P.J. Gunsagar, co-founder and CEO of Kidaptive and Dylan Arena, co-Founder and chief learning scientist of Kidaptive
What is the mission of your company?
Our mission is to help children learn and have fun through tablet based interactive animated storytelling and a curriculum developed in collaboration with Stanford University researchers. We are also dedicated to empowering parents in this process.
Explain your business model—how do you make money?
We make money by selling Apps. Our first product, Leo's Pad, is a series of 25 Apps (or "Appisodes"). Leo's Pad is based on a young Leonardo Da Vinci and his group of friends, each a playfully re-imagined historical figure, including Gally (Galileo Galilei), Marie (Marie Curie), Fusch (Confucius), etc. Through Leo's Pad we will deliver an evergreen service to children and parents, representing a much richer and more sustained experience than the typical single-purpose apps that currently exist.
Who do you compete with in this space and how are you different?
We primarily compete with two types of companies-
1. Educational App companies like Duck Duck Moose, THUP Games, and Toca Boca
2. Traditional Entertainment and Edutainment companies like Disney, Nickelodeon, PBS Kids, and Sesame Street
We're different because of our focus on a comprehensive early-learning curriculum and commitment to high production values and quality across animation, storytelling, and game development. We also offer an online learning portal and parent dashboard called "Parent's Pad", so parents can better understand their child's social and educational milestones, strengths, and development areas.
Where are your headquarters?
Palo Alto, Calif.
# of full-time employees?
Key Investors ?
Menlo Ventures, Prana Holdings, Inc., Veddis Ventures, and NewSchools Ventures
Since 2003 P.J. Gunsagar served as co-founder and president of Prana Studios, a leading 3D animation and visual effects studio with approximately 1,000 employees based between Los Angeles and Mumbai, India. Prana produces award-winning content, animation and visual effects for the film, television, and themed entertainment industries. Gunsagar managed the company's 3D animation studio in India and supported penetration of Prana's products/services globally.
Before starting Prana, Gunsagar worked at Intel Capital advising software and services companies within Intel's Asia portfolio. He also co-founded and led the business development efforts at Ettache.com in San Francisco, which was acquired by Adhesion Technologies in 2001. He has also worked at UBS Warburg as a mergers and acquisitions Investment Banker focused on the technology sector.
Gunsagar has earned bachelors degrees in Economics, Business and Political Science from UCLA and a Law Degree from Stanford University.
Dylan Arena is a learning scientist with a background in cognitive science, philosophy, and statistics. He has run many experimental studies, presented at numerous conferences, and written multiple publications on the topic of game-based learning.
Arena started out as a software developer at Oracle, but after a few years he returned to graduate school at Stanford, where he worked on both game-based learning and next-generation assessment as a MacArthur Emerging Scholar in Digital Media and Learning.