Indy Chamber News Archives
Edwin the Duck isn’t your average rubber ducky. Designed using smart technology, Edwin guides children through an animated world of stories, games, songs, and learning.
A product of Indy’s own booming startup tech community, Edwin the Duck was developed by pi lab,LLC, and is the world’s first ‘smart duck,’ a toy full of personality connected through Bluetooth to apps. A constant companion, Edwin the Duck controls an animated Edwin on your tablet or computer with the help of your child’s taps, turns, and twists. Also serving as a night-light, speaker, and thermometer, Edwin the Duck is not short on innovative technological features.
pi lab cofounders, Matt MacBeth and Don Inmon joined forces to enter the world of entrepreneurship when they found their shared passion for technology, entertainment, and education.
“Indianapolis has a knowledge sharing, collaborative feel. It’s a tech community no one outside of Indianapolis has heard of. Combining that with affordability, it is a great place for startups compared to Silicon Valley,” says MacBeth, pi lab’s CEO.
Catching the attention of tech giants, Apple and Best Buy, pi lab has taken Edwin to a nationwide audience, with the innovative product in Apple stores across the country and plans to expand the product to their stores in Europe and China.
Path to success
pi lab has worked collaboratively with the Central region of the ISBDC via the Launch Indiana initiative, a joint program between the ISBDC and Launch Fishers providing mentorship to innovation driven entrepreneurs. DeveloperTown, Techpoint and others have also contributed to their success, resulting in local recognition along the way.
At the Innovation Showcase in 2015, Edwin the Duck took home the grand prize and earned accolades from judges and spectators alike. At TechPoint’s 2015 Mira Awards, pi lab received the Mobile Tech award and was also nominated for Tech Start Up of the Year. Also in the national and international spotlight, Edwin was a Last Gadget Standing finalist at International Consumer Electrics Show in Las Vegas, as well as a 2016 National Parenting Product Awards Winner.
“The hardest part of entrepreneurship has been figuring out why we are doing this,” says MacBeth, “You have to find your why in life. It’s so much more than making a product.”
Their “why in life” shines through their passion for children’s education. pi lab is an entertainment and relationship company creating an educational, technology driven toy. Edwin the Duck allows children to see, process, and feel, exercising every part of the brain. When their brain is stimulated at an early age, children have better coordination, math, language, music, and fine motor skills. While most children’s toys are hollow and meaningless, Edwin forms a bond with children becoming one of their friends. In fact, Edwin means “faithful friend” in Old English.
Having a desire to give back and help other entrepreneurs on their journey, MacBeth volunteers with FIRST Robotics, a robotics program for youth, gives advice to other budding tech entrepreneurs, and speaks to students with an interest in technology and entrepreneurship. “It’s neat to see kids get excited and ask questions about tech startups. At that age, I never would have asked those questions,” MacBeth says.
Another thingthe staff atpi lab is passionate about is protecting the kids who own Edwin. Edwin is made out of BPA-free soft-feel silicone, manufactured in a closely-monitored facility in China. MacBeth makes regular trips to the facility in China to check on the quality of the product. Using third party logistics, Edwin makes his way from China to retailers around the world, and is currently for sale at Apple and Best Buy stores across the United States.
Having crafted a remarkable product, the team at pi lab sees nothing but growth in their future. With intentions to expand into more retail stores and license their product to other companies, pi lab is free to grow Edwin the Duck into other entertainment aspects, such as a band called The Wingmen that will perform for children and parents alike. The sky is the limit for this central Indiana startup!
To learn more about Edwin the Duck, please visit www.edwintheduck.com