Last year I met Natalie Aller at the home of Rebecca Cox whose son was getting a new iPad from an organization that provided 40 iPads to over 40 Kids in 40 States! It was a great experience to see firsthand how remarkable how much this device can help children with special needs. Since that time, I have seen Oceanhouse Media grow into one of the best developers out there. The quality of apps they provide are pretty remarkable. Of course, we love all of their Dr. Seuss and Berenstain Bears apps but they are such a wide selection of great apps. I had a chance to speak to Michel Kripalani, the President of Oceanhouse Media about how he got involved in this business and how his background in the gaming industry helped him to acquire such classics as the Dr. Seuss series.
Q&A with Michel Kripalani, President, Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Tell us what inspired you to create Oceanhouse Media?
The seeds of inspiration to start Oceanhouse Media were originally planted in the summer of 2008, when Apple launched the App Store for iPhone. I was working at another company at the time, but I really wanted to start something on my own. In January of 2009 the opportunity presented itself when I was laid off. This was the incentive I needed to start a new business. Oceanhouse Media was founded 48 hours after I found myself unemployed. I was definitely motivated, eager and ready to go.
Furthermore, as a new parent, I was especially interested in creating children’s apps that my own daughters could enjoy. Our first children’s digital book app was based on Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The success of this app resulted in us partnering with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to develop all 44 classic Dr. Seuss titles into interactive digital book apps. This, in turn, opened the door for us to create digital book apps for other beloved children’s authors as well such as The Berenstains and Mercer Mayer.
Today, we have nearly 300 apps available that uplift, educate and inspire.
I read that your background is in the gaming industry – how has that experience helped you to create such a powerhouse such as Oceanhouse Media?
Apps are software, so my background running a video gaming company was definitely the right experience when I dived into the app world. I had worked with many seasoned engineers and designers in the past. I brought many into the Oceanhouse Media team. Together, we were able to get in on the ground floor of the app industry and develop a proprietary book engine that serves as the basis of all of our children’s digital book apps. Our strong knowledge of programming coupled with my experience running two prior businesses has proven to be a big asset. It is definitely a collaborative process.
What changes have you seen in the industry since you first opened your doors?
A lot has indeed changed since we started Oceanhouse Media four years ago. Today, the competition has gotten fierce with thousands of apps released each day on Apple’s App Store alone. Getting noticed and staying on top of the charts is harder than ever. In addition, Oceanhouse Media supports a number of platforms and devices and keeping up with updates and software requirements is a demanding task for the team. Customer expectations are growing at a very rapid pace. Simple, quick-to-build apps used to satisfy. Not anymore. The minimum bar of entry for each and every app is now extremely high.
Any news you want to share with Penelope’s mates?
Stay tuned for more app releases in our popular The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library and Smithsonian series. We’ve got some fantastic educational titles that we’re developing that are sure to be enjoyed by our young fans. Plus, we’re updating all of our children’s digital book apps to include our “Record and Share” feature and parental controls. We’ll also have the entire Dr. Seuss collection available as digital book apps by the end of the year. Look for Dr. Seuss’s The Butter Battle Book, The King’s Stilts, Bartholomew and the Oobleck, I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew and Scrambled Eggs Super! coming soon.
Exciting news Michel! And stay tuned mates – they have provided us with some codes for a Little Critters storybook app to hand out!