Q + A
Tinybop, a DUMBO-based studio, came out recently with a new kids ios App, The Human Body, that was met with a roaring success. The Human Body is the first App released in Tinybop Explorer’s Library, which is described as, “a new series of games that help children develop a foundational understanding of the world. While we have previously introduced the app, we now introduce the creatives behind the success of the app through the words of Raul Gutierrez, Founder and CEO of Tinybop. There were many talented collaborative hands responsible for the creation of The Human Body and Raul shares some insight as well as inspiration on Tinybops journey to success.
We heard at Brooklyn Beta that Tinybop got started out of Studiomates with an idea for children’s apps. Is there anything you can share about how Tinybop came together / philosophy in putting together the team and business?
A few years ago, one of my kids was approaching his sixth birthday and asked me if he could trade his birthday party for an iPhone. That question knocked me out; it made me realize just how important the iPhone was to him. It was his favorite toy. I began carefully studying the apps my kids were consuming, but wasn’t impressed by what I discovered. That experience made me want to create great, original digital toys that are native to mobile and aren’t just translations of other games or content from the web, tv, or from books.
Everyone at Tinybop believes that kids are explorers, so our apps encourage children to ask questions about themselves and their world. Our first app, The Human Body, embodies a lot of these ideas.
For most of our first year we only had 3 people on staff, but we’re growing fast. Now at 11, our team is made up of people who have worked at the intersection of education, tech, design, and art, and are excited about science, books, and all kinds of esoteric knowledge. We’re people who ask a lot of questions ourselves, and bring our stories and experiences into the design process. These are values that we try to translate into our apps.
Also, we heard at Brooklyn Beta that you had incredible sales success / Apple fame in the app store. Can you share some of the details?
Our first month in the App Store far exceeded our expectations. We were featured around the world in large part because we localized in over 50 languages. By then end of the first month, we had kids from 108 countries playing our app!
In late September, Apple featured us as their free App of the Week in all 155 App Stores. During those seven days, we received 4.7 million downloads. The numbers blew our socks off. Most importantly, we’ve been getting great feedback from parents and teachers around the world. Now, we’re deep into the production of our next apps. We have great things in the works. Stay tuned!
What kind of experiences can we look forward to in The Explorer’s Library?
The Explorer’s Library is the first series of Tinybop apps designed to help children understand themselves and the world around them.
Think about the burning questions you may have had when you were a child: How do fish survive in the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean? Why does your heart beat faster when you run? Why do leaves change color? Through a long line of titles covering big picture ideas, our apps encourage children to ask questions like these. If we do our jobs, we’ll both educate and inspire wonder through interaction and play.
Why DUMBO as a home base? / What attracted you to DUMBO?
I’ve always loved DUMBO, even back when it had a reputation as a sketchy no man’s land. I come from a small town in Texas and DUMBO is so quintessentially New York-y—from the bridges to the cobblestone—super appealing.
In 2010, after leaving a job, my friend Tina Roth (aka Swissmiss) invited me to set up shop at Studiomates, the co-working space famous for it’s amazing designers and great views. I spent almost two years as part of that community planning Tinybop, sketching my ideas for the company and our apps. Little by little, the idea gelled. I started to bring in other people and build a team.
Once the company was up and running, we moved into our own space two floors down from Studiomates. (Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, also based in DUMBO, is one of our backers). The Studiomates community continues to be a constant sounding board for new ideas. In a way we never left–—we talk constantly, whether over beers after work, or popping by each others’ spaces.
Purchase app here — and as Raul said, Stay tuned!