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In a world full of technological advances, there seem to be more and more ways to stay connected with one another. People’s usage of social media sites, texting, and mobile applications have increased more than ever before. However, most communication devices are all geared for adults, teenagers, or mature children. There have been very few ways for young children to communicate with those around them, especially in a simple, safe manner. MIT graduate Gauri Nanda, founder of Toymail, recently aired in February of this year on season 8, episode 18 of the show Shark Tank. Talkies are cute stuffed animals that provide a safe means for children under the age of 10 to send voice messages to their parents' phones or to other children’s Talkies. The link to the episode is provided below on the resource page. There are three main reasons that stand out as to why Gauri Nanda’s Toymail Talkies have been successful and will most likely be successful in the long run.
The first reason why Toymail was most likely chosen was because it is an extremely innovative idea and it appears to possess several first-mover advantages such as achieving a monopoly position in the market for this type of product. Talkies are a brand new concept and a safe means for young children to feel more connected their parents and other family members. Gauri Nanda essentially is taking a blue-ocean strategic approach because Toymail is “inventing a new market segment that renders existing competitors irrelevant and allows the company to create and capture altogether new demand” (Thompson 2016). Entrepreneurs need to think creatively about how they can provide a product or service for markets which prove that they have high demand or the potential for demand in the future.
The second reason why the Sharks may have been so interested in Toymail was due to the fact that Nanda mentioned having strong business relationships with Verizon and Amazon, both of which are large successful companies. “A joint venture is a good vehicle for pursuing an opportunity that is too complex, uneconomical, or risky for one company to pursue alone” (Thompson 2016). In a way, Toymail would be pursuing a joint venture with these two popular companies. Strong relationships with Verizon and Amazon would be highly beneficial for Toymail so as to help promote the new product and hopefully increase interest.
The third and most important reason why Toymail was successful in the eyes of the Sharks was due to the fact that Nanda was able to communicate the strategic vision and mission of the company briefly, yet in a powerful manner. She was able to “identify the company’s product, specify the buyer needs that the company was seeking to satisfy and the customer groups or markets that it was trying to serve, and give the company its own identity” (Thompson 2016). Nanda’s vision for Talkies is one that is both admirable and practical because she wants to connect children with their family members, while at the same she showed her ability to craft a strategic business plan. This company would appear to have great potential and it will be interesting to follow the company to see if, and how, it will take off. Toymail is said to “generate an estimated $142,112 in annual sales so far” (Find the Company by Graphiq). This amount does not seem like very much, but this does not factor in the fact that the company has recently received national recognition on public television, and more importantly, two of the Sharks have decided to invest in the company.
In conclusion, Toymail has at least three solid reasons as to why it was successful both in the eyes of the Sharks and most likely in the future as well. Parents are constantly worrying about their children’s safety and them having too much screen time, which is why Toymail is such a brilliant, safe solution. Children enjoy interactive toys, but even more so, they enjoy interacting with their loved ones. Gauri Nanda proved that she was a smart entrepreneur, one with an innovative strategy, promising partnerships, and a lasting mission for the company.
Find the Company by Graphiq. (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2017, from http://listings
Shark Tank Season 8 Episode 18 ( 18 Feb 2017 ) (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1bwPthLAXY
Thompson, A., Peteraf, M., Gamble, J., & Strickland, A.J. (2016) Crafting and executing Strategy. The quest for competitive advantage.( Twentieth edition). New York, NY: McGraw Hill