Vincent Mysliwiec, left, and Dominic Chiudioni are the co-founders of Dog Day Digital, the developer of Storyverse, a mobile app for children’s stories. Courtesy Dog Day Digital
A startup is making children’s stories an interactive experience on mobile devices.
Start Garden, the $15-million seed fund in Grand Rapids, said last week that it will invest $5,000 in Storyverse.
Storyverse is a mobile application that combines games and interactive 3-D storybooks for children ages three to nine.
Dominic Chiudioni — co-founder of Dog Day Digital, the developer of Storyverse — said the investment by Start Garden reinforces interest in the Storyverse idea and will help the startup polish its app, which is in development.
“It means breathing room, really,” Chiudioni said. “It’s a validation of our product, and it seems like people are interested in it.”
A mobile market
After working in mobile development since 2010 and creating more than 20 mobile apps for various clients, the pair was ready to develop their own product, according to the Start Garden website.
Chiudioni said the application originated from co-founder Vincent Mysliwiec reading with his kids via interactive apps.
“What we noticed is all the competition out there is currently slideshows, glorified slideshows of their IPs,” Chiudioni said. “We could do this way better.”
Storyverse is storefront application for mobile devices, allowing users to make in-game purchases to unlock additional features, such as character customization and custom voiceovers.
The 3-D storybook platform combines the interactivity of a video game with a proprietary scripting engine to create character-driven stories.
“Going through this journey with them, he is part of the story,” said Chiudioni, referring to the reader. “He is basically the main character. He is running around doing what the story is saying, what is going on.”
After researching the credibility of the Storyverse idea in the marketplace, the startup developed a prototype for the iOS and Android mobile platforms.
The price for each interactive story will depend on demand, but the Storyverse app will be free.
“The app itself is going to be a platform for multiple books,” Mysliwiec said. “All the books from the catalog are going to have a free preview of four to six pages. And then from there, we hope that they will want to purchase the book for $2.99 or $3.99.”
Mysliwiec added that having grown up in Grand Rapids, the long-term goal is to open a physical store in the area.