Roam & Wander plans to bring a teddy bear to life through the touchscreen of an iPad.
The bear, DiDi, is a stuffed animal that wraps around the iPad, and it represents the latest marriage of toys and technology.
The bear’s face and his tummy are actually exposed parts of the iPad touchscreen. You can brush DiDi’s teeth by touching the touchscreen, or watch animated content on his tummy. You can also play games on his touchscreen tummy, and DiDi can teach kids how to read through various apps.
The company has just launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise $25,000 for the project. It is the brainchild of Jason Warren and his startup Roam & Wander.
Roam & Wander already launched TuTu, another plush toy, in Asia, but it is just getting started in the U.S. with DiDi.
“I’m a parent, and I founded Roam & Wander to offer parents an alternative to Disney, by reimagining the way games, apps & toys come together, to create new entertainment and learning experiences for kids, based on legendary but long-forgotten characters,” Warren said.
DiDi encourages kids to take care of him. They can feed him, give him milk, brush his teeth, and rock him to sleep. That teaches kids how to care for themselves as well as others.
DiDi also makes use of “magic touch” accessories that add to the experience. These accessories have touch surfaces. Kids will be able to interact with DiDi through three “belly books,” three educational games, and other interactions.
The company is based in Hong Kong and it has opened an office in San Francisco. It was founded in 2012 and it has 21 employees, including 10 full-timers. Rivals include Mattel, Hasbro, Ubooly, and Zow Pow Toys.
Investors in a previous $1 million round of funding include 500 Startups, WI Harper, TMI, HK & TW angels. The company is going through the 500 startups accelerator in San Francisco.
“The toy industry is getting crushed by the mobile industry, both the brands and the retailers, because kids love to use the iPad rather than play with traditional toys,” Warren said.
Warren previously led HTC’s cloud services division. This is his third startup. He programmed his first video game before he was 10.