In the heart of Boulder, Colo., is one of the cutest startups we've ever seen: Ubooly.
Ubooly makes an iPhone-powered, interactive stuffed animal. The startup was founded in 2012 by husband/wife team CEO Carly Gloge, 30, and CTO Isaac Squires, 31.
This is a startup story that has it all: a free app that turns an iPhones/iPad into a kid's toy; educational scripts written by teachers and comic book writers; two successful Kickstarter campaigns; a well-known VC backer; and early success.
So far, the 2-year-old company has sold 40,000 units, and can be found in a bunch of big brand-name stores.
Best of all is this tidbit: Gloge and Squires knew nothing about making toys when they started. So they created the product by watching videos from the "MythBusters" television show.
"We secretly took classes at night to learn how to sew," Gloge laughs. "And we watched 'MythBusters' videos on YouTube to learn how to cast silicone."
And the toy is amazing. It's the evolution of handing your kid an iPhone or iPad to play with.
Married couple and startup co-founders, CEO Carly Gloge and CTO Isaac Squires with an extra-large Ubooly toy.
Gloge and Squires met in college. After graduation, they traveled the world together before settling back in his home state of Colorado to launch a startup in Boulder.
They spent a year teaching themselves how to make children's toys at night, while keeping their day jobs writing software, before launching a company.
They did TechStars in 2012.
Ubooly has raised almost $3 million so far.
First, the company raised $80,000 through two successful Kickstarter campaigns.
It landed another $2.5 million in venture funds, led by VC Jeff Clavier (backer of Fitbit, Mint, SendGrid) and early success.
Today it employs 14 people.
Ubooly makes free iPhone/iPad/Android app for kids.
The app is a cute voice-activated animal creature that talks, plays games, plays calming music for bedtime and other stuff.
Parents can buy additional add-on apps to teach their kids Spanish, conduct science experiments, imagine traveling to France or to outer space, and so on.
That content is written by experts like teachers, or other professionals, like a comic book writer.