Making Kids’ Art Last As Digital & Real World Memories with Keepy

There is a competitive niche in the innovation scene aimed at parents and families; last night I met a startup founder who wants to turn kids’ artwork into digital keepsakes.

Think of the Keepy app as an interactive family album or a virtual refrigerator door.

Parents using Keepy can capture images of their kids’ drawings and schoolwork, record a video or voiceover telling a short story about the creation, and then share it with select family and friends. The app is available on Apple iOS, Android devices, and Kindle Fire, and as of Friday, it came preloaded on the Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone.

There are other apps for saving or reproducing kids’ artwork, such as ArtKive, Plum Print, Canvsly, and Art My Kid Made. The field may be getting crowded, but the companies all seem to be chasing a need they see among parents.

I caught up with Keepy’s CEO, Offir Gutelzon, at Thursday night’s DigitalFocus consumer technology show in New York put on by Pepcom. Amid the usual mobile devices—and an appearance by actor Michael Gross from TV’s “Family Ties”—Keepy pushed its family-themed app.

After Gutelzon moved his family from Israel to New York, artwork from his young sons soon filled their new home. He wanted to save the visuals as well as the context behind them. Keepy was founded in New York in 2013 but relocated last September to Palo Alto, CA, Gutelzon said.

Posting pictures of kids’ artwork on Facebook, of course, is one way of sharing such things with family, Gutelzon said, but he wanted a more private option. “When you Facebook it, you get ‘Likes’ but the personal reaction never gets to the kids,” he said.

With Keepy, grandparents and other relatives can leave video comments for the kids.

People can use the free version of the app to record up to 15 memories per month, Gutelzon said. Unlimited access costs $30 for a year, or $5.99 per month, with pricing subject to change.

Gutelzon is looking for more ways to make kids’ art memorable. He said Keepy has deals, including some in the works, with other companies to convert their creations into physical objects. “We have a partnership  with Budsies that turns the artwork into plush animals,” Gutelzon said. There are also plans pending for Keepy art to become 3D-printed objects produced by Kids Creation Station, based in New York. “There’s many ways to turn those memories into real life,” he said.

Keepy previously raised more than $1.1 million in a seed round that included Winklevoss Capital and individual investors, and the company has more plans in the works. “We are in the process of raising more money,” Gutelzon said.

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