Name: Bilingual Storyteller Category: Social/Developmental Public Version of Idea

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Name: Bilingual Storyteller

Category: Social/Developmental
Public Version of Idea

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“Bilingual Storyteller” develops educational toys for bilingual families in the U.S. initially with plans to develop globally. Our social mission is to make the toy available to underprivileged families in the U.S. and in developing countries.
Business Concept
What, precisely, is the product or service you are proposing to sell?

The toy is a "global palace" (and add-on "global village" toy buildings) with toy characters and various cartridges containing multilingual interactive stories (fairy tales and folklore) and games. At certain points in the story, the child is prompted to select a character (by placing it on a touch-pad) and the storyline changes depending on who they select. Characters speak different languages and the story continues in the language of the character the child selects. Toy allows for multiple children to play at the same time. Stories include historical and cultural information in multiple languages. The languages include: Spanish, French, Hebrew, Russian, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Hindi, Arabic. Children can also place individual objects on touch-pads to hear the name of the object in various languages.

For underprivileged families who are not able to buy this toy, we will try to make it available to them by selling to bilingual schools, community organizations and libraries.

Uniqueness of toy:

- Focused on learning needs of bilingual children

- Advanced learning through stories, not just teaching individual words

- Children can interact with and influence the stories

- Parents can select the stories
How will you sell it? Where will you sell it?

Similar distribution channels as Leap Frog, our main competitor.

1) Large distributors (Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, KB Toys, Zany Brainy)

2) Online toy distributors (Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, KB Toys)

3) Sell directly to: Bilingual Schools (beta test), Libraries and Community Centers
Geographic area: Primary: U.S., Canada; Secondary: Europe, Israel, Japan;

Tertiary: Mexico, China, Morocco, Latin America, India

How do you make money?

Make money on selling initial hardware/software product. Follow-up revenue stream by: 1) selling additional packages of characters and story cartridges and 2) selling additional hardware "buildings" to add to the "global village."

Product line can be expanded by age group, language, type of story (ie. mystery, game, folktale, fairy tale) and specific need (ie. ESL).
Is your business model different from the industry standard?

Business model of independent educational toy company is similar to Leap Frog and Neurosmith. Difference in product offering is that competitors do not cater to a bilingual market nor do they offer combination of hardware with interactive multilingual characters and stories on cartridge.

Market / Customers

Who will you sell to?

Initially focus on Spanish-English speakers in U.S. market. Customers include bilingual children and, to reach underprivileged children, bilingual schools, libraries and community centers are also potential customers.

Why will they buy? What problem does your product solve?

Unique educational need to both maintain and interactively learn bilingual skill set, especially with decreasing government support for bilingual education on a national scale. Additional need to preserve cultural heritage among bicultural families, which our product addresses through cultural folk stories.

We plan to survey bilingual families and bilingual teachers to identity specific needs for bilingual families and educating bilingual children.
How big is the market? How many customers?

Half of the world population is bilingual - 3 billion people! Bilingual toys address a new, underdeveloped market niche among bilingual children. There are currently products for teaching Spanish and products for teaching English, but few that directly address the issue of bilingual students learning and maintaining both languages. There are rising numbers of non-English speaking Americans.

For the initial Spanish-speaking target audience in the U.S.:

Hispanic families: 35.3M (12.5% of total population)

Hispanic Children aged 0-14 years: 10.5M
Other bilingual children target audiences in the U.S. (also a test-bed for the international market):

French: 200,000; German: 170,000; Italian: 150,000; Chinese: 140,000; Japanese: 60,000; Arabic: 40,000; Hindi: 40,000; Hebrew: 20,000;

Total: 820,000
US non-bilingual children who are learning a second language to become bilingual: 30M

To reach underprivileged children: (work with National Association of Bilingual Education - NABE)

Bilingual schools, Libraries, Community groups

Total U.S. market: 40 million children
Potential Global Market:

Canada: 3M

Mexico: 34M (children aged 0-14)

France: 6M

Israel: 6M

Japan: 13M

China: 100M

Morocco: 3M

Latin America: 50M

India: 100M

Total Select Global Target Market: 310 million children
What is the possible total revenue?

350 million children @ $20 per toy = $6.2 billion market. (If only 10% of all children have the product bought for them, that is still a $700 million market.)

Product value: equivalent of 1 children’s multilingual book @ $10 and toy building with toy characters @ $20 = $30.
Toy product price breakdown:

$5 production cost

$3 sales, marketing

$4 retailer

$3 continued R&D

$5 profit


Total price per toy: $20

Story cartridge/additional characters price breakdown:

$2 cost (copy software, make characters)

$3 retailer

$5 profit


Total price per cartridge: $10

Competitive Advantage

Who is your competition? What other products are already in the market?

Niche Educational Toy Space: Leap Frog, Neurosmith, Language Littles. These companies all produce uni-lingual educational toys as well as few toys targeted at uni-lingual children learning a second language (not targeted at bilingual children).

What do your customers use now instead of your product or service?

Books, TV, computer, family interaction, decreasing bilingual classroom exposure.

Why is your idea and team better than the competition?

Address specific needs of bilingual children. Aim to distribute to underprivileged communities.

What stops other people from copying you?

Intend to patent language software and hardware. Rich Fletcher has already developed the touch-pad technology.

How much money do you need?

We need $4 million to develop a prototype in multiple languages for the product.

When? What will you use it for?

We would like to stage funding according to these development milestones:

  1. $0.5M: Develop concept/content, tests on bilingual children (6 months)

  2. $2.5M: Develop software and hardware for Spanish language version (1 year)

  3. $1M: Develop software for multiple languages, find OEM (6 months)

Where do you plan on getting it?

Either VC, angel and/or partner with a company like Disney.

Will also look into subsidies, grants and NGO assistance to distribute product to underprivileged children in developing countries (most likely distribute to community centers or schools).

When does your cash flow become positive?

We break even in 5 years (2 years of development and 3 years of sales).

To break even, we need to sell 800,000 toys or cartridge packages in 3 years. ($4M development costs/$5M profit per toy/cartridge package = 800,000 toys needed to break even.)

Conservative growth estimate:

Year 1:

50,000 Spanish toy products sold @ $20 = $1M

10,000 additional cartridges sold @ $10 = $100,000

Year 2:

100,000 Spanish toy products sold in U.S. @ $20 = $2M

50,000 Spanish toys sold internationally @ $20 = $1M

50,000 Various other language toys sold @ $20 = $1M

40,000 additional cartridges sold @ $10 = $400,000
Year 3:

200,000 toys sold in the U.S. @ $20 = $4M

200,000 toys sold globally @ $20 = $4M

100,000 additional cartridges sold @ $10 = $1M

Year 4:

300,000 toys sold in the U.S. @ $20 = $6M

300,000 toys sold globally @ $20 = $6M

200,000 additional cartridges sold @ $10 = $2M

Team Description
A one-paragraph bio of each team member and the role that s/he will play in the venture.
Katherine Barr - Business Development, Strategy (

Nadya Direkova - Designer (

Rich Fletcher - Engineer (, has already developed the touch-pad technology for the product.

Federica Busa - Engineer, Linguist (


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Additional info:

Hispanic median family income: $34,397

Population (age 3+) of Hispanic origin enrolled in public school: 8.8M (92.4%)
Production: OEM in Mexico or China

Production Cost: $5 industry average for basic toys with simple electronics (on average, production cost of toy is 20% of retail price)

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