Tiggly, an iPad-inspired start-up, has launched a fundraising push in the US, including a listing on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, in a bid to secure $200,000.
Tiggly, founded by Phyl Georgiou and Steve Miller, has developed a toy called Tiggly Shapes, which is a set of plastic shapes that can be identified by an iPad.
Georgiou and Miller, who met at Harvard Business School, wanted to bridge the gap between the physical and virtual worlds for children by introducing a classic toy to the iPad.
“Steve has a two-year old. He was a bit worried about how much screen time his kid was getting, but not interacting with the iPad at the right depth,” Georgiou told StartupSmart.
“[We thought,] why don’t we put shapes onto the iPad?”
After raising a seed round from classmates, friends and family, Georgiou travelled back to Australia to develop “a really good prototype” and find a manufacturer.
He then returned to the United States, where he and Miller decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise additional funds and, to some extent, validate the market.
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“When you have a physical product it’s really hard for the venture capitalists to take the risk in a hardware start-up because there are a lot more costs,” he says.
“It’s hard to get a beta tester. We test with kids a lot but we can’t prove parents will pay $25 for our shapes.”
“To prove to VCs there’s market share, we said, let’s go to Kickstarter and appeal to early adopters who are willing to put their money down.”
“We need the cash as well, but definitely a part of the rationale is to show the world our product, show the world wants our product and then build the business on top of that.”
“Kickstarter is not make or break for us, maybe like some other projects.”
Tiggly is aiming to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter by November 21. So far, it has raised just over $13,000 from more than 330 backers.
Georgiou admits the campaign hasn’t gone as well as it could have due to other events.
“Part of the struggle we’ve had is because of Halloween, hurricane Sandy and the [US] election,” he says.
“One in 10 people who watch the video [on Kickstarter] contribute… but we’re not getting enough people watching the video.”
Once the Kickstarter campaign finishes, Tiggly is planning to raise up to $200,000 from US or Australian investors as it continues to promote its product.
“The plan we sort of shaped is to launch in January and get a bit of business around the product from online channels like mum blogs and maybe morning shows,” he says.
“We’ll go to the Toy Fair in New York in February and get some audits. Hopefully, we’ll be having a pretty big Christmas time in 2013.”
“Shapes are just the beginning in terms of what you can bring… to the iPad. The rate of parents letting their two-year-olds use iPads is just astounding.”