Hugo Filipe Ribeiro worked in marketing and sales at large companies in the telecoms industry, before founding magikbee, and he is here today to talk about just that.
Tell me about your business
We are an ed-tech startup focused on designing fun and educational toys, games and apps for young kids – always using innovative technologies. The business started with one product, magik play – a set of wooden building blocks with which kids play games and solve puzzles on the screens of tablets – but we have since had new ideas, and found interesting ways to deploy the technology, and as such have broadened our product portfolio substantially – and with it, the potential of the business.
Why start so young with technology?
Technology is heavily integrated into almost everything we do today, and the reality is that even the youngest kids have access to devices. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s our mission to create products that children can use safely, and that can contribute to their development – even at the earliest stages. Our latest product, for example, which is an app called kiddZtube, helps kids practice spelling, counting, colours, and much more – all while they watch their YouTube favourites.
Who is your target audience and how do you communicate with them?
We have two primary target audiences: parents of young kids, and teachers. We try stay as close to our parent customers as possible, whether through events, social media, or in person. This is essential as we build our products to respond to concerns and fill gaps with creative, educational tools. So open lines of communication are key from the earliest stages of design. We also like to keep our customers up to date, and recently we have launched a blog – available now on Medium and soon on our website – where we voice our ideas, and the ideas of others (our teacher associates for example), on parenting, technology, and education.
Interaction with teachers is integral to what we do. We’ve recently launched kiddZtube Academy, a platform where teachers make video-quizzes by augmenting YouTube videos with educational pop-up questions. It is essential that we understand how teachers are using the platform, and how we can continue to improve it for them.
What are the main challenges you face.
Well, we of course face challenges that are typical to any tech startup, such as funding, and building awareness and traction, and they are all correlated. It’s not just about having great product, you have to make consumers aware that it exists and then, once bought, it must surpass their expectations.
Another challenge we face is to continually come up with good ideas and translate them into cool updates for existing products and new ones altogether. However, that’s a challenge we feel very much up to – and it’s one of my favourite bits of the job.
What is your USP?
We promote active fun and learning for young age kids through an ecosystem of innovative products designed to take advantage of digital devices. Our most important USP is therefore the way we combine fun and learning. Our products don’t just educate – they also entertain!
Who would be your business mentor and why?
Probably Jeff Bezos. He was the first to see the true potential of the digital economy. He has some extraordinary experience across such different segments and I believe I would stand to learn a huge amount from him.
If you could appear in any publication, what would it be and why?
Any of the major tech publications, as their audiences are most relevant to our business – and not just on the consumer end.
What words of wisdom can you give anyone thinking about starting their own business?
I advise entrepreneurs to talk to a lot of people about their ideas, get as much feedback as possible, and listen to what consumers have to say. If, after doing all that, they believe that they should start the business, they need to be aware that it’s not easy. It’s a bit like running a marathon. They have to work hard, be resilient and never give up.
How do you keep a work life balance going? Or do you?
When you start your own business, you of course have to make sacrifices. But I don’t have any issue with that – I really love what I do. Either way, I always make sure that I have time for my family.
Who or what inspires you?
Elon Musk. He is someone that always looks ahead of his time, he follows what he believes in and fights to change the future of mankind. I aspire to think like him; I try to be motivated by my beliefs and dream about a better future.
What would be your perfect day off?
A day with my family, at the beach surfing.
We’ve recently launched kiddZtube Academy, a free platform where early years teachers augment YouTube videos with pop-up, educational questions. Teachers can sign up at http://magikbee.com/