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iKids Summer 2014

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ikids_Summer 2014 14 Breaking new ground B y S c o t t Tr a y l o r In this developer's eye view of the North American children's tech startup landscape, 360KID founder Scott Traylor finds flourishing life—and dollars—in some pretty exotic places beyond New York and San Francisco. You may never look at Pittsburgh the same way again. As a Boston-based developer of children's games, I'm well aware of life outside the confines of New York and San Francisco. Of course, many kidtech startup businesses can be found in these two cities, with Toca Boca, Duck Duck Moose, Pley, Fingerprint, Curious Hat, Wanderful, Launchpad Toys and ToyTalk all dotting the Bay Area. And Tinybop, Hopscotch, Ruckus, Speekaboos, Hallabalu and MarcoPolo—to name a few—having set up shop in the Big Apple. In terms of venture investments, in the last five years in San Francisco and New York City alone, venture organizations closed more than 3,300 business deals in Silicon Valley to the tune of US$31.5 billion. New York saw more than 1,200 deals close with more than US$8 billion invested. However, only the tiniest sliver of these investments went to fund kidtech business. Less than two-tenths of one percent, or US$52 million, has been invested in kid-based technology companies in San Francisco in the last five years. An even smaller amount, just under US$34 million, was invested in New York City during the same period. The capital is there, no doubt, but it's not necessarily flowing in the direction of kid-centric businesses. A closer look at thriving startup communities specifically in Boulder, Colo- rado, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Kelowna, Canada, have offered refreshing insight into what it takes for a kids tech business to grow and succeed. Busi- ness success in the kids space isn't simply an entrepreneurial stew made up of creativity, talent and perseverance. It's about access to capital, and it also has a lot to do with where you start your business geographically. While the following new companies run the gamut from products to ser- vice-based in the areas of apps, eBooks, programmable robots and related interactive media, common threads across these three cities in which they are housed include a willing investment community, a local ecosystem that supports new business, entrepreneurial events that encourage business leaders to exchange ideas, and local universities where intellectual curiosity and talent can be shared with entrepreneurs. As

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