Julia Rivard – Co-Founder of Squiggle Park

Venture: “At Squiggle Park, we take video games seriously. Our bite-sized games are effective in building mastery of foundational reading skills through practice and play.”

As of 2018, Squiggle Park has raised $1.02M as and was being used in over 6,000 schools all over the world. Squiggle Park uses video games built on scientifically backed reading methodology for Pre K-2 students, partnering with teachers and literacy experts to create a gaming platform that accelerates mastery of reading comprehension. Their efficacy study showed students mastered reading skills 5x faster than with traditional instruction. The company is now focused on expanding its platform to support immigrants, English language learners, and children who aren’t meeting basic reading levels in Canada. Squiggle Park is endorsed by the Canadian Government through the Build in Canada Program (BCIP) and was involved in a pilot project with the federal government through Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to help children improve their reading levels over a 10-week period.

Past investors include Heather Reisman, founder and CEO of Indigo Books and Music, and John Montalbano, head of RBC’s global asset management division, as well as recent business development funding from Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Ontario Centres of Excellence. Squiggle Park has offices in Halifax and Ontario.

Founder Bio

Julia Rivard, co-founder of Squiggle Park, is a Canadian and former Olympian, who has been named one of ’25 Women to Succeed in a COVID World’ by Women of Influence.ca, June 2020.  She was nominated by Globe and Mail’s Top 40 Under 40, and has been recognized as one of the top 50 most influential Canadian women in STEM. Julia founded an incubator for independent creatives, and built a successful career in her roles as Creative Director and CEO in technology and web development. She led SheepDogInc.ca, Canada’s first and most successful Google partner which was only 1 of 40 partner companies to deploy Google App gTrax in the launch of Google Apps Marketplace. Julia is a Board member of Norex which has been internationally recognized for excellence in design and innovation and she was recently elected as member of the Board for Nova Scotia Power, the integrated utility for that province.

While still a national team athlete, Rivard completed a Bachelor of Recreation Administration degree at Dalhousie University in 2000. In 2003, she completed her Bachelor of Graphic Design at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD University).

What message do you want to share with entrepreneurs right now?  Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you will be amazed at how far you can go.

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One response to “Julia Rivard – Co-Founder of Squiggle Park”

  1. Alice Shin

    I am drawn to Julia as a Founder initially because she is a female, Canadian Edtech founder, criteria I chose specifically to help narrow down the pool of founders to select from. But she is, without question, incredibly accomplished in the tech and design space and her influence spans sport, education, and technology – I admire her breadth and versality. Significantly for me, and speaking directly to the challenges of education as a marketplace, she managed to create a product used in public school systems by winning buy-in from government, administration and teachers. She overcame resistance many EdTech Founders may experience particularly from teachers who are not sold on a given Edtech product – or on the Founder themselves. Her success tells me that – as daunting as it may be – it is in fact possible to overcome these obstacles and Julia is someone to look to to learn from.

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