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Learn English with Interactive Speaking Games

Hawina Productions wants to change the way we learn languages with interactive speaking games. We encourage people to speak foreign languages to make them feel comfortable in international ci

Our story

Hawina Productions is a team of language teachers and game developers who came together a year ago. The idea was to create something completely new for the language learning market – a voice operated language learning game.

We started testing the idea first with paper prototypes against our target group and received excellent feedback. Encouraged by the feedback we enrolled to Oulu Game Lab to create a prototype of the game. The reception of the prototype proved us that we were really on to something. The game seemed to appeal to large audiences. This made us very dedicated to our project.

The business side of the idea was further validated when we were selected to the Oulu Startup Accelerator program in April. By August Havina’s business model was already in such a good shape that we won the Oulu Midnight Pitch Fest Seed B category pitching competition.

Right now we have a free test version of the game available on our web site www.havinaproductions.com. It has already been downloaded 550 during the first four weeks it was published. Currently we are working on getting our first web based product out in early February 2014. The product will be launched at the Oulu Polarbear Pitching contest http://www.pitchfestoulu.com/polarbear/

Our business & market situation

“I have never seen a learning game that is interactive in this way, and I think it is wonderful!” (Test user from the University of Oulu)

“I would love to see the full version of this game. It really is a great piece of edutainment!” (Test user from the University of Oulu)

The internet and media give us endless opportunities to read, write and listen to the English language, but few of us get to practice speaking English on regular basis. That is where the Hawina language game comes in. With speech recognition and an entertaining learning environment, the learner is able to have life like discussions with the game characters and build up fluency and confidence in spoken English in his or her chosen field.

With the unique gamified learning environment, it is also possible to take the learner to different places and introduce him or her to different accents and cultures in very concrete ways. This ensures that the learner is more ready to face the unexpected situations we face in today's international business environments.

The game consists of free content and paid content. Free content focuses on topics that are relevant to any traveler. Revenue is generated through advertisements. Paid content consists of separate modules concentrating on specific areas of language use. Content can be purchased module by module (e.g. business module, medical, legal, engineering, etc.) or in even smaller units through micro transactions in the game.

We offer a unique solution to typical problems in e-learning

The common problems current digital language learning solutions struggle with are:
- High drop-out rates
- Inadequate feedback
- Not enough possibilities to speak the target language

We are addressing the problem with drop-out rates through game mechanics to keep the player motivated in the game and learn as a side product. Game mechanics also give plenty of opportunities to give both immediate feedback and long term feedback on the players’ progress. Most importantly, we want to make the player speak the target language. Nothing happens in the game unless the player speaks. Clear and understandable pronunciation is a key success factor in doing business in international circles.

At the moment there are no e-learning solutions available in the market which would offer a complete language learning game experience combined with voice recognition.

The Market          

Both digital language learning and game based learning are quickly gaining market share from more traditional ways of learning languages and the growth rates are specifically high in Asia. Out of the total worldwide language learning market (60 billion USD), the digital language learning market share was 1,3 billion in 2011. Ambient Insights Research has estimated that market to double its size to 2,5 billion USD by 2016.

With a CAGR of 21%, Asia is expected to make more than half of the digital English learning revenue in 2016. At the same time the game based learning revenue in Asia is expected to grow to 1,7 Billion USD with the CAGR of 16%.

http://www.ambientinsight.com/Reports/DigitalEnglish.aspx

Target Groups

Our initial target group is young adult (age 18-30) business English learners in Asia but the product will be scaled to other target groups and languages later on. For example, it can be easily tailored to teach German, Spanish or Russian and the target group can vary from school kids to holiday makers.

We are creating a family of products with a clear and trusted brand identity.

Go to market plan

The main strategy for acquiring players is through social media marketing and creating viral marketing elements in the game play.

Havina Productions Facebook page has 3330 likes now (on the 13th of Dec). It has turned out to be easy to get people excited about the product and to like our page. We have released the so called minimal viable product on our web page recently (http://www.havinaproductions.com/) to get initial feedback on the product that is still under development and we have 550 downloads already.

We have tested different social media marketing messages for several Asian countries and the results so far have been very encouraging. We firmly believe that we can use social media as our main tool for player acquisition in a way that is cost effective and profitable. In other words, the average revenue per user will be more than the user acquisition cost.

In addition to getting players through advertising, the social aspects of the game will also attract new players. Mechanisms, such as inviting friends to get exclusive content, sharing your game progress online and competing with your friends and/or other users, will draw in new users independent of paid advertising.

We are also networking with language schools and private businesses as potential customers and distributors for our products. For these purposes we will have an enterprise licensing model and also the possibility to order specifically customized content on a project basis.

Presence

http://www.facebook.com/HavinaProductions

http://www.havinaproductions.com

http://twitter.com/HavinaLanguages

http://www.linkedin.com/company/3299768?trk=tyah&trkInfo=tas%3Ahavina%2Cidx%3A1-1-1

 

Our team

Our team

Hawina Productions comes from Oulu, Finland. The Finnish education system is famous for very high learning results. Finnish students perform well in all areas of OECD Pisa surveys. Finns have also received high scores in the EF English Proficiency Index. Finland also has a thriving ecosystem of game companies. At Hawina Productions we are combining the world of education with the world of gaming and have arrived at a new and innovative approach to teaching languages online.

Riitta Annala, CEO: I'm an Eglish teacher who, after spending 3 years abroad, got lured into the field of IT industry for ten years. My IT career spans from a test engineer via a team manger to a project manager. Eventually I got very curious about the idea of combining the two fields, education and IT industry, which seemed very remote from each other. Hawina Productions is the result.

Mikko Lapinlahti, CFO: I'm an MA in English with a varied work background in different fields from technical writing through web projects to the game industry. I have experience of both large companies and small start-ups. Games in all their forms have been my life-long passion and building a success story with the Hawina team is a dream come true.

Anke Bartels, CCO: Anke has an impressive CV in agile project management and organization managemnent. She also manages the social media marketing at Hawina Productions.

Sanna Salmijärvi, Game Developer: Sanna is a dedicated and experienced software developer who has years of experience in mobile software development. After a course at Oulu GameLab, she has now turned into an excellent game developer and is working on the UI of the game.

Heikki Ahola, Game Developer: Heikki has over 15 years of experience in various kinds of projects in mobile software development. His speciality at Hawina is the voice recognition.

Olli-Pekka Wallin, Game Developer: Olli-Pekka has over 15 years of work experience in mobile SW development, integration and project management tasks. He joined Hawina productions through a course at Oulu GameLab and is now working eagerly with the game server issues.

Mikko Verhiö, Game Designer: Mikko, a keen gamer himself, is the perfect game designer for Hawina. As the youngest member of the team he is well in touch with the latest trends of the game industry and is able to bring fresh ideas to the game.

In addition to the development team we also have an international virtual team that consists of students from South-Korea and Vietnam, marketing contacts for Vietnam and China, and teachers from China and South-Korea.

Advisors:

Eero kaikkonen, The head coach at the Oulu Business Accelerator

Kristian Luoma, SoMe marketing advisor

Ville Heikkinen, Legal advisor