Inquisitive Minds Launches Zoodles, a Free, Safe Way for Young Kids to Play and Learn Independently OnlineCompany Also Announces $2.6 Million in Seed Funding From Harrison Metal Capital
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Inquisitive Minds, Inc.:
"The average child spends one out of every three minutes they are awake watching TV"
- Inquisitive Minds, Inc., today announced the official launch of its first product, Zoodles, a fun, simple and free way for kids, aged two to eight, to safely access the Web so they can independently play and learn online.
- The company also announced that it has secured $2.6 million in seed financing, primarily from leading early-stage investment fund Harrison Metal Capital.
- Through the Zoodles Kids' Browser, children can safely and independently explore their own virtual playground filled with hundreds of fun, age-appropriate games, puzzles and videos, chosen by a team of education experts. Through its Premium Membership, Zoodles offers parents the ability to customize their child's online learning experience based on their age, interests, educational needs and skills.
- Zoodles was recently awarded a Seal of Approval from the National Parenting Center, America's leading parenting advocacy organization, the Parent's Choice Award from The Parent's Choice Foundation, the nation's oldest nonprofit consumer guide to quality children's media, and the coveted Gold Award from the National Parenting Publications (NAPPA), a seal given to the best children's products and parent resources.
- Zoodles Kids' Browser: With the safe, full-screen Zoodles Kids' Browser, playing online is as easy as watching TV. Zoodles' smart interface keeps children from wandering around on the Web or the computer so parents don't have to look over their shoulder. The interface and content continually adapt as kids grow and their skills improve, so Zoodles for a three year old is different than Zoodles for a five year old.
- Designed for Independent Play: Since Zoodles adapts and grows with each child, kids don't get stuck on pages with age-inappropriate games or content. Smart design features like large tabs, mouse controls adapted to small hands and an interface that doesn't require reading skills means kids can play (and play, and play) independently.
- Personalized Playground: Every child has their own virtual playground filled with hundreds of fun, age appropriate games, puzzles and videos, handpicked by Zoodles team of educational experts. With content from over 100 leading sites, kids are sure to find their favorite branded characters and subjects. Content is continually added so that every day there is something new to discover.
- The Parent Dashboard: Through its Premium Membership, Zoodles gives parents smart tools to guide their child's online experience. Parents can further customize Zoodles by shaping the content and subjects (i.e. ramping up the math and science games in their child's playground), setting play time limits, blocking specific branded characters or sites, and setting other preferences. The Premium Membership also includes ad blocking functionality. Zoodles keeps parents up-to-date on their child's activities through frequent email progress reports.
- High-Quality Content: By gathering trusted educational content from across the web in one place, Zoodles gives parents the best of the Internet, customized for their child. Everything on Zoodles has been hand-selected, tested and rated by our team of educational experts, so parents can feel good that their child is seeing high-quality content.
- "The average child spends one out of every three minutes they are awake watching TV," said Mark Williamson, CEO and co-founder of Zoodles. "We designed Zoodles with the goal of giving families an alternative that is safe, engaging, interactive and educational. We believe that the Web can be a great independent play destination for young kids and that is what we've built with Zoodles."
- "We see tremendous market opportunity in the child education and entertainment markets," said Ben Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies. "Already multi-billion dollar industries, it's clear that parents value these types of services. I am passionate about using technology as an educational tool, and believe it is an important part of our children's future. After having kid-tested Zoodles with my 5 and 7 year-old daughters and explored the parent features, I see it as a useful tool for parents and a fun place for kids to play."
- "As a first grade teacher, when parents ask me for educational websites, I highly recommend Zoodles because it's easy for parents and fun for their children," said Sandy Tamasi, a Florida-based first grade teacher and mother of two children, ages six and three. "I really like that I can select the subjects I want my kids to work on and that I no longer have to search for age-appropriate websites, Zoodles has done all of that for me! The parent dashboard is a great way to let me know at-a-glance what my kids have been up to."
- "Everything I have found on Zoodles is safe, so I don't worry when my 6 year old granddaughter signs on by herself and goes where she wants to within Zoodles," said Lynne De Boer, a grandmother in California. "She never gets bored and I'm learning a lot about her in the process. I love that Zoodles makes it so easy for children by automatically putting the shortcut right on my desktop so she can get to Zoodles effortlessly."
- "With Zoodles, I feel comfortable leaving my four year old daughter on her own on the computer without worrying she's going to mess up my PC," said Nitza Hidalgo, a Massachusetts mother of one. "She has learned so much from Zoodles' online games and loves that she can play on her own. I would much rather have her playing Zoodles than watching television."
- Visit our press room for company logos, screenshots and product demo videos
Mark Williamson, a father of two, founded Inquisitive Minds, Inc in late 2008, with the goal of harnessing the power of the Internet to create a safe, engaging and interactive place for young kids to play and learn. The company soft-launched its first product, Zoodles (www.zoodles.com), in April 2009. By gathering the best educational content from across the Web in one kid-friendly place, Zoodles finally gives parents an alternative to the television for independent playtime. Zoodles was recently awarded a Seal of Approval from the National Parenting Center, America's leading parenting advocacy organization, the Parent's Choice Award from The Parent's Choice Foundation, the nation's oldest nonprofit consumer guide to quality children's media, and the coveted Gold Award from the National Parenting Publications (NAPPA), a seal given to the best children's products and parent resources. Based in Mountain View, California, the company is backed by Harrison Metal Capital and led by a team of parents, engineers and education experts who love to help kids learn.
About Harrison Metal Capital
Harrison Metal Capital (www.harrisonmetal.com) invests in early stage, technology driven businesses led by exceptional entrepreneurs.
They look for unique combinations of leaders and ideas seeking to:
- Create extraordinary value in the daily lives of users
- Compete in large markets in transition
- Capture a share of value created through a sound economic model
- Build a team of creative, results driven people
Posted: May 13, 2010
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