Solution overview

Our Solution

Caribu

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Tagline

Read and draw together through a video-call!

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Pitch us on your solution

We are a solution to increasing the time spent reading with children. Caribu is the market leader for a video call with an e-reader focusing on children’s content. We allow for more ‘trusted adults’ to be involved in helping the child read or to be involved in creating engaging conversations. Other reading apps either require that the adult and child be face to face or that the app reads pre-recorded books, requiring no adult, and therefore does not provide real-time feedback or responsiveness.


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What is the problem you are solving?

In many communities, 2/3 of kindergarteners show up on their first day already behind national literacy benchmarks. Research shows that families must begin having engaging conversations and building vocabulary before children enroll in school. Caribu creates opportunities for a child to read and be read to, building a stronger vocabulary and the intrinsic desire to read, all through the common smartphone. We help parents, extended family and mentors read to children when they are not in the same location. Now, more than ever, families spend more and more time apart and children have less access to adults who can read to them in person. This is why we started with bedtime stories and focus on ages 0-7. In order to tackle the 30 Million word gap, and ensure children are read to at least twenty minutes a day, we must give parents the technology to read with their children every night no matter where they are

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Who are you serving?

There is a vast addressable market for our platform in its current and future state. Today, our customers are parents (who work late, travel for work, are legally separated, or are in the military) and grandparents. As we grow into language-learning and tutoring we will expand to mentors, tutors and reading coaches. Caribu is committed to providing solutions powered by evidence-based research and best practice standards, and to the respect and mutual support of parents and caregivers. Key strategies include scaling and improving the current “core” program, partnering with other organizations to expand impact, and testing and implementing new pilot programs and technology. By demonstrating deep and measurable impact, Caribu can show what’s possible and begin to replicate this strategy in communities across the US to eventually reach the nearly 9M students reading behind grade level and eventually around the globe.

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What is your solution?

Caribu marries a video-call and e-reader on a shared screen to read children’s books together in real-time. We are “FaceTime meets Kindle”. Our library has hundreds of books and educational workbooks from leading children’s publishers, in seven languages. Caribu is an engaging experience in a carefully designed, safe, and secure platform. We area available as an app on Apple and Android.


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Select only the most relevant.

  • Enable parents and caregivers to support their children’s overall development
  • Prepare children for primary school through exploration and early literacy skills
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Where is your solution team headquartered?

Miami, Florida, USA
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Our solution's stage of development:

Growth

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More about your solution

Select one of the below:

New technology

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Describe what makes your solution innovative.

We are innovative when it comes to quantity of time spent reading. Caribu is one of less than a handful of companies that combines a video call with an e-reader focusing on children’s content. This innovative concept provides a couple of solutions: First, it allows for more ‘trusted adults’ (teacher, family member, coach or mentor) to be involved in helping the child read or to be involved in creating engaging conversations. Other reading apps either require that the adult and child be face to face or that the app reads pre-recorded books, requiring no adult, and therefore does not provide real-time feedback or responsiveness.

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Describe the core technology that your solution utilizes.

The most important custom asset is the “real-time engine” that manages every interaction within a call, from page turning to drawing. We use a combination of custom, licensed and open source libraries. 

The above technology stack was chosen with the primary goal of cross-
platform integration and automatic scalability in order to grow into
future platforms seamlessly. A second priority was price, as the
current running cost of the entire system is under $50/mo. 

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Select from the options below:

  • Internet of Things
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Why do you expect your solution to address the problem?

We are also innovative when it comes to quality of time spent reading.The best story times are very interactive: there is a conversation taking place between the adult and child. Parents are truly their children's first and most important teachers and we are building the necessary literacy tools into the app so that parents and adults using Caribu can be confident that just by using the app their child’s literacy proficiency is increasing. There are two KPIs for literacy proficiency (quantity of time and progress through the five pillars of reading). We currently track quantity of time that children read and are read to. We know tracking the quantity of time reading is in itself important, and but more importantly we need to know how children are progressing in their literacy attainment. KPIs to track movement through leveled books, unique words heard, and conversational turns delivered are currently being developed.

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Select the key characteristics of the population your solution serves.

  • Infants
  • Elderly
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
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How many people are you currently serving with your solution? How many will you be serving in one year? How about in five years?

50,000 registered users currently. In one year, 500K users. In 5 years 5M.

