On the heels of its successful crowdfunding campaign in the spring, Snorble has received commitments for three-quarters of its current US$2 million (C$2.5 million) equity funding round.
The brainchild of Halifax-based serial entrepreneur Mike Rizkalla, Snorble is an automated soft toy that helps kids go to bed with less fuss. It’s about the size of a teddy bear and uses voice recognition software and artificial intelligence to encourage children to get ready for bed and go to sleep calmly. It helps the child with pre-bedtime routines like getting changed and brushing teeth, and can read a story that lulls the child to sleep.
The multi-disciplinary team headed by Rizkalla previously raised US$900,000. It is now attracting new investors, gaining commitments of US$500,000 in juts the past two weeks after showing investors the inner workings of the product.
“Momentum builds interest and the combination of announcing just a week earlier that we had completed 50 percent of our raise and then pulling back the curtain really appealed to a lot of investors,” said Rizkalla in a statement. “One person told me as he was committing to funding to remember the date of our presentation because when I write the book on how Snorble came to be a household name, that day will be immortalized as the one on which we made a massive leap forward.”
In the spring, the Snorble team launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, with the official goal of raising U$25.000. When the campaign concluded in May, the campaign had brought in revenue of more than US$208,000 from 968 backers.
The “sleep companion”, as Rizkalla calls it, has been designed in collaboration with neurologists and child psychologists to ensure it can help children and parents, said Rizkalla. The 15-member team, which is spread across North America, includes early educator Monica Warren.
Several strategic investors have joined the Snorble Advisory Board, which includes several PhDs in relevant fields and pioneers in robotics, research, child development and finance, said the statement.
Rizkalla, who formerly headed the Raised Media IT consultancy in Halifax, has spent several years developing Snorble. The team expects a genersl release for Snorble in the spring of 2022, though the units bought through Indiegogo will be shipped before then.
"Our intention has always been for Snorble to be the perfect product we envisioned," said spokesman Michael Preston in an email. "We are creating a companion for children that encourages healthy habits and positivity, so achieving that goal is much more important than rushing to bring a product to market."