Featured Startup Pitch: Popar Toys is bringing Augmented Reality technology to children’s playtimes
Founder: Scott Jochim
Headquarters: Tempe, Arizona
Year Founded: 2010
Investors: Privately funded
Brief Company Description: Popar Toys use Augmented Reality to create an interactive and educational experience for children through books, applications and games.
Popar Toys, a division of Digital Tech Frontier, uses Augmented Reality technology to allow children to interact with books, educational games and applications. The idea was birthed out of years of working to bring Virtual Reality applications into the classroom. When you watch a child hold the earth in their hands and understand the size relation to the sun for the first time, you know you are working with something important. After watching the impact that technology can have on education, Popar Toys was developed to make Augmented Reality accessible and affordable to everyone.
Popar Toys is a line of Augmented Reality children’s books, games, and mobile applications. A Popar Book works with a webcam to bring Augmented Technology to life. As a child holds a Popar Book up to a computer, the entire book will come alive—explaining educational lessons and allowing interaction with every part of the book.
Popar Toys has also introduced new mobile technology that allows you to use Popar technology from anywhere. In addition, we released a mobile application that turns everyday household items (like a dollar bill) into fun and interactive games. Currently, the Popar Book series includes Bugs, Construction, Planets, and Princess and Her Pals. Popar Technology works on both a Mac and PC computer and applications are available for iPhone, Android and iPad.
It has always been extremely important for me to have a career that is rewarding, challenging and fun. I want to use my imagination to make a difference in people’s lives.
When I finally gave up on my dream to become a real life Indiana Jones, I decided on a degree in Industrial Psychology. However, half way through my college experience I met an engineer who was working on a Virtual Reality (VR) project that involved simulating atoms in a near freezing state through VR goggles and 3D interface gloves—basically cancer research in a virtual world. It fascinated me that you could play in a world that has no boundaries or limitations. I loved the idea that you could work in a virtual world while making a difference in real life. It was a field where adults could be kids.
Before starting my own company I worked for a variety of companies where I built military simulators, worked in Virtual Reality training, education, and entertainment, and studied engineering and best business practices. Through all my experience, the most important lesson I learned was that with enough passion, you can do anything you set your mind to. After using my technology background to do everything from motion simulators to cancer therapy, I finally started my own venture—Digital Tech Frontier, and eventually launched Popar Toys.
Branding is key for the Popar products, as well as all of the companies that I represent. Our main factor in driving sales is an interactive website and consistent media presence. Thus far, we have sold all of our products through popartoys.com and a couple Phoenix specialty realtors. However, as the brand has started to gain momentum through PR, we are looking forward to promoting the products on QVS and eventually selling’s through larger retailers.
I have had the pleasure to work with Tony Felice PR and Image Management for over a year now. With their assistance, Popar Toys has been featured in over 65 publications including Wired, Consumer Reports, TD Monthly, and VentureBeat. In addition, Popar Toys were featured as “Best of the NY Toy Fair” on the View and earned the National Parenting Association’s Seal of Approval, all within the first year. All of these amazing media opportunities have been the largest driving factor in sales to date.
How Popar Toys Differentiates Itself from the Competition
Augmented Reality (AR) technology is really starting to make headway into the market in the last year. However, I was in the unique position to be the first to market affordable AR technology in the United States geared towards children. Being run by Digital Tech Frontier also differentiates us from competitors. We develop all of our technology in-house ourselves and I oversee and monitor everything happening with not only my products, but also in the AR world. This allows us to move fast and evolve our technology quickly.
Furthermore, Popar Books is one of the only Augmented Reality products that allows actual interactions with the technology. Many AR applications bring images to life but everything is set—you might as well be watching a video. Popar Toys allows you to play with and move around visuals on every page.
Digital Tech Frontier, my main company, operates a variety of other divisions including Popar Toys. Digital Tech Frontier is a leader in Virtual Reality Technology for entertainment and education and has worked with brands such as IBM, AT&T, Universal Studios, Lego, and Disney. Popar Toys is an ever-expanding line of books, games and mobile applications. Our clients include specialty retail stores, schools, and individual families. The launch of Popar Toys has been a natural transition from Virtual Reality to Augmented Reality and I have been blown away with the amount of success we have seen in such a short time. The future looks very bright for Popar Toys.
Popar Toys – www.popartoys.com