EdTech startup Tokidos secures $1.35 million CAD for screenless gaming console

Tokidos says it has more than $115,000 in pre-orders for its September launch.

Montréal-based EdTech startup Tokidos has secured $1.35 million CAD in pre-seed funding for its screenless game console aimed at reducing children’s screen time.

The all-equity round, which closed in early February, saw participation from Triptyq Capital, Investissement Québec, and Boreal Ventures. Several angel investors also participated, including Arcade1Up’s CTO Davin Sufer; Francois Guy, vice president of technology at Quebec news outlet La Presse; and former vice president of DART Aerospace, Steve Ghaleb. 

According to a 2022 report by the Canadian Pediatric Society, increasing use of screens in young children is linked to changing levels of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep. The report found that only 15 percent of Canadian children aged three to four years old meet screen time guidelines of less than one hour per day.  

Following the launch of the console, Tokidos will look at opening up its game development platform to third-party developers.

Founded in 2021 by CEO Ralph Nakhle, Tokidos has developed a modular, screen-free gaming console called PLAYCubes. The system is made up of five cubes with square digital displays on top of each and a charging station. Parents and children can insert a game card into one of the cubes to begin playing games, which range from math exercises to interactive stories. The cubes can be moved around, pressed, or shaken depending on the game.  

“Amidst recent regulatory changes aimed at safeguarding children in digital spaces, Tokidos’ screen-free approach is not only timely but pioneering,” Triptyq Capital said in a statement. “We at Triptyq Capital firmly believe in Tokidos’ potential to navigate this landscape, making it a key player poised to lead in this rapidly growing sector.”

Tokidos said it has already received $115,000 CAD in pre-orders for PLAYCubes, and plans to launch the product in September at a retail price of $199 CAD. Tokidos is planning to have 20 games available at launch, available in both English and French, followed by monthly releases. 

Nakhle told BetaKit that Tokidos is building a game development environment that is “very developer friendly” by scripting its games with Lua, a common scripting language in the space.  

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Following the launch of the console, Tokidos will look at opening up its game development platform to third-party developers and growing its library with children’s IP partnerships. 

Nakhle said that the consoles will be collecting anonymous play data to understand how the games are contributing to the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children. 

Nakhle said the angel investors participating in Tokidos’ pre-seed fundraise have already brought strategic value to the company. 

Sufer, who has been an advisor for Tokidos for the past year, brings go-to-market expertise and a manufacturing and licensing network, according to Nakhle, while Guy brings experience in scaling hardware startups. Nakhle added that Guy supported the Tokidos team through tech development.

The new capital will go towards the development of Tokidos’ technology, games, and commercialization efforts. 

“This investment will help Tokidos build its team and bring its first product to market and start capitalizing on the large market opportunity ahead,” Nakhle said in a statement. “Our vision is to create an ecosystem of products that align with children’s intelligence, recognizing a significant opportunity often overlooked by major tech companies.”

Feature image courtesy Tokidos.

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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