Samantha John ’09SEAS landed a $550,000 investment on ABC’s Shark Tank earlier this year for her education-technology app Hopscotch. The app, which she developed in 2012 with Jocelyn Leavitt ’07BUS, teaches kids ages ten through sixteen programming skills by allowing them to create their own games and animations, which they can share with others on the platform. To date, Hopscotch has been downloaded more than twenty-four million times.
Borobabi puts a fresh spin on sustainability and recycling by offering new mothers access to haute hand-me-downs. Founded in 2020 by Carolyn Butler ’18BUS, the company stocks a variety of rentable infant and toddler garments that customers are encouraged to return or exchange when their kids outgrow them. New and pre-worn clothes can be rented or purchased à la carte or in bundles.
Founded in 2014 by Sofia Fenichell ’96BUS, a longtime business professional and mother of two, Mrs Wordsmith helps kids ages four to thirteen learn to read, write, and improve their vocabulary and spelling skills. Through picture books, workbooks, card games, stickers, and — in the near future — apps, the London-based company sets out to make supplemental learning whimsical and fun.
Targeted to socially conscious Gen-X and millennial moms, Mightly makes durable and affordable fair-trade children’s apparel from organic cotton. Anya Marie Emerson ’07LAW, an Oakland-based attorney with a background in providing legal-aid services for women and families, cofounded the e-commerce startup in 2019 and serves as its COO.
Miles to Row
Betsy Marsolan ’03SEAS worked for more than a decade in product management and technology before founding Miles to Row, an online children’s book club celebrating diverse stories and authors. Parents can sign up for a monthly subscription to one or three publications. With each purchase, the company donates a book to a library, school, or nonprofit.
Yumble, a meal subscription service founded in 2015 by entrepreneurial parents Joanna Parker ’05CC and David Parker ’04SEAS, brings extra convenience and a healthier touch to chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, pizza bagels, and other kid-approved dishes. Last year, the startup grabbed the attention of busy parents around the US when it appeared on Shark Tank and scored a $500,000 investment from guest shark Bethenny Frankel.
San Francisco–based illustrator Wendy MacNaughton ’05SW started DrawTogether, a virtual art club, at the height of the pandemic last year. Originally designed to help children stay busy and creative during school closures, the company continues to offer online classes and activities and gives kids the opportunity to showcase their crayon, marker, and watercolor masterpieces.
Madeleine Editions, a Paris-based independent publisher, produces colorful children’s e-books in French, English, and Mandarin. Founded in 2018 by Eva Lou ’11SOA, a Taiwanese-born writer who has also lived in the United States, Korea, and France, the company has published eight original books celebrating multiculturalism and multilingualism.