Kirsi Ekberg: An Enthusiastic and Driven Edtech Entrepreneur

Kirsi Ekberg

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Women are the largest untapped reservoirs of talent in the world,” quotes Hilary Clinton. Today, the disparity between men and women as business leaders is reducing and the gender gap is being filled by the equal participation. Over the past few years, there have been numerous women leaders taking hold of the global businesses. Kirsi Ekberg, the Founder of Vilike, is one such influential woman leader who is bringing transformational changes to the sports educational research industry. Kirsi strives to empower people, evolve education, co-create with communities, build businesses, and harness possibilities of technology to build new solutions enabling good evolution for people and the planet. She adheres to values such as a heart for art, dreaming and doing, technology for a purpose, people before profit, etc. to make a difference.

In her early days, alongside her studies in children’s sports education, she came across a method that had been used since 1994 viz. using pen and paper to assess motor and perceptual skills data of children. However, she lost all the papers and thus lost the possibility to follow and research the development of motor and perceptual skills of children as well. Later during her BBA ICT studies, she decided to pursue the idea of leveraging technology in sports research and as per her idea, she produced the first software for sports education research. After her graduation, she incepted Vilike in 2014. Since its inception, Kirsi has been the backbone of the company.

Elevating Education with Technology

Vilike develops playful technologies that boost learning and overall wellbeing. It combines technology, sports, and education to activate children to move more and create new ways to learn. The company elevates education by developing games with sport pedagogically accurate content. Vilike takes the traditional play to new dimensions with gamification and playable technology. Besides, the company leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to assess the skills development data and conduct long-term research.

Presently, Vilike is preparing for user-centered development projects to launch the final version of the gamified Physical Exercise Education application with AI-driven kinetic learning skill research functionality. The company is  launching an interactive e-book in September to introduce motor skills for parents with toddlers through play. This will be accompanied later with language agnostic AR mobile game. Talking about being ahead of the competition, Kirsi asserts, “The combination of grit, educational and sport scientific content, gamification with new-age AI technology enabling deep research on skills development and love for the cause has been the secret to our success.”

Being the Founder and CEO of the company, Kirsi used to handle all operations other than AI development. She has been an integral part of the activities such as social media marketing, website hosting, preliminary accounting, shareholder relations, networking, pitching, networking for partnerships, and finding the perfect team. Moreover, she has managed the SWD iteration project in combination with Haaga-Helia in 2016 and 2018 and also wrote and illustrated a playbook around sport scientific content around APM inventory with Jenni Nadin. Luckily now team Vilike has grown and development happens with Love and sweat equity among amazing co-founders, Jenni Nadin, Sarthak Tripathi and Jenny Arolinna. Apart from Vilike, she has been also helping other companies like, Ultrahack, and startups,, Atlantisat and TrafficAye. Addressing the current projects, Kirsi asserts, “We are deeply devoted to the cause so motivation arises from the need that parents and educators have at the moment.”

Exploring the Opportunities

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by a storm. In the beginning, the unprecedented nature of the pandemic made it hard for people as well as businesses to tackle the situation. Due to the sudden impositions such as lockdown and social distancing norms, almost all the industry verticals were significantly affected. However, as the countries around the world start to release the impositions, the world is slowly starting to adapt to the new normal. Unlike some of the industry verticals, the digital sports and education industry has been one of the least affected industries.

Kirsi too has been making the most of the opportunities created by the pandemic and is taking the company forward in these tough times. She adds, “For us, lockdown and pandemic have woken up the need for our solutions. We started developing the 5th pivot of the digital product to help parents and educators with the physical activation of children.” Although the pandemic has prospered the re-birth of the company, startup faces funding challenges causing a slow development pace. Kirsi is addressing this challenge by giving all the possible resources anf opening first seed round to gather funding on a bigger and faster scale go-to-market for impact.

Digitalization of Education

The world is shifting to online platforms due to the social distancing norms imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. “During my 6 years as an edtech entrepreneur, I haven’t seen such a need for digital solutions before,” says Kirsi. She expects that soon, evolution in education will blend in more and more with the possibilities technology offers. Consequently, Vilike is creating another media to support the change along with books and sensory learning materials. Kirsi emphasizes the importance of digitalization of education by saying, “I believe open digitalization of education can help to set learning free. And once we build the business with purpose, we can give access to high-quality learning with low-entry barriers for everyone within the reach of internet connectivity and mobile technology.” She believes that this can help reduce the obstacles of monetary monopoly in education which sets barriers for the learning and growth of many children and youth.

Be Playfully Active

Being a prolific entrepreneur, Kirsi gives a piece of advice to the parents and educators — “Parents, keep on playing with your children and keep the grit to be playfully active every day. The same goes for educators with a wish to open their minds to the possibilities technology can give us in terms of research and new knowledge.”

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Read full magazine : The 10 Influential Education Leaders, 2023

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