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Royelles: “The future of the metaverse is female”

As the parent of two children, including an 11-year-old daughter, Royelles CEO and Founder Múkami Kinoti Kimotho noticed a change several years ago that will likely be familiar to many parents. Her daughter and her friends have gone from playing with toys to playing with mobile devices.

“It’s how they create, it’s how they connect, it’s how they learn, and it’s definitely how they have fun,” Kimotho says. “Mobile gaming is really at the heart of everything they do.”

Kimotho was concerned that young girls spent so much time gaming on mobile devices and in online worlds, and understood how their experiences there could fuel mental health issues, cyberbullying, body shaming and Other problems.

So if girls like his daughter were going to spend so much time gaming on mobile devices, Kimotho wanted it to be a net positive.

Mukami Kinoti Kimotho

“It has become my mission to leverage games, and more specifically inclusive and safe educational games, as a way to dismantle the mistaken mindsets of our children and solve the problems that parents, educators and champions of all our girls in particular were struggling and struggling with it,” Kimotho says.

To that end, Kimotho worked on Royelles, a mobile app billed as a metaverse platform for girls.

“I really feel like the future of the metaverse is female,” she says, calling girls and women the fastest growing demographic in the space.

As for the app itself, the idea is “to expand the level of bravery, brilliance, beauty and all things powerful so that girls everywhere begin to see themselves represented in the experience. game”.

Despite the metaverse tag, the Royelles app currently available on Google Play and the App Store is a strictly single-player affair. Multiplayer functionality, like many features, should be added within a year, but Kimotho says the company is deliberately slowing things down to more carefully manage player exposure to others, especially with the target demographic being so young. .

While gamers will have to wait for the online social component to appear within the app itself, Royelles has hosted live virtual experiences, where 20-50 young gamers (plus their adult chaperones) come together on Zoom to explore topics in a playful way, meet non-binary women and role models – think activists, tech executives or astronauts – and find out what a day in their life looks like. A recent event was held with NASA and several Girl Scout chapters.

As for what’s currently available in the app, there’s a series of activities led by Mara, a princess whose mother wants her to be the first woman to lead her country’s peacekeeping forces. , while his own desire is to be the first person on Mars. Royelles includes a number of themed activities around Mara’s interests, including facts about the solar system and a driving game where the player must safely guide a rover around the surface of Mars.

Royelles Login Screen

Mara welcomes players to the app

“The whole narrative is built around the idea that big dreams require courage, daring and bravery,” says Kimotho. “And grounding yourself in authenticity and the idea that those qualities and characteristics that set you apart as different and unique are superpowers.”

So what is Royelles’ business model? The app is free, and Kimotho says users will eventually be able to pay for in-app experiences and customizations. The company is also talking with “mission-aligned organizations and corporate partners” about placing sponsored interstitial ads in various parts of the game.

“The whole narrative is built around the idea that big dreams require courage, daring and bravery”

“There is also a huge opportunity from a B2B perspective, especially with educational institutions and mission-aligned organizations,” Kimotho says. “What we have built aligns very well with STEM, STEAM, social-emotional learning, leadership development and enrichment programs.”

As to whether the company’s explicit focus on creating a metaverse for girls might limit that B2B potential, Kimotho says, “Yes, but no.”

“I think there’s a huge concern among educators themselves that this demographic isn’t necessarily being well served, and we don’t have enough women in STEM fields,” she says, adding that while the app is focused on girls, it does not prohibit the hiring of people who identify with something else.

When it comes to spreading the app, Kimotho says the marketing campaign is less about targeting end users and more about people watching their media diets.

“We have a pretty focused go-to-market strategy,” says Kimotho. “It’s really about working with their adult influencers because of the age range we’re targeting, we’re talking to the parents – or the people who are parenting in that child’s life – as well as their educators , mentors, champions, and others who may be passionate about STEM/STEAM or girl empowerment.”

As a result, Royelles still competes with offerings like Roblox and Minecraft, but it may make the case to parents that time spent with its own app is more worthwhile for their children.

“In my mind, any app that targets kids ages 4-12 and engages them is a contender”

Kimotho also mentions secondary contestants as other outfits focused on inspiring and empowering girls. She mentions Rebel Girls — an app with inspirational audio stories for girls — as an example, though that company focuses more on books and stories than interactive game-like content.

“The reality is that we’re dealing with a generation that lives and breathes gaming, mobile gaming in particular,” Kimotho says. “So in my mind, any app that targets and engages kids ages 4-12 is a contender.”

To date, Royelles has been largely self-funded, with the exception of a few grants and awards for winning pitch competitions. Kimotho hopes to explore venture capital options in the next six to twelve months. Naturally, she’ll have to sell them her vision of success and the potential of the app, but what exactly does success look like with an educational and inspiring metaverse?

“Success is as simple as the child who engages on our platform recognizes how powerful they are and takes a bold, fearless, fearless approach to being the best they can be and realizing their potential,” Kimotho says, adding that it It’s a success she wants to replicate millions, if not hundreds of millions, of times around the world.

“For us, success is really about raising awareness of what we’ve built, interacting with communities across the country and the world, getting as much information and feedback from them on this first iteration of this that we’ve built, adjusting it quickly to meet their needs and bringing more and more to market,” she adds.

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