Given Norouz is one of our biggest holidays, I kept seeing posts this past week on Facebook around new year, celebrations, pictures of friends from parties, etc. One particular post, however, stood out to me. It was “AppTalia“. I saw a post around this video specifically for Norouz. (Click here for the video). A fun, interactive explanation of what Persian New Year is geared towards children.
And so, I had to learn some more and interview the founder and CEO of AppTalia, Rashin M. Taheri. Enjoy her story!
What is your business?
AppTalia offers fun, educational apps designed to provide answers to kids’ questions about the world in which we live. We introduce and get children excited about topics in biology, physics, chemistry, the universe, the human body, and much more. And we make our apps multilingual, allowing kids to gain knowledge and learn new languages at the same time. AppTalia’s apps are suitable for children ages 3 to 9.
Why did you start this business?
From her earliest years, my daughter, Talia, was fascinated with my iPhone. With it secure in my hand, I watched her as she tried to play and interact with the screen. Another activity we shared was reading so every night I would translate and read storybooks to Talia in Persian, my native language.
When she turned three, she started bombarding us with questions. “Where does snow come from?” “Why does the moon look like a circle, when last time it looked like a banana?” We’d answer her questions to the best of our ability, relying on Google when we came up blank.
Her inquisitiveness about the world we live in spurned my own curiosity. Talia was obviously curious about her environment, she loved mobile devices, and I wanted her to be able to communicate in her native language. “Why not combine the three?” I thought, and that’s when AppTalia was born.
I enjoy every aspect of my new venture, but I particularly like creating the apps. It’s fulfilling to identify a topic, conduct the research, write the storyboard, work with my creative team, input the coding, and complete the testing to ensure we’ve done a good job of bringing the app to life.
What were some challenges you faced?
My background was programming, so researching how to create a mobile app was not difficult. I soon realized, however, that to bring a quality app to market I was going to need a team, including a graphic artist, a music composer, voice over talents, language translators, and a developer. My only challenge is finding Persian Voice over talents!
What are some of the recent news (events, etc)?
One of AppTalia’s app, The Tale of a Snowflake, has been designated a 2013 Parents’ Choice Award winner in the Mobile Apps category by Parents’ Choice Foundation, “the nation’s oldest nonprofit guide to quality children’s media and toys.”
The Tale of a Snowflake teaches children about the three phases of the water cycle—evaporation, condensation, and precipitation—through the use of a narrative, coupled with interactive features. Less than 20 percent of the products submitted to the program receive any level of commendation and we are very proud and honored to receive this award.http://www.parents-choice.org/product.cfm?product_id=31456&StepNum=1&award=aw
The Tale of a Snowflake can be heard in two languages, English and Persian, and can be played on an iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It is available on the App Store.
What are your plans for Apptalia in the upcoming year?
My ultimate goal is to create a learning platform to expose kids to science in their early childhood development. I firmly believe that younger children have a tremendous amount of natural curiosity, and that we should leverage their interest, using technology to expose them to subjects beyond early reading and basic math. Also, I believe science is for everyone; it’s not for a specific gender, culture, or country. Educational apps of all kinds—including science—can be used by all children, especially if they are multilingual.
Anything else you would like to share?
AppTalia was founded in March 2012. So far we have 5 apps in the market and all of them are in English and Persian languages.
- Norooz App which uses interactive features to explain the Persian New Year and the many traditions surrounding this festive holiday.
- The Tale of a Snowflake that teaches water cycle in a unique and interactive way.
- TTT (Touch The Thing) is a language app that teaches 220 words in 12 different languages.
- Two interactive story books (Little Black Fish & Together)