WHAT: iPhone and iPad games for kids and their parents. The Tantrum Apps library features quiz games, peek games and sounds games. The most popular apps include Letter Quiz, Zoo Sounds and Timmy's Preschool Adventure. Parents can help their children learn their ABCs, numbers, and city and animal sounds.
LAUNCHER: Lawrence Ingraham, founder of Tantrum Apps and web developer at Cisco.
WHY: It's hard to keep your kids entertained when at medical appointments or when you just need a quiet moment. Instead of letting them watch TV, they can play fun, simple and educational games. What's even better is that you can play with them.
WHEN/WHERE: May 2009/Raleigh-Durham.
BACKSTORY: In 2009, Lawrence's daughter, who was two years old at the time, had respiratory issues that recquired him and his wife to take her to the hospital immediately.
"Typically my wife brings around this bag of everything in the kitchen sink: coloring books, crayons, toys, you name it," Lawrence tells LAUNCH. "We didn't have anything and we got to the hospital and there we were with absolutely nothing for her to do. So I whipped out my iPhone and started playing with things. I really didn't get any apps other than utilities though. I didn't think about games, definitely not kids apps. I just had the moment where I figured this was a pretty good inspiration. I had always wanted to make apps but I never had any ideas that I thought were unique. I just taught myself over that next weekend how to develop iOS applications."
BUSINESS MODEL: Free and paid apps.
COMPETITION: Discovery, PBS, Nickelodeon (Dora the Explorer) and Sesame Street.
ON COMPETITION: "[ The top 100 games are ] definitely full of these games that might not have the quality and the TLC we out into our games but it has the brand recognition."
CUSTOMERS/GROWTH: Letter Quiz (100 downloads a day). Hundreds of thousands Tantrum Apps downloaded to date, Lawrence says. Letter Quiz ecently made it to the top 10 for educational iPad games in the App store. It is #178 overall.
PHILOSOPHY: "I'm not a big fan of 'here kid have this iPad and shut up for 30 minutes,'" Lawrence says. "I would prefer that parents sit down and help their kids learn. All of our games were designed with that in mind where the parent would play the game with their kid."
ON THE APP MARKET: "Things have gotten a lot bigger without a doubt," Lawrence says. "Back when my first app launched, I was fortunate enough to fly up the rankings really quickly in the app store. I made it as high as 17th in the kids game section and that was just for iPhone at the time.
There's more devices out there and more people to purchase it and more of an opportunity for [ developers ] to do it as a full time gig," Lawrence says. "Back then it was really difficult to justify on your taxes that you were an iPhone app developer. I think it was more difficult back then to support a family on an income that was 100% relying on app store sales."
WHO BACKED IT: Bootstrapped. Lawrence out-sources artwork and music, and works with teachers to make sure he has the right curriculum in games.
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 1.
Letter Quiz teaches children the alphabet by associating letters with objects, connecting uppercase to lowercase letters and more.
Instruct your child to identify and then tap the letter "A."
1. "Screen Time Higher Than Ever for Children" (NY Times, Oct. 25, 2011)
2. "Trying to gauge the impact of growing up digital" (The Boston Globe, Oct. 18, 2011)
CONTACTS & LINKS
Lawrence Ingraham, founder
Email: law at tantrum apps dot com