Kids love tablets and smartphones. There are a heap of studies indicating that, but you could also ask any tech-savvy parent and they’ll tell you the same thing. That’s why it’s no surprise that there are a few companies vying to become the trusted resource for parents looking to make sense of the various mobile app stores offering software for those devices. New entrant YogiPlay is publicly launching its kid-focused app network today for the iOS and Android mobile platforms.
YogiPlay provides developers with access to an software development kit (SDK) to help them incorporate additional features into their kid-friendly app. The platform, aimed at kids between the ages of three and eight, provides access to a Parent Center through apps using its SDK, through which parents can glean additional insights, as well as app recommendations based on their child’s interests.
The aim is to become essentially a mark of quality assurance when parents go looking for content for their children on app marketplaces, and YogiPlay isn’t the only company out there vying for that honor. BetaKit wrote about another similar effort underway by publisher/platform operator Fingerprint Digital, which debuted its own platform late last year and recently expanded its library of available titles. YogiPlay co-founder and CTO Michal Sellin told us in an interview that despite the similarities, YogiPlay offers a few things competitors do not, including what she sees as a distinct and intensive vetting process for partner developers.
“Every app promoted by YogiPlay goes through an intensive review process to certify and level each app for educational quality and engagement,” she told BetaKit. “YogiPlay has an in-house team of early childhood development and educational experts, who have created a rigorous rubric (system) for determining learning complexity and value.”
YogiPlay also takes a data-driven approach to measuring child progress, one with a bit more granularity than is usually offered by the competition. “When developers integrate their learning apps into the YogiPlay network, the system can then provide parents with meaningful insight into their child’s ‘in-app’ learning and play progress,” she said. “This important insight includes how long a child plays within an app, what levels/advancement the child is achieving and most importantly learning progress – is the child actually learning from the app.”
In addition to tracking kids’ progress, YogiPlay also offers virtual rewards to incentivize learning behavior, and provides curated, personalized app recommendations. The idea is that parents need help when it comes to navigating the app store jungle.
“Given the explosive growth of the mobile market and the sheer volume of apps for kids on iTunes and the Android marketplace, finding the right, high-quality learning apps for children is a daunting task for parents,” Sellin said. “With YogiPlay, parents will no longer have to search for the best learning apps, as YogiPlay does the searching, curating tailor-made recommendations automatically.”
Right now, Menlo Park-based YogiPlay is venture funded, with $1 million in seed support from DN Capital and Richmond Park Partners. Sellin didn’t reveal how exactly the company’s revenue plan works, saying simply that it will “evolve over time,” and that right now the team is focused on building out the product. If it can convince parents it’s the best choice in terms of a guide for navigating the waters of the increasingly crowded app stores, revenue from developers lining up to use its SDK is a definite possibility in terms of long-term viability.