Interview

Tangible Play on $2 million pre-orders, $12 million funding and Apple approval for its Osmo learning platform

Tangible Play on $2 million pre-orders, $12 million funding and Apple approval for its Osmo learning platform

Last time we spoke to Palo Alto-based educational disruptor Osmo - previously called Tangible Play - it was preparing to crowdfund its iPad-based learning system Osmo.

Five months on and much has changed.

For one thing, the company's just announced a $12 million Series A funding round, as well as the news Apple is selling its product in all its North American stores.

Oh, and pre-orders for the $79 peripheral and three game starter pack ($49 for backers) are now north of $2 million.

Rocket fuel

"Yes, we've had great traction," understates CEO and co-founder Pramod Sharma.

"I predicted our orders at this stage would be an order of magnitude smaller than they are."

Osmo - learning through play

Indeed, such as been the success of Osmo, which uses a simple clip-on mirror combined with the iPad's processing power and the company's computer vision smarts to enable kids to interact with the software by moving physical objects around in front of the iPad, that it had to redo its manufacturing tooling to meet demand.

Still, Sharma says he expects 2015 to be the year where the company really takes off.

"Our pre-orders are mainly from individuals. I think families are very sensitive to word-of-mouth recommendations so that takes time to grow," he says.

"We've also seen some bulk orders from schools, and we're testing in around 2,000 schools now, but it takes them more time."

Important in terms of gaining formal education buy-in is the ability to create custom learning programs, something the company is enabling with its online platform MyOsmo, whereby people can customise the existing Words software.

And, no doubt, this will be expanded in due course.

The write stuff

Yet, despite the success to-date, Sharma is keen not to forget the company's roots - not so long ago - in his garage.

"Despite the funding, we're currently 10 people focused on product and we don't expect to that change much," he says.

"It's about providing creative people with a great environment. Sure it's hard to find those people but we're not looking to staff up. We're looking to hire the right people."

You can pre-order Osmo from the company's website.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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