Ducks & Books – TwoTen sponsors the Chipping Norton Literary Festival

The Chipping Norton Literary Festival
has started and TwoTen is very proud to be sponsoring it. The festival
runs until Sunday and covers a wide range, including the all important
children’s books, with authors such Frances Hardinge, Philip Ardagh and
Teresa Heapy all getting involved. There’s a track just for children,
more information here
as well as events for grown-ups. TwoTen will be around, we’re easily
spotted by our Peepus tops – if you come along and you see someone
protected by duck, do say hi!

Advisory board formed

We’re very pleased to annouce the formation of our advisory board. Their
mix of skills and experience will be invaluable in helping TwoTen to
progress both its products and as a company. In alphabetical order, the
advisory board is Neil Barnfather, Hamlesh Motah, Dr. Linda Papadopoulos
and John Powell. John was also one of our initial investors.

Pi Cubed

Raspberry Pi, that is. Following a chance encounter with the man from Robobo at a Christmas party for startups at Innovation Warehouse,
TwoTen commissioned a piece of work to see if the Raspberry Pi would be
able to meet the core technical requirements for the Cube. And it does!
This is great news for us – it means that we can prototype easily,
scale easily and work with well-understood, well-documented hardware and
an operating system, Linux, that’s very close to the one we use on our
servers (and our laptops, in case you’re interested), which makes
adapting the TwoTen technology much simpler. The slim rectangular shape
of the Pi board will also help the Cube to be more flexible, helping to
achieve our soft child toy feel.

TwoTen goes to Parliament

TwoTen went with the NSPCC and Google to Parliament as part of Safer Internet Day 2013. We were in a room in Portcullis House and had the opportunity to demonstrate our product to a number of parliamentarians, advisers and civil servants, stressing how easy our solution was to use for both parents and children. We had some great discussions about the challenges of the Internet for children and parental management.

First phase Cube product design completed

One of the first big outcomes of the initial investment round, our product designers at Product Partners have completed the first phase of the process of realising TwoTen Cube. A series of ideas was presented about colours, shapes, materials and sizes. For the latter, although we’ve yet to confirm the size of hardware that will go inside, we’ve chosen to go with largish size, which both ensures a wider choice on the internals and makes sure that parents can see that TwoTen Cube is actively protecting their children.

It’ll be green, of course, and the shape will be similar to a dice i.e. a cube with rounded corners, and made from a (silicon) rubber material, coated so it’s strokable. We’re hoping to make the whole thing flexible, although the internals will impact on the degree to which we can achieve that; basically it’s going to be a child’s toy version of the logo.

This first phase was match-funded by the Manufacturing Advisory Service and we hope they’ll also help in the next phase, where Product Partners will do the prototyping – and some rendered images of what the final product will look like. We’ll post them on the site as soon as we get them.

We won!

We’re so proud. We’d like to thank the producers, our families… No, seriously, we won the Interactivism // Think Kids pitch day competition. Really! And this despite Peepus being "too busy" to co-present and leaving our CEO Chris Puttick to present all on his own (when Peepus said "too busy" it was after we told him how many people would be there, and he was like embarrassed.

This sort of recognition reaffirms our belief that the solution we’ve been working on is something people want and understand the need for. Thanks to everyone who voted for our submission and to the judges for selecting us the winners.

The chair of the judging panel, Dr Linda Papadopoulos, said "TwoTen was the product everyone wanted to have in their home". We look forward to making that happen!

The prize is office space in Google Campus, which we’ll take up some time, some how (bit far for a commute…); we’re also planning to work further with the NSPCC after we got some great ideas from NSPCC Ambassadors during the morning workgroup sessions.

We’ll post links to more coverage of the event as it is posted. There were cameras at the event, which raises the possibility of a video…

TwoTen shortlisted for Think Kids pitch day

Exciting stuff! We’ve been shortlisted to pitch at Interactivism // Think Kids day on the 6th of December. This is an event co-sponsored by the NSPCC, Google, Coadec and FutureGov to find great products, projects and prototypes that help children and parents to get the most out of and enjoy the Internet, whilst staying safe. It’s an all day event with a mix of working groups in the morning and a full audience pitch session in the afternoon. Getting shortlisted as one of three to pitch is great; now we just have to put the presentation together, think of questions for the working groups, write slide description and get them transcribed to Braille (one of the judges is a Braille user), and remember to breathe…

For more information on the event, please see the competition pages.

TwoTen funding round completes

We’re very pleased to be able to announce that TwoTen has completed an investment round. Not only does getting investor backing validate what we’ve been working on with TwoTen, it is also a great step forward for us. Having some cash enables us to take full advantage of the opportunities that come our way, as well as help us move the product on in various ways. We’ll be recruiting our first staff shortly!

As a result of the investment Michael Fauconnier-Bank has joined the board to represent the investors. Mike has had an active interest in TwoTen since it was introduced to him earlier in the year. On joining the board Mike said "TwoTen is working on a unique solution to safely guiding childrens’ development as they grow-up in today’s increasingly connected world. In turn, I am proud to be supporting the company at this early stage in its own lifecycle and I look forward to watching TwoTen mature into the market leader in this important field."