FaceBoard: An Edtech Startup Gamifying Learning For All Levels of Literacy

It’s Women’s Month and LaunchLab is celebrating the inspirational female entrepreneurs in our community. One being Abigail Meaker, founder and Chief Brand Officer of FaceBoard, a learning platform using a blend of educational technology, gamification, and social learning. FaceBoard bridges the gap in learning as it appeals to all types of learners. A large amount of the South African population has poor literacy levels so conventional learning tools are just not sufficient to engage learners. 


The company started when Lenore Zietsman, a Founder of Faceboard, came up with the idea after a long, difficult training day where she was tasked to train participants with a daunting manual and powerpoint slides. After learners left feeling discouraged and herself feeling frustrated, she vowed to create a game that would bridge the age and literacy gap in South Africa. A game that would allow learners to share and learn while having fun.


FaceBoard was born in 2014 when the first Customer Care game was created. After graduating from Stellenbosch University both Abigail and Hansie Zietsman, CEO of FaceBoard, experienced the power and versatility of the game. An opportunity was realized and they began to create bespoke board games for companies on their custom content.


To scale FaceBoard, the team knew that a shift towards a digital platform was required. By chance, they made a powerful connection with Gillian Greene, a powerhouse student completing her PhD in computer science at Stellenbosch University. She built the initial app framework at a fraction of the market cost. This allowed them to iterate with no external funding. 


FaceBoard has a patent-pending on their newly developed piece of add-on hardware “The Neuroblast”. This enhances the FaceBoard app by allowing multiple devices to connect wirelessly with no internet and allows learners to directly control the game dynamics:  



FaceBoard has signed Famous Brands, a very exciting new client with lots of growth potential. Famous Brands has adopted FaceBoard as their primary training tool going forward to train their network of 2853 restaurants including Debonairs, Steers, Wimpy, Mugg & Bean, Wakaberry and more.


FaceBoard has tested the product in various sectors and found the most sales traction and the least red tape in corporate adult learning. To date, FaceBoard has been self-funded through sales revenue. In the last two months, FaceBoard has trained 117 facilitators on how to use FaceBoard effectively in their training.


From here on they plan to refine their sales process to sign on more customers to increase their user base. They will continue to look after the current clients to keep them renewing annually. Furthermore, they are looking to form strategic relationships with learning professionals and facilitators to be ambassadors for FaceBoard.


Abigail says their team sticks to the notion that “although Faceboard is an edtech company, we don’t let the “tech” dilute the social learning experience and create zombies.”


Abigail mentions that FaceBoard’s advice for any startup would be to prove your concept before throwing in all your personal and/or investors resources into it. Also, get traction for your business by running it as lean as possible. 


Launchlab’s Build programme helped define Faceboard’s customer profile and perfect their pitch. It is a space consisting of like-minded people with a variety of skills on tap. Being part of LaunchLab has allowed them to make valuable connections and receive important guidance. Having their LaunchLab Portfolio Manager, J-D Nel, has been a great support as they could bounce ideas and tap into the LaunchLab’s network.


Find out more about other very exciting startups in LaunchLab: www.Launchlab.co.za