Ubooly: a plush toy with an iPhone instead of a brain

    The creators of the Ubooly toy , which uses an iPhone or iPod touch to interact with the host, today announced it has received $ 1.5 million in seed funding from various investors, including SoftTech, 500 Startups, David Cohen, etc. Prior to this, the creators of the toy raised the funds necessary for the initial production through the Kickstarter campaign. The money received from investors will help to give a children's toy the ability to better interact with people.

    Ubooly, which went on sale last week, was created by a couple from Colorado, Carly Gloug and Isaac Squires, who are the founders of Warb Design Agency. They used Kickstarter to prove that their idea has prospects and that a toy that uses Apple gadgets for interactive games and speech recognition will be popular among buyers. The company achieved its goal of $ 25,000, but in addition to this, attention to the project helped to attract not only initial orders for the toy, but also additional venture capital of $ 335,000. The startup also took part in the third season of the Founders web series.

    The team of creators of Ubooly already uses the funds received to develop updates for voice recognition technology so that the toy can better interact with children, and implement a new game mode for the Ubooly application, which does not require the toy itself to communicate with the character. Additional scriptwriters joined the company to help implement the plan in accordance with a tight schedule, according to which new content should be released every two weeks.

    One of Ubooly’s most obvious problems is that the toy was developed for the iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S (and the fourth generation of iPod touch). This means that the additional vertical space of the iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod touch will not work with it. But founder Karlie Glough said that at the moment this is an advantage.

    “I think the iPhone 5 release will have a great impact on Ubooly’s success,” she said. “People often put off their old iPhones after buying new ones, and, as they themselves tell us, Ubooly gives them the opportunity to start using their devices of previous generations again.”

    In the future, the Ubooly team will work to implement support for the latest version of iOS and Android devices. But while Gloug takes advantage of the opportunity that arose due to the presence of a large number of not the latest devices - after buying new phone models, parents often give old devices to their children. And these devices need accessories.

    There are other companies doing the same thing as Ubooly. For example, Totoya Creatures and Griffin's Woogie. But Ubooly's plan is more ambitious. The startup wants to build an entire prosperous ecosystem around its toys with applications that not only learn and grow with their children, but have their own use cases. For example, work is underway on a GPS application that can work as a virtual guide for children on vacation.

    The initial wave of interest helped to find money that would further develop and promote the product. But the key part of the equation in this case is content. It is he who makes Ubooly so special. And it is precisely on its quality and quantity that the success of the startup will depend.

    via TechCrunch

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