first-of-its-kind mobile programming language, Hopscotch empowers kids and grown-ups to produce an original game, solo. According to Fast Company.com, “The key to the iPad-compatible Hopscotch is its drag-and-drop interface, which allows users to grab blocks of code from presorted categories.”

Back in 2014, Mindy Kaling promoted the product saying, “I just became a genius coder. I'm Mark Zuckerberg! You can be too.” And another old tweet revealed, “CEO and co-founder of app Hopscotch, Jocelyn Leavitt and actress, Mindy Kaling.” Recently, Kaling shared on Twitter, “This is my best friend’s awesome company! On #SharkTank!! Go Joce and Sam!!!”

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Who are the founders?

Are your children “mindlessly consuming” games? In 2011, former teacher Jocelyn Leavitt grew tired of kids addicted to games and teamed up with software engineer Samantha John to launch Hopscotch. When asked about her app’s popularity, Leavitt said. “There’s a strong desire on kids’–and adults’–part to create,” adding. “People have ideas all the time.”

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On the show, Samantha John will pitch the product. The bio on the website reveals, “Samantha fell in love with programming during her senior year at Columbia. Since then, she's been on a mission to introduce every kid to this amazing skill. She's been influenced by the likes of John Holt and Ivan Illich and cares deeply about empowering kids to learn on their own. She hails from the proud city of Detroit and can probably beat you barefoot in a marathon.”

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Not just Samantha and Jocelyn, the other people associated with it are: Ana Handley, the smiley face behind the Hopscotch hello email, Nazarí González, Liz Robuck, Ankita Kundu and Rodrigo Tello.

Samantha John on ‘Shark Tank’ (ABC)

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What is the cost and where can you buy it?

How to download the app? You can access it here for Apple products. In March 2020, Hopscotch started its “Game of the Day” segments and on the app, through which the game created by its users gets an acknowledgment on social media. 

The reviews on the website have hailed the product. “This is best coding app I have ever seen for a mobile device! It’s intuitive, educational, and most importantly, fun!” one said and another posted, “My son, AJ, is loving Hopscotch and this has opened up another world of something that interests him - makes learning fun!”

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Hopscotch on ‘Shark Tank’ (ABC)

Where are they now?

Back in 2014, it was reported that the New York-based startup Hopscotch closed a $1.2 million seed funding round in August 2013. A year later, they released the v2.0 of its app. At the time, Jocelyn revealed, The seed funding came from Resolute Ventures, Collaborative Fund, Kapor Capital and other unnamed investors, and was used to expand the team, launch the community and build version 2 of the app, says co-founder Jocelyn Leavitt.

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The same report detailed how the Hopscotch app had been used to create more than 1.5 million projects, compiling more than 57 million blocks of code. The startup was founded in 2011 and Jocelyn revealed, “There are hundreds of visual programming languages out there. Popular ones are Scratch, Alice and Blockly. I would not call these competitors, since they are all mostly the work of universities (although Blockly is by Google). And actually, John Maloney, who originally built Scratch and Scratch 2.0 at the MIT Media Lab, is one of our advisors.”

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Who will steal the deal?

It's difficult to predict whether the product will steal the deal but if it does, Daymond John could be the Shark to invest in it. And who knows, Lori Greiner could also be interested in the product. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Daymond John on ‘Shark Tank’ (ABC)

‘Shark Tank’ Season 12 Episode 9 returned to ABC after the winter break on January 8, 2021, at 8 pm ET. Catch the latest episode featuring Better Bedder, Everything Legendary, Walkee Paws and Hopscotch on February 26, 2021, from 8 pm ET to 9 pm ET.

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Missed an episode? Been wanting to catch up? Episodes can also be viewed the next day on demand and on Hulu. Not just that, you can also watch old seasons and episodes on Amazon Prime and iTunes.

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