Q&A with Woozworld co-founder and CEO Eric Brassard about building a social site for tweens and the $6 million the company recently raised
Woozworld is an online social massive multiplayer game for tweens. The Montreal–based company was founded in 2009 and recently raised $6 million in new funding.
SUB: Please explain what Woozworld is, and the value proposition you offer to children and parents.
Brassard: Woozworld is a massive multiplayer user-generated social game for tweens—ages 9-14. Socialization, role-playing and user generated content are at the center of the players experience.
Woozworld has created a unique hybrid between a social network and virtual world that allows tweens to interact and engage with each other and express their social skills. In this universe, which they have built together, kids create, exchange, support each other and have fun. Thus, Woozworld is a true reflection of their dreams and values. We are COPPA compliant and certified by the neutral third-party service provider PRIVO (http://www.privo.com).
An example of the success of the formula: Woozworld created 50 virtual spaces in January 2010 and users have since built 14 million spaces of all types—restaurants, adoption centers, businesses, wedding chapels, etc.
SUB: How does the technology behind Woozworld work?
Brassard: We have an online application and a mobile one. Online application: www.woozworld.com –frontend: Flash, backend: MySQL, PHP, Java.
iOS app: Woozworld’s secrets—frontend: iOS native, backend: same as the online app.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Brassard: It’s hard to say, since there is not a lot of user-generated social game for tweens out there. In fact, we consider WeeWorld, Meez and Mochi Monster as our director competitors. But none are both COPPA compliant and user-generated while serving 9-14 year-olds.
SUB: What do you offer that differentiates Woozworld from your competitors?
Brassard: Woozworld’s UGC approach enables tweens to build entire virtual lives as though they were young adults all the while being in a secure environment.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind Woozworld? What there an “aha” moment, or was it longer in developing?
Brassard: Three years ago, after years of testing new online games and analyzing the market, it was clear that there was a hole in the web 2.0 offer for the tweens and that the growth in revenue and users in this particular target would increase for the upcoming years. We then decided to pivot one of our existing products (named KidStudio at the time) and to create a spin-off company out of the mother company (Tribal Nova Inc.). The study showed that kid’s definition of tweens didn’t match the adult view of 7-12 year olds. Instead, users’ desires and behaviors are best regrouped by serving the 9-14 segment.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building Woozworld?
Brassard: Developing business intelligence into the center piece of decision-making took a lot of focus, skills and energy, but is now paying off.
SUB: You recently raised $6 million in new funding—how do you plan to use the funds?
Brassard: Develop subsequent phases of the product—including mobile—and accelerate market traction.
SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise new funding?
Brassard: We have to admit that timing was not easy and required to show solid traction to secure.
SUB: Do you plan to raise more outside funding in the near future?
Brassard: Unsure yet, will depend on the acceleration we choose to invest in.
SUB: Where do you hope to see Woozworld in a year from now?
Brassard: To have consolidated our place among category leaders by becoming a hub of interests from a social, gaming and entertainment perspective.
Woozworld – www.woozworld.com