Africa’s the Pearl Dream, Inc is currently raising a 1.5 million dollar equity round to create more authentic digital content for its customers and bring critical team players on board.
“So far we have been bootstrapping, but we are currently raising a 1.5 million dollar equity round to create more authentic digital content for our customers and bring critical team players on board,” Brian Asingia the CEO told TechMoran.
With the funds, the firm aims to execute The Pearl Dream vision of becoming a global brand focused on authentic African experiences. By connecting the world through stories, DreamAfrica expects to evolve into DreamTV, a place for unlimited access to animations and videos; DreamRadio for unlimited access to music and audio; and DreamStories its current ebook library with illustrated stories.
The DreamAfrica channel for ebooks, audio and animations will be cross platform on mobile, web, TV, smart watches and airline/inCar systems. Gamification of the DreamAfrica ecosystem is also part of our future plans.
“We also hope to extend our retail offering via DreamStore to globally extend access to our animation inspired retail collection through strategic partners,” said Asingia. “We will continue to deliver great content to our users and building a digital ecosystem that creates value for our users, artists, authors, retailers and tourists. The Pearl Dream Inc through the DreamAfrica brand is going to continue to evolve as a relevant aspect of the family and educational experience of millions worldwide.”
Focused on authentic African experiences and connecting the world through the art of digital storytelling., The Pearl Dream Inc, the company behind the Dream Africa app wants to be the “Disney for Africa” by delivering educational and entertainment to families and schools worldwide through its DreamAfrica app for mobile, web and TV.
“Our community of authors, artists and partners help us create a future with authentic and timeless African stories for kids around the world, who get unlimited access to ebooks, audio, animations and games on and offline from the world’s largest digital collection of African stories, Asingia (CEO) and Franco Abott (CTO) told TechMoran.
Incorporated in April 2013 in Delaware by Kenyan born Franco Abott as CTO and Ugandan born Brian Asingia as CEO, the Pearl Dream’s main office is located in New York City.
The two, both graduates from Lafayette College in the USA, were inspired to launch The Pearl Dream, Inc. with a vision to deliver authentic African experiences to millions of people worldwide, on and offline.
“Our users appreciate the unlimited access to the world’s largest digital collection of African stories for kids through our DreamAfrica app for mobile, web and TV,” said Asingia. “We have a 10% conversion rate and just reached a strategic agreement with Ghana’s Alltel Ltd to pre-install DreamAfrica app on the K-Pad and K-Phone mobile devices with potential to reach a million plus users in their network. We will continue working with telecom companies like MTN, Airtel, Vodafone and hopefully Safaricom to deliver DreamAfrica seamlessly to millions of users across Africa.”
The DreamAfrica app works simply.
Authors submit original children stories or folk stories to The Pearl Dream. The firm’s team then illustrates them as ebooks and animates for DreamTV in addition to doing audio readings for its DreamRadio. Users pay a $1.99 monthly subscription fee for unlimited access to DreamAfrica, the world’s largest digital collection of African stories for kids. Customers enjoy unlimited reading of great illustrated storybooks, listening to audio readings and watching animation via DreamAfrica app for mobile, web and TV.
DreamAfrica is offered for a $1.99 monthly subscription fee. The DreamStore animation inspired item prices vary with The Pearl Dream receiving 5% royalty payments that are donated to literacy initiatives for kids.
Some of the challenges to the two include Intellectual property issues surrounding distribution and content acquisition rights. Licensing their animated shows to TV networks was initially considered but with increase in mobile use in Africa and the world, the two decided to deliver content directly to people via DreamAfrica app for mobile, web and TV.
“Since we are focused on delivering great content for our users, high-quality animation and game development is costly. While we have successfully run a lean production process by leveraging the cloud, automating distribution and reusing digital assets in our first year, funding is pivotal to our goals to scale up from here,” said Abbot.
As everything goes digital, there are competitors all over the continent all unveilling digital storytelling in Africa and abroad but the two say unlike their competition that suffers from “the danger of a single story”, the DreamAfrica app offers diverse content from all over Africa as Africans and users worldwide are expecting diverse and authentic content from all over Africa and not just Nigeria or any one culture or race.
“At The Pearl Dream, it is the diversity in content, production and users that will continue to move us forward as a relevant aspect of the family and educational experience of millions worldwide. The Pearl Dream, Inc is the first venture of ours, born from our shared passion for the art of storytelling and the business opportunity to deliver engaging African experiences to millions of people worldwide,” Asingia added.
As part of the DEMO Africa 40, the two say they feel honored to be a part of the startup community focused on Africa.
“The momentum of entrepreneurship is building, and we are excited for what that means on the continent. We look forward to sharing the feedback from our users, strategic partners and evangelists, and we hope to continue building strategic relationships with the investment community, key players in the telecom, airline and retail spaces,” they concluded.