Ugandan born Brian Asingia and Kenyan born Franco Abott loved African folklore, but they were staying miles away from their African folks who would tell them an of the stories and would not find the stories anywhere online.
The two want to change all that with their new venture. DreamAfrica offers illustrated eBooks, animations, voice-overs and quizzes of kids stories from Africa. Both folk stories and fiction are shared from authors all over Africa.
TechMoran met the New York-based duo and they let us into what inspired them and their palns for their startup.
3. How did the idea of the business come into being?
Franco Abott, CTO, and I both studied here in the US for school and notice the lack of easily accessible African edutainment. Our initial focus was to illustrate folk stories but we have grown into both folk stories and original stories from writers all over Africa. Our mission is now to create and share authentic African experiences on and offline.
4.Where do you get your stories?
Authors submit original stories. The Pearl Dream team of illustrators and animators do their magic by illustrating the works and produce eBooks and video animations. We then publish these stories to our DreamAfrica app and use images to create merchandise for our ecommerce site, DreamStore.
5. How do users benefit?
For just $1.99 per month subscription fee, users unlock the world’s largest digital collection of African stories for kids. They gain access to illustrations, animations, quizzes and voice-overs from all over Africa. Most importantly, they interact with authentic content. All this can be accessible on and offline via iPhone, iPad, Android and soon web connected devices starting May 1st.
5. How many downloads on both platforms?
Just under 500 downloads during our BETA testing program from December to March 2014. We expect this numbers to increase since our official launch at NY TechDay on April 22th in New York with a followup exhibit coming up soon in Brooklyn at the Northside Festival, Brooklyn’s SXSW-style discovery festival of innovation, music and film with nearly 100,000 attendees on June 12-19.
6.Any similar product in the market?
There are companies both big and small trying to deliver African content to the world. Our content is accessible globally on and offline.
7.How unique are you from them?
The Pearl Dream Inc differentiates itself and its DreamAfrica app by offering authentic African experiences. We partner with authors from all over Africa and are expanding our educational partnerships by offering 50% discounts to schools and libraries. Contributors and users of our products directly create a positive impact on Africa’s sustainable development through art, music, education, media and travel.
8.How do you make money out of it?
Our DreamAfrica app has subscription moel of $1.99 per month per user who can access the content on up to three devices with one account. Our bulk accounts for libraries and schools have a 50% subscription discount with accounts sold in blocks of 10, 50, or 100 users. We also sell animation inspired merchandise like iPad cases, clothes or cups on our DreamStore with funds donated to sustainable development initiatives in Africa.
9. Are you self funded or have investors?
We are currently self funded but are actively in talks with potential investors. Additional funding would help us scale our TV series and game development efforts.
10. What should we expect from your company in the next 12-18 months?
The Pearl Dream Inc will be focusing on rolling our DreamAfrica on multiple platforms such as Roku, InCar systems, TV and more. In addition, we hope to leverage our existing partnerships to increase the value of our brand via retail and game development. Most importantly, our customers will continue to experience improved performance and service offering from our creative team who hard tirelessly to deliver authentic African experiences to the world on and offline. This can be achieved through having DreamAfrica pre-installed on mobile devices.