We just launched our Portugal Chapter. Discover more Portuguese startups here!X
PITCH
Let your children play with fire, water and more with Science4you’s stimulating educational toys designed by scientists and made in Portugal.
WHY?

Limited science education, exposure

Primary schools offering a generalist education lack time and expertise to deliver effective science lessons.

Toy safety a concern

Outside the EU, many toy-manufacturing countries lack adequate regulation and compliance on toy safety.

MARKET

US$90 billion

Global toy market size

Produced in Portugal, Science4you is available for children across 30 countries across the globe, including the United States and China.

PRODUCT
Apps, puzzles and other toys that help kids learn anything from the science of slime to the basics of DNA. Products are categorized by age, starting from six years old. The startup has collaborated with Discovery Channel and the University of Oxford. Most cost €10–20.
Apps, puzzles and other toys that help kids learn anything from the science of slime to the basics of DNA. Products are categorized by age, starting from six years old. The startup has collaborated with Discovery Channel and the University of Oxford. Most cost €10–20.
BUSINESS MODEL
Science4you predominantly earns its revenue from sales of toys, educational mobile games and other products such as its smartphone for kids: Mobile4you. All Science4you toys are manufactured in Portugal.

Read more

Science4you toys are designed by a team at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, the startup’s official partner.

Because of its efficient production line, combined with its close proximity to its main markets in Europe, Science4you is able to deliver its products within three weeks.

Science4you’s founder, Miguel Pina Martins, owns 30% of the company. Portugal Ventures owns 49% of the Science4you, while the remaining 21% are split among small shareholders such as angel investors and academics who supported Science4you since its inception.

TIMELINE

  • Launch
  • Growth
  • Recent Developments
  • Future Plans
  • 2007–2013 - Final-year university project; launch; seed funding; rapid European expansion.

    Read in detail:

    The launch

    2007, Science4you founder Miguel Pina Martins, then aged 22, developed a business plan for educational toys as his final-year project at the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE).

    • Miguel Pina Martins pursued a degree in Finance, and had to collaborate with students at Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (FCUL) as a graduation requirement.

    • Leveraged FCUL’s strong brand in Portugal to market the product.

    January 2008, incorporated Science4you.

    • Launched during the Portuguese economic crisis.

    • Initial capital: €1,125 from Miguel Pina Martins, €50,000 from Portugal Ventures.

    October 2008, first sales in Portugal.

    • All toys were manufactured in Portugal at Prior Velho.

    • Sold online or through small kiosks in shopping centres.

    Expansion

    October 2009, sold Science4you toys in Spain, first sales outside of Portugal.

    September 2010, ventured to Angola market.

    November 2010, first sales in Brazil.

    June 2011, established a representative office in Spain, released Spanish website.

    January 2013, established a representative in the United Kingdom, released UK website.

    Fundings

    Late 2007, secured €50,000 from Portugal Ventures.

  • 2014 - Opened US market; first physical store; released mobile technology and apps; €6.5 million in revenue.

    Read in detail:

    Products and services

    August, launched Mobile4you, a smartphone designed for kids.

    • Sold at €129.99, the smartphone came with a 3.5-inch screen, 2MP camera, 4GB of storage, Wi-Fi connectivity and Science4you's applications such as Educational Mini Games.

    • Free basic SMS alerts for parents.

    • Advanced parental control settings available for a premium (€2.99/month): application control to block out specific websites, call filter option, and the ability to define smartphone usage time periods.

    • On Android 4.2.

    September, released NFC-enabled Android game Micro Dinos.

    • Linked to a product line of dinosaur toys, sold separately.

    • Each dinosaur toy is embedded with an NFC chip and comes with a unique ID. After registering the ID, children can play with their dinosaurs online and interact with other players.

    November, implemented SEQR mobile payment solution at kiosks and Science4you stores.

    • Lets buyers connect to loyalty programs and receive exclusive offers.

