Imagilabs wants to attract teenage girls to start programming with a programmable smart extension. On Thursday, co-founder Dora Balvi competes in the revival of SVT’s Draknästet Program, in which entrepreneurs are introduced to an investor jury.
A small gadget with a screen made of programmable LEDs – and with it Imagilabs hopes to get little girls to start programming. In Imagicharm, as the tool is called, with the application you can create different design patterns, such as flowers, sun and animals, using the python programming language. The better the user is at programming, the more advanced features can be displayed on the screen.
The Imagicharm app also has a social network where users can share their projects with each other and how they are coded. Since the app was launched in June last year, more than 19,000 code projects have been created on the platform. Imagicharm mainly targets girls between the ages of 9-17, but it is also popular at other ages.
“The most committed users are people between the ages of 8 and 12, and this is the age group we are focusing on right now. Several studies, both in Sweden and the USA, show that girls have the same level of interest and self-confidence in technology before the age of 10-12,” says Dora Balvi, co-founder of Imagilabs.
“We want to pick up girls before then, with the power of the social network,” she says.
Today, Dora Palfi is participating in Draknästet’s new SVT premiere, presenting Imagicharm to the jury with investors. Among the dragons is Sarah Wemmerkrans, partner at Backing Minds who has invested, for example, in testing service Dynamic Code, co-founder of payment service Izettle Jacob de Geer and Collector founder Lena Apler.
“We had three minutes to show, but I can’t say more in this case,” said Dora Balvi, who also had two teens reviewing the product.
Dragon Nest wasn’t the first time it had appeared on TV when it was similar in Hungary earlier this year. Imagilabs also attracted attention in several places and was the first Swedish company to join Apple’s Entrepreneurship Camp in the spring of 2019.
Dora Balvi met the founders of Imagelabs, Beatrice Ionasco and Paula Doza on the campus of New York University in Abu Dhabi, where they studied neuroscience and computer science. They themselves attended many tech events where most of them were men and united in the lack of women in tech.
The founders met at KTH in Stockholm and the company started in 2018. The following year, they were part of the Sting incubator program, and in connection with this, they received an investment of SEK 1.55 million from seven investors. They included Sting’s investment firm Proble Capital and business owner Donna Hanafi, former chief executive of Tictail, and Nicholas Grass, former chief technology officer of Lifesum.
From June 2019 to June 2020, the company ran a campaign on Kickstarter and earned just over half a million kroner. In February of this year, a seed round of 2.7 million Swedish kronor was received from, among others, CEO of the giant games company Roblox David Baszucki. In total, Imagilabs collected about 5 million Swedish kronor.
Imagicharms is currently sold in 25 countries through the Imagelab website and various retailers. The largest markets are in the US, where they are sold via Amazon, followed by Sweden, the UK and Hungary.
The product costs SEK 708 per starter pack and is sold to both consumers and businesses. For example, Imagilabs has sold larger amounts of Imagicharm to organizations such as Black Girls Core and Girl Scouts in the US, which organize programming camps for children and young adults.
“In Sweden, we are collaborating with the non-profit organization Hello World and partners with Linköping Science Park, both of whom also organize camps.”
This year’s sales have already exceeded total sales for 2020, and Amazon is bearing the largest growth. Last year, revenue increased 300% between the third and fourth quarters. However, the company does not want to report the sales figure.
The challenge in continuous product development is to create experiences that keep users engaged and keep programming.
“We learn a lot from our community and focus on creating new challenges for users. We have a mobile solution with an app and web service that can be used in the school, and we are now working on connecting the different parts and making the solution more seamless,” says Dora Palfi.
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