A mother of three kids, Chinese American entrepreneur Wandy Yeap Hoh got her big startup idea when shopping for children’s education tools. After seeing that there were not enough products catering to children’s learning needs, she knew she could fill that gap. The mompreneur researched for 16 months and founded MeeGenius!, an enhanced children’s book reading app, along with co-founder David Park in April 2010.
This week, the New York-based startup announced it has raised $2.4 mn from investors including Sonja Perkins of Broadway Angels and Sunrise Capital Partners.
MeeGenius! will use the new round of funding to further enrich its graphics-rich content, which has already been downloaded over 1.5 million times.
The curated children’s book app is available on iPhone, iPad, Google Play, Chrome Store and Android devices. While the reading interface is free to download, the collection of over 700 digitally enhanced, curated children’s books can be purchased for a price.
Besides working with a wide range of publishers and writers, MeeGenius! also produces its own titles.
The app, which debuted on iPad's initial years, has books rich in text and images as also voice, done not by machines but by human voice actors.
The books also have inbuilt word highlighting, and personalization options, living up to CEO Yeap Hoh’s vision to make reading more engaging and interactive for children.
Before hitting the startup highway, Yeap Hoh did 15 years of work in Credit Suisse First Boston and Pomona Capital, New York City. She left Pomona capital in 2007 to start her own business.
“My previous experience as part of a new business in a large investment bank and my experience as an investor in companies and funds have certainly helped me establish best practices at MeeGenius! and form our strategy, which evolves as we grow," says Yeap Hoh, who has a BA in Business Economics from UCLA and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
On challenges faced by startups, she says: "The biggest learning curve is doing everything yourself. As a start-up where we had zero employees for the first year, you have to learn to roll your sleeves up quickly. A far cry from being at a large company where there are amazing resources available at all times.”
MeeGenius! continues to be a lean startup, with less than 10 employees, but gets the rest of the work done through collaborations with freelance writers, illustrators and editors.
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