A clever way to respond to a societal need
The most popular social issue today is that children need to play outside more. But how can you stimulate this, and on top of that how can you keep an eye on your children? Ellie Karssemakers and Anton de Nijs found the solution: Wanderwatch. An interactive smartwatch that makes outdoor play fun again and which allows you to communicate with your friends and parents. The market is ready.
A gap in the market
Ellie Karssemakers studied at Tilburg University and she and her partner Anton have three children. Ellie: “One of them always manages to sneak out when we are not paying attention. We used to joke that we should implant a GPS tracker in him, so we couldn’t lose him.” But one thing led to another. Ellie and Anton got serious: “The technology exists and a mobile phone often gets lost or breaks. Children love interactive devices. Indoor toys are almost always interactive, but outdoor toys are not. That’s where we saw an opportunity.”
Interactive outdoor play
The Wanderwatch combines the fun of interactive games with all the benefits of outdoor play. Children devise their own game and the Wanderwatch makes it interactive. With the sounds app, for instance. “If children play a game outdoor that involves a police car, you will hear a siren. You can also choose the sound of hoof beats if you rather play a game that involves horses. Another example is the game with a magic rock. You can hide it and you can go on a treasure hunt with the Wanderwatch via Bluetooth”, Elly explains. The children communicate with each other and their parents via chat. They can chat by sending text or voice messages or by sending pictures. This allows everyone to communicate in their own way. Parents can always check where their child has been via the GPS tracker. The opportunities to expand the Wanderwatch are endless.
Ellie and Anton receive a lot of help from the Starterslift in Tilburg. “We were able to get into the Starterslift because we are alumni of the university,” Ellie says. “We clicked instantly. They help us wherever they can. Especially the financing and finding investors remains tricky. Luckily, Midpoint Brabant and the municipality of Tilburg bring us into contact with interested parties.”
On the threshold of success
Wanderwatch is about to strike it big. “In the Netherlands, we received our first large order from Intertoys. We are very happy about that.” In the near future, they might be allowed to pitch on Austrian national television and they are going to the CES in Las Vegas, the largest technology tradeshow in the world. Team Wanderwatch is on the right track. “It about time to find a warehouse and a transport connection. Tilburg is a very interesting option.”
The product can be seen as part of the exhibition 'Tilburg and its makers' at Hotel Mercure, Heuvelpoort 300 in Tilburg.