Children’s Bedtime Robot Startup Snorble Raises $10M
Cuddly bedtime robot for kids creator Snorble has raised $10 million from GK Ventures. The eponymous AI-enabled toy uses voice recognition and natural language processing to help instill good sleep habits in children at night and provide entertainment and educational activities during the day.
Snorble built its ‘intelligent buddy’ to engage with children as they get ready for bed. The toy can tell stories, take them through breathing exercises and play calming music accompanied by a light show, even if they wake up in the middle of the night. The toy includes ways for parents to make getting ready to go to sleep a game for kids, customizable via the connected app for taking a bath, putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, and other evening rituals. Snorble can also offer educational activities and even take kids through a yoga or meditation class during the day. For all the activities, Snorble can converse with kids as a digital assistant, albeit one limited to Snorble’s features. For the child-specific speech recognition, Snorble turned to Spanish voice AI developer Sciling to build the conversational AI interface that can understand and best communicate with younger children.
Snorble launched last May following a successful $200,000 crowdfunding campaign. Since then, the company has rapidly accumulated investment though the $10 million from GK Ventures more than quadruples the total raised by Snorble to more than $13 million. That’s especially notable since the device is still in the pre-order stage. The investment won’t just help Snorble scale the manufacturing and shipping of its AI sleep trainer, however. The startup has begun pursuing metaverse-related projects for children. The company has plans to join the interconnected digital worlds of the metaverse with its new Lullaboo platform for digital experiences.
“Backing to the tune of $10 million is a significant belief in the Snorble concept for an organization still in the pre-revenue phase,” Snorble CEO Mike Rizkalla said. “We are standing at the foothills of a whole world of imagination that we will deliver through our immersive Lullaboo platform as we close in on the initial Snorble product launch. We are humbled that GK Venture Partners share our vision and are enabling us to accelerate the growth of an already inspired team that deserves credit for putting us in this great position.”
Snorble’s interest in metaverse development builds on the growing links between the digital worlds and AI for children Disney unveiled its metaverse strategy earlier this year when long-time executive Mike White took up the role of senior vice president of next-generation storytelling and consumer experiences. He is overseeing the overall project of connecting digital environments and AI-powered characters for the entertainment giant. Not to be outdone, MetaHuman Creator and Fortnite developer Epic Games unveiled a partnership with Lego to design their own child-friendly metaverse. The initial outline of a virtual world that is both fun and safe for kids could end up carving out a significant place in the metaverse market that startups like Snorble will need to account for in their own plans.