Brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis, founders of JibJab, were visiting New York yesterday to officially launch their new multi-platform children’s project StoryBots. I met them in the afternoon at Rue 57 near Central Park to learn more about their plans for this new venture.
JibJab has evolved constantly since it was founded in a Brooklyn garage in 1999. In the beginning, JibJab was known for its goofy online Flash videos like Founding Fathers. The company gained widespread notoriety in 2004 with its election-themed short This Land, and soon became known for its “Year in Review” animated shorts. In 2007, the company pursued a new business model: e-greeting cards with the innovative “Starring You” technology that allowed people to insert themselves into animated cards. Today, the company specializes primarily in e-greeting cards and has over 40 employees in Venice Beach, California.
Now, with StoryBots, JibJab is expanding in a bold new direction: children’s entertainment. It’s also their biggest push ever into creating original content. Their vision for StoryBots is to build a “Sesame Street for a connected generation.” Using a cast of colorful, simply designed characters that they call StoryBots, JibJab envisions building “hundreds of products in the coming years” that are designed from the ground-up for mobile and tablet devices. These will include apps, ebooks, games, and videos. Educational content and personaliziation will be a key component of many of these products.