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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

The vision for caribu is to be the leader in family communication and interactive learning. We’ve started with Caribu Storybooks, a consumer education platform that helps parents and extended family to read and draw with children when they’re not together. We plan to grow our user base by also entering into strategic B2B2C partnerships. In Phase 2 we will add a tracking dashboard and more of a focus on literacy proficiency to make the platform useful to tutors, mentors, and teachers. Lastly, in Phase 3, Caribu Platform will be where we license our technology to language learning and tutoring companies and publishers that would like to add a remote and interactive component to their content. Given that Caribu already has families reading together in 160+ countries, we are also planning for the international expansion of each phase in the Caribu story.

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What are the barriers that currently exist for you to accomplish your goals for the next year and for the next five years?

We’ve mitigated some of our bottom of the funnel challenges by building out our product team but we must continue fortifying and improving the platform and building IP for groundbreaking technology. Another challenge is finding the right mentors and advisors to build the best evidence-based and research-driven technology for children and seniors to use. The last challenge is, of course, funding to aggressively scale adoption and growth.

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How are you planning to overcome these barriers?

We’ve mitigated some of our bottom of the funnel challenges by building out our product team but we must continue fortifying and improving the platform and building IP for groundbreaking technology. Another challenge is finding the right mentors and advisors to build the best evidence-based and research-driven technology for children and seniors to use. The last challenge is, of course, funding to aggressively scale adoption and growth.

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https://apps.apple.com/us/app/caribu/id763451959?_branch_match_id=588537961019950901

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About your team

Select an option below:

For-Profit

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If you selected other for the organization question, please explain here.

N/A

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How many people work on your solution team?

Full-time: 5 

Intern: 1

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For how many years have you been working on your solution?

3

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Why are you and your team best-placed to deliver this solution?

Our co-founders reflect extremely complementary skill sets, backgrounds, and perspectives. Maxeme has worked at almost every level of education including as a TFA corps member, Gates Foundation consultant, Executive Director of TFA Miami-Dade, and as a city, state, and district level education staffer. She also comes to the company with media and federal government experience and an MBA. With that experience, and especially as a teacher at a Title I high school, she has come to the sobering reality that when it comes to building a strong foundation for reading, there is no do-over. 

Alvaro has been engineering solutions for over ten years in a wide range of applications. He understands the technology side of the problem which allows him to quickly prototype and the flexibility to choose the best approach. He has lived in four different countries, which brings a unique perspective from various educational systems and their methodologies. This experience fueled his passion for studying education’s biggest problems and technology’s role in solving them. He is responsible for every aspect of product, from design to tech. His business degree helps him weigh in with Max on financials and strategy.

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With what organizations are you currently partnering, if any? How are you working with them?

AT&T Edtech Accelerator

Blue Star Families for Military Partnership.

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Your business model & funding

What is your business model?

Our platform is an app so we sell and distribute through the Apple and Google Play app stores. Our basic subscription allows unlimited access to the library and video-calls for $6.99/month and multi-month gift subscriptions. Soon we will also have a family plan (~$11.99/mo) and a yearly subscription option ($99/yr). We have a 50/50 revenue share with our publishers. Our financial projections show that with only 575K subscribers and great retention (1 year of LTR) we can earn $41M in ARR in only 3 years.  B2B2C volume subscription sales to education organizations and licensing to tutoring and language learning companies are revenue opportunities on our roadmap. We also partner with foundations and nonprofits to cover the cost of subscriptions for families in need like our partnership with Blue Star Families which allows us to donate free subscriptions of Caribu to all currently serving military, families that are also traditionally from low-income communities. 

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What is your path to financial sustainability?

Our path to sustainability requires a mix of revenue, grants, and capital raises.

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Partnership potential

Why are you applying to Solve?

Content, Connections, & Community. Having access to the internal/external  network of experts will help identify gaps in our business model, and connections to pursue and develop stronger partnerships with publishers and global organizations. We're excited about all of the network benefits from other programmatic priorities focused on Women and Education and hope to use use the SOLVE platform to amplify our work and improve our platform as we scale.

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What types of connections and partnerships would be most catalytic for your solution?

  • Technology
  • Distribution
  • Talent or board members
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If you selected Other, please explain here.

caribu

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With what organizations would you like to partner, and how would you like to partner with them?

AARP

WHO

UN

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If you would like to apply for the AI Innovations Prize, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution. If you are not already using AI in your solution, explain why it is necessary for your solution to be successful and how you plan to incorporate it.

N/A

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If you would like to apply for the Innovation for Women Prize, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution.

N/A

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If you would like to apply for the Innospark Ventures Prize, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution. If your solution utilizes data, describe how you will ensure that the data is sourced, maintained, and used ethically and responsibly.

N/A

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