Several years ago when I was at Lerer Ventures, Sam Gerstenzang, our summer intern, recommended that I meet with Raul Gutierrez, Founder CEO of a Brooklyn-based creative studio called Tinybop. When Sam explained that Tinybop was building educational apps for kids, I was immediately skeptical because I’ve seen hundreds of companies in the space and my identical twin brother founded a children’s media studio, CloudKid. After some back and forth with Sam, I begrudgingly agreed to meet with Raul but promised that I would keep an open mind. Over the course of the next two years, Raul and I spent countless hours talking about the future of children’s media and his vision for building the next great education brand. To Raul’s credit, he was able to transform me from a skeptic to a believer. Despite the space being hyper competitive with thousands of app publishers, I truly believe that Tinybop is the one percent of the one percent. That’s why I’m incredibly excited and proud to announce that RRE has led Tinybop’s Series A Financing with participation from TwoSigma, KEC, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures and Kapor Capital.
So what exactly is Tinybop? Tinybop is building a constellation of highly immersive educational apps that are global, universal and timeless. Each application, along with their teaching guides and marketing collateral, is translated into more than 50 languages. They’re one of the first studios I’ve seen that is taking advantage of the collapsing digital divide. Additionally, the content is universal and evergreen, meaning the topics are relevant on every continent and will never fall out of favor with parents and educators. The company’s goal is to build a global media brand that teaches kids in every country about the world through play and exploration. Every single person at Tinybop deeply cares about education, design, creativity and community. The values of the team shine through their products when you experience them. The children’s space is littered with thousands of mediocre apps so the team at Tinybop is always pushing new boundaries with their apps.
Tinybop’s first series, The Explorer’s Library, helps children answer fundamental questions about the world and themselves. You can think of this series as the World Book Encyclopedia for the mobile age. Their first app, The Human Body, has been downloaded more than five million times in over one hundred and fifty countries. Additionally, The Human Body was named as App of the Week in September 2013 and Best of 2013 by Apple in dozens of countries. I’m also excited to announce Tinybop has just launched their second app in the Explorer’s Library, Plants. It’s an interactive diorama of the world’s biomes. Trying to describe the app won’t do it any justice so here’s the app’s trailer.
Pretty cool, eh? The Human Body and Plants are just the beginning. The company’s product roadmap is massive and ambitious. While we’re just starting our journey together, I’m inspired, honored and thrilled to help Raul and his team educate and inspire tens of millions of kids in every corner of the globe. Please join me in welcoming Tinybop to the RRE family.