MeeGenius Leads Crowded Field of Interactive E-book Apps for Kids
Teaching children how to read often calls for a bit of demonstration to help them understand how words should sound and what they look like. A bevy of companies with e-reader apps want their share of the growing market of young readers, and MeeGenius in New York believes it can stand out by combining narration with the act of reading.
MeeGenius recently raised more than $2.4 million in a Series A round from Sunrise Capital, Broadway Angels, and angel investors. Wandy Hoh, CEO and co-founder of the company, says MeeGenius plans to expand its development, design, and editorial staff, as well as release new features for the app by year’s end.
MeeGenius’s app, much like other e-readers on the market, offers kids a lively interface to draw their attention, but it also includes such features as audio narrators who read the stories in ways comparable to parents or caregivers telling tales. Aimed at children eight years old and younger, the app also includes a text highlighting feature that helps kids to pick out words they may have trouble understanding. “A lot of it is a puzzle for kids,” Hoh says, “figuring out which letters make what sounds.”
She says her three-year-old company focused on the way kids would use the app as they discovered new books. “It’s not easy to get the user experience right for kids when it comes to reading,” she says. Hoh says she wanted to make the MeeGenius app available across multiple devices and platforms. So the app, released to the public in 2010, is available for Apple iOS and Android devices, the Google Chrome Web browser, and Google TV.
Keeping kids’ attention can be difficult, but Hoh says she steered away from overloading the MeeGenius app with games, videos, and other types of interactivity that some e-readers for kids use. Her strategy is to focus on reading but wants to … Next Page »