Featured Startup Pitch: EQtainment offers educational toys, games and books focused on teaching emotional intelligence

Sofia Dickens EQtainmentBy Sofia Dickens, EQtainment founder and CEO

ELEVATOR PITCH

EQtainment helps parents and teachers practice social skills and behavior with their kids through fun and affordable games, toys and videos.

FOUNDER’S STORY

Years ago as a student at Harvard, I came across the groundbreaking research revealing that emotional intelligence (social skills, creative thinking, leadership qualities, and self-control) may be a greater indicator of life success than academics. After years as a television host in educational media, I became a mom of three, and this topic became even more profound to me. I asked myself: “If parents and many experts agree that emotional intelligence skills are the key to school readiness and success, then why are only a select few schools teaching these abilities?” And after parents all over the country shared their concerns about their children’s behavior, self-control, and social skills, I made it my mission to provide simple, fun, and affordable tools to teach these game-changing skills to kids everywhere. So I created a family of products that allows parents and teachers to practice ‘EQ’ with their kids.

I learned from my roles in television that adding a touch of entertainment could make any subject matter fun and compelling. I was video correspondent for the Emmy award winning quiz show, Jeopardy!, an anchor of Channel One News, seen by eight million teens daily in schools across America, and I reported live from the red carpet for Tru Tv’s Hollywood Heat. But the best preparation for launching EQtainment was having three kids with different personalities.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

EQtainment products, games and tools revolve around Q the Monkey. Q is a genius monkey with A LOT to learn about life. In the board game ‘Q’s Race to the Top,’ children help Q race to the top of his tree house by answering questions and performing fun actions. The questions are designed to promote feeling identification and verbalization, manners, social skills, creative thinking, balance and coordination. The board game is currently available online at www.eqtainment.com and will be in a major retailer by January, 2015. Each game comes with 150 question and action cards and the first storybook, Q’s Wild Ride.

Additional products available on our website in December, 2014, and on retail shelves across the country January 4, 2015, include the Q Time Buddy, a loveable plush monkey that helps children practice focusing their attention and managing emotions; Q’s Wild Ride Read-Along Storybook; Q’s Coloring Book, where children can get to know Q and his family while learning how to handle social scenarios; and Q’s Race To the Top On The Go Pack, which allows children to take the game’s fun questions and actions with them on the go.

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MARKET OPPORTUNITY

EQtainment products are in the middle of five multi-billion-dollar markets, including the kids media market, the pre-school and elementary mobile app market, children’s publishing, the edutainment toy market, and e-learning for K-12.

We have a short- and long-term growth plan that will allow us to enter all of these markets, starting with the lovable character ‘Q,’ a genius monkey that lacks the social and emotional skills to navigate life in a human family. ‘Q’s Race to the Top’ and accompanying books and toys will be available online during the 2014 holiday season, and will be distributed through a major retailer January, 2015.

MARKETING/PROMOTION STRATEGY

We knew from the start of our focus testing a year ago that once we got our first board game (Q’s Race to the Top) and storybook (Q’s Wild Ride) into the hands of moms and educators, kids would love the game and characters, and parents would love the educational value and bonding time. So we invited 50 top mom bloggers to share their experiences with their followers. We launched a Kickstarter campaign to create additional buzz and gain support from parents and influencers in the space. As we ramp up for our retail launch in January, 2015, we will incorporate a more traditional PR campaign and explore creative ways to engage educational and parent groups across the country.

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DIFFERENTIATORS

Each one of EQtainment’s products serves as a fun and easy-to-use teaching tool and is supported by research and case studies on emotional intelligence. I believe my experience as an educational television host and the engaging brand character, Q, add to the authenticity and uniqueness of the EQtainment brand. We also have a rock-star group of advisors that are helping us explore every possible extension of our mission.

BUSINESS MODEL

EQtainment’s first two products, the board game ‘Q’s Race to the Top’ and storybook, Q’s Wild Ride provide a perfect format for introducing our brand character to kids and the social and emotional concepts to parents.

In the game, children can help Q race to the top of his tree house by answering questions and performing fun actions. The questions are designed to promote feeling identification and verbalization, manners, social skills, creative thinking, balance, and coordination. Q’s Wild Ride tells the story of one of Q’s adventures, where he learns to think before taking action and be aware of how other people are feeling.

While the game and storybook lay the foundation for the EQtainment product line, the educational tools, toys, apps, and videos coming at the start of 2015 will introduce parents and kids to a side of education rarely broached by the typical ‘brainy’ toys and games on the market.

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EQtainment logoHEADQUARTERS: Los Angeles

WEBSITE: www.eqtainment.com

FOUNDERS: Sofia Dickens

YEAR FOUNDED: 2014

TWITTER: @EQtainment

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/eqtainment

PINTEREST: pinterest.com/EQtainment/

YOUTUBE: youtube.com/user/EQtainment

KICKSTARTER: bit.ly/EQtainment

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