One year ago, Taiwan-based app-enabled toy startup and Echelon alumnus Roam & Wander announced receiving an undisclosed amount of investment from venture firms, WI Harper and TMI. Today, it is reported to have raised another round of funding, led by WI Harper, and joined by new angel investors from Hong Kong and Taiwan.
While the current funding amount is also undisclosed, founder Jason Warren told TechCrunch that it brought the total amount raised to “just under US$1 million”.
Roam & Wander will be utilising the new funds for its upcoming expansion into the US retail market. Its toys like TuTu, first made available on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, are now for purchase on Amazon, and in traditional toy shops in Asia like Toys R Us.
Warren told e27, “Tutu is on the Amazon.com site now, and we’re working to use Amazon’s FBA service and payments to enable in-app purchase of the toy from our iPad games. I haven’t tried to meet any other retailers yet, (and) will start to do so after Chinese New Year when I’ll be commuting between San Francisco and Taipei every two to three weeks.”
He added that he has been meeting retail buyers in November, and received a lot of interest from US, China, Europe and Japan. He said, “TuTu is just starting to roll out in stores now, and our first larger batch of inventory is almost done being manufactured and will be in channel just before Chinese New Year.”
At the moment, Roam & Wander has a team of 16 employees, and is working on a one-meter tall iPad-enabled plush rabbit. Children playing with TuTu can download Sticker Games, an app published by the same startup, to exchange their achievements for stickers sent to their doorstep. In addition, they can feed the rabbit with touch-enabled toy apples or milk cartons.
Warren said, “We’re hoping that kids will encounter TuTu first through Sticker Games. Then after they play games and win stickers, they will be more interested in taking care of TuTu.”