We've long been outspoken about our love for crowdfunding as a way for startups to raise capital and find customers. One business proving just how well this can work out is One Third Stories, our StartUp of the Week and a business providing children with a new way to learn languages. Their books introduce foreign words to children gradually, providing an innovative and fun way for children to learn another language. Their crowdfunding campaign let people pre-order the book - and they raised over £35,000. Let's find out more.

1. Explain your business in thirty seconds or less.

One Third Stories makes learning a language as easy as reading a story. We create children’s books that start in English and end in a different language, by gradually introducing foreign words. 

We have partnered with the Spanish Embassy, the Goethe-Institut, and Nottingham University to offer Spanish, French, Italian and German.

2. Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?

We are based in London, out of the co-working space The Camden Collective. It’s fantastic because it provides space for a community of start-ups and creative projects to work and help each other. Being in London has given us incredible opportunities to meet people who advise and support One Third Stories.

3. How did you come up with the idea?

Funnily enough, it was actually inspired by the hyper-violent novel ‘A Clockwork Orange’ where the author introduces words in a made-up language into contexts that allow the reader to sometimes understand them. We adapted this idea to develop the Clockwork Methodology®, and use children’s books as the medium for this way of learning.

4. What stage was your business at when you applied for the Start Up Loan?

Pre-product launch. We had been working full-time on One Third Stories for just over six months and had completed the Ignite 100 Accelerator programme. In this time we had validated the product and market with various prototypes, but needed additional funding to launch our first product range and marketing campaign. 

Virgin StartUp of the Week - One Third Stories

5. How have you used it to grow your business?

We used the vast majority of the funding to launch a Kickstarter campaign, buying us time to prepare properly, build our audience, and create a great video that ensured its success. 

Our target was £10,000, but we reached it in under 30 hours, and went on to surpass £35,000 - all from 1,300 customers who pre-ordered our stories.

6. Who is your mentor and how have they helped you get a Virgin StartUp loan?

Our advisor and mentor is Chris Howard, who is hands-down one of the best people we have met in the start-up world. He has experience building and selling a business in the publishing sector and has been fantastic in helping us in the transition from creating a product to building a business.  

7. Biggest achievement so far?

Our Kickstarter campaign and subsequent partnerships with prestigious organisations were fantastic - however we consider our biggest achievement so far to be from our crowdsourcing, or ‘kidsourcing’, campaign. In January 2016, we launched a competition where schoolchildren would submit their ideas for the story we were creating, which saw over 1,500 entries from across the UK. Knowing that so many children were engaging creatively in language learning is exactly why we started One Third Stories and is our measure of success.

8. What’s next for your business?

With our successful Kickstarter campaign we have found an incredible group of people who have supported us in bringing this idea to life. We will be delivering the books at the beginning of December and we’re aiming to exceed their expectations to repay their faith and continue to grow the business.

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