Growl Media, the Dubai-based kids’ app developer, has successfully completed its first round of seed-round fundraising and launched its first mobile app under the Appy Kids brand, as the company pushes to become the region’s leading publisher of high quality content for mobile devices.
Following the successful July 2013 launch of “Appy Animals” – an interactive, educational language app designed to teach children Hindi – the company is set to launch a new Arabic language app in the coming months.
“Appy Animals” has received glowing praise from parents across Asia, the Middle East, the US and Europe for its distinctive animation, playful interactive features and colourful characters. The company’s founder and CEO, Dinesh Lalvani explains that this approach – hyper-local content and world-class design and development – will enable the company to stand out in a competitive market.
“The idea for the company began when I tried to find a high quality app to teach my own children Hindi. We realised there’s very little in the market that can really entertain kids and speak to their culture, and that this was a frustration shared by parents from all backgrounds,” said Lalvani.
“There are some great children’s apps coming out from the big publishers in the States and Europe, but there’s nothing being developed in the Middle East and Asia that can really meet that standard, which means our children are missing out,” he added.
With his experience as the co-founder of Flip Media, the region’s leading digital media and marketing company, Lalvani was able to secure seed-funding to launch a proprietary app development framework, “Eureekah,” which provides the foundation for Growl Media’s rapid development.
A cloud-based, cross-platform app development framework, Eureekah enables diverse teams around the world to develop unique content in a wide range of languages. While the main office is based in Dubai, Growl works with educationalists in the Middle East, India and Europe, and writers and musicians from across the world, all of who can collaborate on the apps through the platform.
“We see the opportunity to create a whole curriculum in a wide range of languages that children can access via mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones – development games, languages, basic maths and stories, all available at the touch of a screen. We’re building a whole library using the latest educational theories and practical research, and ensuring that all the content reflects the kids’ culture,” said Lalvani.
The potential audience for the apps is significant, with parents with children representing about 35 percent of Growl Media’s market footprint, which stretches from North Africa and Turkey, through the Middle East to South Asia and South East Asia. Parents from these developing countries living in the diaspora, represent a significant audience as well, as they especially face difficulties in instilling a sense of identity and cultural roots in their young children.
With the number of smartphone users in these countries growing every day – India alone has become one of the top three downloaders of Android apps – Lalvani believes there is incredible opportunity for a publisher that supports its customers’ educational aspirations.
“Dubai has been the ideal hub for our operation, since it brings together people from all backgrounds and all walks of life, and because it has its own creative energy. However, we’re deliberately a decentralised, global creative collective. We work with the best people in their home markets, because that’s how we ensure we’re delivering what our customers want for their children,” he concludes.
“Appy Animals” is available on the Apple App Store for $0.99. An Arabic version of Appy Animals – “Appy Animals Arabic” is also available on the Apple App Store for $0.99. The Android versions of these apps are set for launch in October 2013.