Playbrush, a London-based startup which created a smart device that transforms the humble toothbrush into a video game controller, has raised a new round of funding to improve children’s oral hygiene around the world.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign in May 2015, receiving more than the £35k asked for, Playbrush has now raised a seed round of £500k from Super-Angel Hansi Hansmann and the Austrian VC fund Speedinvest. This will fund scaling distribution and enhanced online marketing efforts. It will also aid the development of games and feedback apps to build a platform for kids’ daily toothbrushing.
Recent technology developments, including the rise of the Internet of Things, sensor technology, gamification and the smartphone have changed the media consumption of children and how they interact with technology. Playbrush, which was founded in 2014, used this trend to develop a smart device that turns manual toothbrushes into game controllers so children can control games on a smartphone or tablet via brushing movements. It was developed to motivate kids to brush their teeth twice a day for 2 minutes, a habit children are likely to continue with for a lifetime.
Playbrush currently has 2 games. ‘Utoothia’ is focused on getting children to brush specifically in the right areas for the right amount of time, whereas the second game ‘Utoothia Sky’ is designed for younger children to help them become independent brushers.
Paul Varga, CEO of Playbrush, expains: “I was inspired by my godson who would not brush his teeth properly, just watching brushing videos on an iPad with a stationary toothbrush. Playbrush was the perfect way to encourage him to see the benefit of moving the toothbrush around his mouth”.
This led Paul, together with his co-founders Tolulope and Matthäus, to work closely with the Eastman Dental Hospital and other world-renowned dentists in producing a toothbrushing gadget that enables children to have fun whilst brushing their teeth. Playbrush fits onto any manual toothbrush, providing an affordable solution as one device can be used for a whole family.
By the way: One of Playbrush’s competitors, the Paris-based startup Kolibree, raised $4 million and released a new toothbrush for kids in the beginnning of the year.
Playbrush has gained global attention since launching in November 2015, selling thousands of devices, winning several international awards and pitched to the Duke of York at St. James Palace. If you have kids or if you’re looking for a great present for your nieces and nephews, you can now buy a Pink or Blue Playbrush for £35 from their online webstore or on Amazon. Not convinced yet? Check out the lovely video tutorial regarding their newest game Utoothia: