The Spanish startup, Blue Planet Tales, is aiming to increase the amount that children learn by creating interactive and fun tools. History lessons about Earth and humankind are written as adventures with engaging illustrations, and technology is utilized through gamification programs with sound effects and narrations in English and Spanish. KITE Invest spoke with the CEO of Blue Planet Tales to get a better look at how the startup is showing great growth potential.
KITE: What was the catalyst behind the start of Blue Planet Tales (BPT)?
Nacho Parra: Parents need applications that can let their children use tablets that are entertaining, are safe, and can also contribute to their education.
Schools need digital and interactive materials to use in different subjects due to the technological changes that are occurring in the classroom.
We took note of this gap and have created a product that satisfies both demands, transforming the most important moments of history and science in interactive stories taking advantage of the benefits of new technologies.
KITE: BPT focuses on historical lessons and important topics rather than grammar and mathematics. Why has BPT decided to focus on history, social studies and creative stories as its niche?
NP: It was a field in which we had experience and where there wasn’t much competition. On the basis that education is essential for us, we noticed that there were apps for introduction to reading, mathematics, and music…But there weren’t any that focused on history and science, even though they are curricular topics in schools and general culture that parents want for their children.
KITE: What benefits do BPT’s clients get when using BPT’s services rather than other competitors?
NP: For parents, mainly the education component, because, this is an application that entertains children, like other apps but with the benefit that provides an educational component that is very important for them in the purchase decision.
For schools, it is a good way to get into the different subjects, and for the kids who are the ones that are attracted to history and will want to know more. It is complicated to identify the advantage with the competition because there is no direct competition beyond the printed books that are used in class, and small ebooks on a specific subject. We do improve the product, the usability, the functionalities and the fact that we offer a complete library and not just a single subject.
KITE: BPT does not interact with social media, has the kidSAFE Seal, and all stories, illustrations and gamification tools are taught and supervised by teachers. To what extent is BPT already being used in classrooms, private tutoring and in the home?
NP: We are not aware that the app is being used in private tutoring, but we do know that it is used in schools. We found out that there was a hospital and two schools in US that discovered the app by themselves, and started to use it in class and recommended it to parents for the reading at home.
Following this we have begun a campaign to encourage the app in classrooms in the US and Latin America, and shortly we look forward to having a great number of schools using it; these schools will help us to improve the app and to have them as success stories in order to offer it to other schools that use tablets in class.
At homes we have a database of 30,000 users, mainly in the US, having barely begun with marketing activities. Those consulted tell us that their children love these tales, and they ask for new stories and tell their parents about characters in the history as we used to do with The Three Little Pigs or Sleeping Beauty. They like, learn and remember the stories, which at the end is our goal.
KITE: BPT’s products are offered in Spanish and English. Where is the current market for BPT, and are there plans of expanding and including other languages?
NP: The main market is the US because of the high penetration of tablets and the buying pattern of digital products, followed by the UK, Latin America and Spain. During this year we intend to translate and narrate all the stories to other languages, so we can break through to other European markets and emerging countries such as China, India and Brazil.
KITE: What is the company’s 5 to 10 year business plan?
NP: In the coming years we want to consolidate the product and develop it for both families and schools and be the number one in the market of the educational content development. We will have the product in paper and distribute it through ad hoc collections for each country, we want to develop a television cartoon series based on our content, we will also develop new apps following the concept of fun and education, and before 10 years we hope to have built a great company with several business lines and eventually sell it.
KITE: BPT is currently seeking funding of between €100k and €150k. Why is BPT looking to raise money at this point in the company’s trajectory?
NP: We are looking to raise money for two reasons. The first one is that right now we are involved in new changes in our engine in order to create new interactivity actions and reinforcement games within the books, and we need funds to finance it. But the main reason is that we have noticed that the product is being well accepted by the customers and the conversion rate is increasing, so we have decided that it is time to advertise Blue Planet Tales in at a higher scale so we need extra funds to do so.
KITE: What type of investment is BPT ideally looking for and what return on investment is being offered?
NP: We are looking for an amount of money of about €110,000 in exchange of a 10% of the company.
Our ideal investor would have links within the education or kids entertainment stakeholders in the US in order not only to inject money into the company but also to help with the expansion of the company.
Regarding the return, we expect that in 2018 we could reach €2 million in sales, following the business model of our main competitor (Play Tales), so it would imply an internal rate of return on the investment of about 200%.
KITE: Why do you think BPT is good investment?
NP: The main reason is because it is going to be a worthy investment in terms of returns of investment. And the reason for this is on the one hand our business model is highly scalable, by being in the apps stores we can reach a high number of potential clients with a low increase of structure. As well with the new engine, we can create new tales with a low amount of investment. On the other hand, we are focused in a great market niche, considering that education and recreation for kids is the kind of money parents are willing to pay without hesitation.