Congratulations to 3DBear for winning Amcham’s Rookie of the Year Award at our annual Amchampions event! Finnish EdTech growth company 3DBear is well on its way to pioneering the future of education through augmented reality (AR) and 3D printing for children. They’ve used Amcham Finland’s Launchpad USA program to enter the US market with determination.

From smartphones, tablets, gaming systems to laptops, mobile devices have permanently altered the way our kids interact with the world. As hours spent on devices are sometimes a point of pain and controversy for parents and school teachers alike, Helsinki-based 3DBear is leveraging this commonly available technology to foster transformational learning experiences.

Amcham recently had the privilege of speaking with CEO Kristo Lehtonen to find out how they do this and why our business network has played a critical role in their success.

3DBear, a 12-person team, has used the Launchpad USA program to expand quickly and efficiently. Instead of hunting for best-practices via Google, they get straight advice from Launchpad USA Program Director Mike Klyszeiko based on around 100 cases of successfully helping Finnish businesses investigate the US market.

Now they’ve broken into the fierce US market, which they consider to be the ultimate place to be for any player in the education field.

After being shown an impressive collection of 3D-printed user creations, including the very glasses he wore on his face, we joined Kristo for a demo of 3DBear’s innovative pedagogical platform.

“Here is where the magic happens,” he says.

3DBear’s mission is to revolutionize the way children learn and how they will work in the future. Rather than sit learning individual subjects, kids have fun using 3DBear’s software on devices to create and learn multiple skills and subjects at the same time.

Kristo demonstrated the simplicity of creating 3D digital objects and visually layering them on our real world via tablet computer. 3DBear offers a huge library of content, games and full lesson plans that teachers currently use in Finnish and New York-area classrooms. For example, students can build their own versions of Machu Picchu as part of their history lesson of Peru.

Their products also spread the Finnish educational model with world-class pedagogy based on the 4C Basic Skills: creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration. Children can be inquisitive, wander around, explore and create. Open-ended tasks give students freedom and ownership.

The Rookie of the Year Award goes to a new member company that has effectively utilized the network. Lehtonen spoke about the effectiveness of their presence at Amcham events and within member networks, saying that through Amcham, he was introduced to their future VP of Sales, for example.

“When creating a subsidiary in the US, lawyers gave me ten different options to choose from. I called Amcham and Mike gave me two, based on experience, and explained the benefits of both,” he added.

The next step for 3DBear is manageable growth. They’ve recently been selected as a top firm alongside giants Microsoft and Google within the newest AR Industry Landscape from influential Venture Reality Fund. 3DBear’s mission is to provide inventive tools to enhance education for as many children as possible.