    • Compatible with Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

    December, released Micro Dinos for iOS.
    Expansion

    August, entered the United States market.

    September, opened its first store ever, in Montijo, Portugal.

    • Located inside Forum Montijo mall.

    December, inaugurated its first store in Madrid, Spain.

    • First street-front store.

    Reached €6.5 million in revenue for the year 2014.

    • €1.1 million came from Spain.

    • €400,000 came from the United Kingdom.

  • 2015 - 70% revenue growth; new non-executive chairman and mentor; bigger factory; €11.3 million in revenue; won €7 million investment.

    Read in detail:

    Products and services

    May, organized a Holiday Camp program at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (FCUL).

    • Experiments and games were conducted using Science4you products.

    • Three price points: €35/day, €175/week and €325/two weeks.

    June, released a mobile quiz app: Lascas -Mega Quiz.

    • 2,000 questions across eight categories: Mathematics, Geography, Human Body, Dinosaurs, Mental Calculus, History, Science and Astronomy.

    November, launched smart plush toy: Smart Monkey.

    • Comes with accompanying app for Android 3.0, iOS 7.0 and Windows Phone 8.0.

    • Connected via Bluetooth.

    • Children can play games, and listen to music or to traditional stories through the plush.

    • Priced at €49.99.

    Expansion

    February, received Portugal 2015 Product of the Year award in didactic toys category.

    December, inauguration of 8,000sqm plant in Lisbon Region's Supply Market (MARL), built to meet growing demand; attended by Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva..

    • Investment cost €3 million.

    Recorded €11.3 million in revenue for the year, up 70% from 2014. Products sold in more than 27 countries.

    Fundings

    September, secured a €7 million investment from the Millennium Capitalization Fund managed by BCP Capital (the venture capital arm of Millennium BCP, Portugal’s largest private bank), and Portugal Ventures.

    • Cash used for international expansion, especially in the United States.

  • 2016 - Hamleys deal.

    Read in detail:

    Expansion
    November, closed deal with Hamleys, the world’s oldest and largest toy store, to sell Science4you products through the UK-based retailer.
    Challenges

    September, a typo in one of Science4you’s product description on Tesco’s website prompted a customer to write a public Facebook complaint to the retailer, which was reported in the media.

    • My First Spa teaches children about different skin treatments and how to create your own remedies.

    • Tesco website misspelled one of the products in the set as “labial moisturiser”.

  • 2017 - Toy subscription service; new products and training programs.

    Read in detail:

    Products and services

    January, launched toy subscription service Box4you.

    • Only in Portugal.

    • Every new subscription comes with four toys. Subsequently, the customer will receive a new toy every month, and two toys at Christmas.

    • Each box is personalized according to customer data.

    • Three plans available: annual plan (€7.99/month), semi-annual plan (€8.99/month) or monthly plan (€9.99/month).

    February, partnered the Portuguese Public Security Police (PSP) to create a coloring book to encourage young children to explore research, technology, science and security industries; organized another Holiday Camp program for kids.

    March, organized a two-day Science Animator training program for adults and college students.

    • Priced at €50. College students receive 10% off.

  • Recent Developments

    Science4you is the third-largest toymaker in the Iberian Peninsula (i.e., Spain and Portugal).

    Recorded €16.5 million sales in 2016; sales have been growing 100% yearly since inception.

    New product lines include drones and apps. The startup also holds events and classes.

    Products sold in more than 30 countries, including China, its largest market outside the EU in 2016 (with sales of €100,000).

    Largest markets outside of Portugal: Spain, the United Kingdom, Poland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

    Present in 20,000 points of sale.


  • Future Plans

    Sales revenue target of €25 million for 2017.

    Expand manufacturing facilities by at least 20% in 2017.

    Further expansion in Asia (Japan and South Korea), venture into Mexico.

    Launch Box4you in other countries, starting with Spain.
Updated: 03/2017
f