The 5th edition of ATECH brought to us by Tristan Every and Rudy Croes, and the team @CR38te, concluded yesterday with the announcement of the winners of the Startup Pitch Competition.
Participating this year, and reaching the finals, an Apparel & Fashion startup from California, a Renewable Energy startup from Puerto Rico, and a Children’s Education & Entertainment startup from Noord Aruba,
The winners, Playground Entertainment, an adorable husband and wife team with Jessica Posner and Marald Van Montfoort, captured the judges’ attention and the public’s imagination.
Their story makes sense and is relevant and relatable.
Their two kids demonstrated considerable English language skills, thanks to YouTube, and less than perfect knowledge of Papiamento.
An animated YouTube channel, modelled after Kids TV, with cute animated videos, teaching kids how to count in Papiamento, tell colors, shapes, and visit with Shon McDonald in his cunucu, of course, Old McDonald and his farm, translated.
If you think the videos are cute, wait until you see the books.
The protagonist of the series in an animated spider with a high-pitched voice by the name of Nini, and if you ask Marald why a spider, he will tell you it just felt right.
And if you ask Marald what is the range of vocabulary taught by Nini, he’ll tell you he doesn’t know, but what they had just felt right.
So Jessica wrote the text and Marald handled the tech aspect, and as a result of their dedicated collaboration, which was one of the conference’s themes, their kids’ Papiamento improved greatly.
In their interactive startup competition pitch Marald and Nini explained there are 26,305 Papiamento speaking kids in the four Dutch Caribbean islands, between the ages of 0 to 5, and they are the target audience.
Nini, was recently introduced in the local library and parents swooped in on the local book stores, and bought a few hundred books, and the TV channel garnered a respectable number of subscriptions, without any formal marketing efforts.
The higher purpose: There are 3,423 registered languages at risk of disappearing, thus Nini the spider has her work cut out for her.
While the ATECH conference was winding down, I watched Jessica & Marald waiting in the back of the room for the competition results, they were among finalists, he had his chin on her head, as she was gathered in his arms, they were tense, they had been working for a number of months, and hoped for the best.
They won. $10.000 towards the promotion of their innovative project.
Congratulations, love birds, Miffy the rabbit is so yesterday. Long live Nini the Spider.