Parents are always on the lookout for ways to motivate and encourage their children to develop good habits and values. A fun twist is always appreciated as it keeps the child entertained and they tend to look forward to the process when they enjoy it. Gone are the days when kids are pressured to learn, parents today look for fun and interesting ways to help their child grow into a good individual. Joon is a game app which uses a virtual companion to motivate kids to develop good habits. The virtual character is a reflection of the child’s self hence he/she will find it fun to see the character grow. The minds behind Joon are Founder Isaac Eaves and Kevin Bunarjo. In conversation with Isaac, we get to know more about this app and it’s potential to influence kids the right way!
What is the startup/product about? Give us a brief description of it.
Joon uses a virtual companion that levels up and grows when your child completes assigned to-dos. Kids can customize their characters and compare with friends, motivating them to build good habits.
How many co-founders are there? Please introduce them and their backgrounds.
Isaac Eaves – Co-founder of Joon, Studied business and computer science at UC Berkeley, product
Kevin Bunarjo – Co-founder of Joon, Studied business and computer science at UC Berkeley, passionate iOS engineer and problem solver
Kevin and I met while studying at UC Berkeley. We were both in the business program, and starting a computer science major as juniors. We started working together on class projects, and side projects alike, and realized we loved working together. We worked on our first startup together after college (alphabis.io). We knew we were like-minded with very complementary skills, and have had the entrepreneurship-itch since the beginning!
How big is the entire team currently?
How did you come up with the idea? What motivated you to do this?
When Kevin and I were younger we both dumped hours and hours into games. We realized we wasted a ton of time, but it wasn’t all negative—we learned about goal setting, delayed gratification, and persistence.
The idea for Joon came from wanting to create a game where your character is a reflection of your real-life self. We wanted to create a game where success and levels meant that you were doing positive things in real-life. Additionally, we saw so much potential to teach children important skills and instill good values, as we know the power that games have.
We’ve been incredibly motivated to work on this because of the potential positive impact we can have on children and families alike. We’ve always wanted to create something that makes the world a better place, and we really think Joon has the potential to do that.
What is your target market? Why do you think your product will appeal to?
The target market is parents with children aged 6-13. The product appeals to parents who want help motivating their children to build good habits, or to improve on already existing good habits.
What are the marketing plans apart from the product hunt/beta list launch? How are you planning to acquire new users?
Recently we have been focusing a bit more on product development while working with about a dozen parents who love the app. But, we are planning on doing a marketing push soon. We have a few different ideas for marketing channels. One is reaching out to various news platforms and parent blogs. We also plan to reach out to PTA organizations and other parent communities. Finally, we’ll reach out to / create Facebook groups and connect with relevant Reddit communities.
What according to you is the biggest challenge that you faced? Is it product development or marketing or scaling or … ?
The biggest challenge has definitely been the gamification design of the app. We want the app to serve as a supporting role in motivating children to do productive activities, and we don’t want the app itself to be addictive. At the end of the day, what is important is the child’s growth in real-life, so we have to be very intentional in how we create the game itself so that we don’t create poor habits.
Who are your competitors/alternatives? What sets you apart from them?
There are some gamified chore apps, but there’s nothing that’s really designed for a kid. Most use simple gamification techniques like points, badges, and leadership boards, that aren’t actually fun for the child. We are actually creating a world where the productive things you do in real life determine the levels and progression in the game.
What are the future plans with the product/startup? Any new features you are planning on?
Right now we’re doing a complete redesign with the planned release date of mid-September. We are also currently strategizing our marketing push. Our short term goal is to get to over 1000 users, and our longer-term goal is to seek partnerships with products that could integrate well into our app.
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