Vancouver-based startup Biba has raised $1.3 million in Pre-Series A funding to speed up the development of their smart playground software.
The latest round was led by Leonite Capital LLC with participation from BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk and PopCap games co-founder Jason Kapalka.
The new capital comes at a milestone for the smart playground company, as they recently reached 1,000 Biba playground installs in North America, the company said in a press release.
Biba was launched at a time when kids getting outside and being active was swapped with time in front of a screen. Instead of competing directly with online fun, Biba wanted to re-orient the screen fixation to the playground where augmented-reality enhanced mobile games could be used to encourage physical activity.
“When it comes to making an impact on childhood fitness, we’ve taken on a big mission,” said CEO Matt Toner. “Our games help create a fun environment that today’s children look forward to on the playground, while easing some of the challenges today’s parents face when it comes to raising healthy kids.”
The startup’s augmented reality markers are attached directly to playground equipment, turning stagnant slides and metal ladders into an interactive and enhanced play experience for kids—and Biba said it takes less than 15 minutes to do so.
Integrated with a mobile app, these smart markers can unlock content when scanned on a parent’s smartphone, marrying online and offline play.
“I spent most of my career developing games that kept children on the couch for hundreds of hours,” said Zeschuk who was one of two game company co-founders that financially backed Biba. “With Biba, I feel that I’m giving back to the world by making games that encourage children to go outside and get physical.”
The Biba-powered playgrounds also collect data on park traffic and track app interactions, giving park and city officials deeper insight into a community’s public play areas.
Toner said the latest funding will be used to fuel R&D and create more games, ultimately leading to more cities adopting Biba-powered playgrounds globally.