BIRD Paves the Way for a New Way to Play
Traditional toys and games were simple – mostly made of plastic, no electronics and with the consumer (children) using their imaginations to play. Today’s customers are no longer satisfied with traditional toys. Toys and games now require complex development using multiple CPUs motors and wireless communications. Today’s consumers expect hours of interactive content. Lower margins and a limited development budget created a challenge for well-known toy-maker, Hasbro. Hasbro became intrigued with the technology developed by a small Israeli startup, Vivo Text, who was looking for a commercial application for their text-to-speech and content distribution technologies. Since Hasbro had a need for a low-cost, efficient and on-demand method for delivering fresh new content to their products, the two companies began to discuss how they might work together to integrate Vivo Text’s technology into Hasbro’s next generation toys and games.
Since traditional Hasbro development budgets don’t support new technology R&D, the companies needed to find a creative way to fund their project. They approached BIRD and were awarded funding for the project in late 2011. According to Jonathan Palé, Director of Emerging Technologies at Hasbro, the success of the Hasbro Vivo Text relationship began with the passion they both shared for their idea. Jonathan was able to convince his colleagues that with the help of a small Israeli company, they could re-shape their industry. And they had patience and faith in the process. Jonathan found that face-to-face meetings were critical to building a successful business relationship and greatly enjoyed his visits to Israel to meet with his partner at Vivo Text. Says Jonathan, “Tel Aviv is a beautiful city and a global technology hub. An innovator’s candy store!!” His advice, “A global business requires a global mentality. Immerse yourself.”