TC50: Story Something Maximizes Story Time For Time-Starved Parents

Every parent knows how important story time is for their kids. It is a ritual, an opportunity to connect, and a learning moment. But too often it gets crammed into the few minutes left at the end of the day before putting them to bed. The average working mom spends two hours a day with her children, but only 4.5 minutes of that time is devoted to reading. Working fathers are even more remiss, spending only 2.5 minutes a day reading to their tots.

Making the most out of that time, and extending it, is what TechCrunch50 finalist Story Something is all about. Story Something generates personalized stories for a child that makes them the hero by putting them at the center of the narrative. A parent selects a theme (dragons, pets, superheroes) to see a list of stories that fit their child’s interests. Stories can be browsed by topic or age. The hero takes on the child’s name, and a story is generated which can be viewed on the Web or emailed to the parent. That turns your iPhone into a bedtime reader.

Parents can build a virtual bookshelf of stories around different themes. They can get a new story emailed to them every day on any schedule they choose. Waiting with a fidgety child at the doctor’s office? Read them a story. As children get older, the stories change to more of a”Choose Your Own Adventure format, allowing them to decide which way the narrative will turn.

The stories themselves are created two ways. Story Something will commission professional authors to write tales on an ongoing basis, and it will also crowdsource stories from parents. Everyone has at least one great children’s story in them, or at least they think they do. Story Something aims to be an outlet for their creativity, as well as a way to share those stories with other parents. Upload text, images, and a title and your done.

The stories themselves will be free up to a certain point, but once a parent becomes hooked they will be charged a monthly subscription fee of about $3. And for aspiring authors who ant to add more editorial features to make their stories stand out, there will be a fee for that as well.

The site will open in private beta in a few days. You can sign up here.

Q&A with the experts

Jason Hirschhorn: How important is form factor. Children like to hold the book

Jim Rose, CEO: We are targeting children 3 to 8. They love to hold the iphone. The form factor question is more for parents than for kids. Kidd love it

Ron Conway: can you read it in the Kindle?

Rose: Sure.

George Zachary: What happens if one of these stories becomes the next Harry Potter, who owns the derivative rights?

Rose: If it is a commissioned work, we own the rights. Otherwise, just the digital rights.

Yossi Vardi: What is the status of the company right now?

Rose: Two employees, a small private beta, will launch in next few days., worked with 20 authors, commissioned 50 stories.

Don Dodge: How are parents going to find out about Story Something?

Rose: Especially on the social networks, the mommies are especially strong. But being able to send

Yossi Vardi: How profound is the assumption that parents will continue to make kids?

A: I don’t know. I have two. There’s a lot of kids

Don: Jason Calacanis will be a customer soon.

Vardi: I actually got a new grandchild this morning.

Jason Calacanis: Would the judges invest in this?

Ron Conway: We would definitely have another meeting.

Don Dodge: it is a business that can scale without a lot of investment. It is like a lottery ticket

Hirshhorn: It answers the desperation of parents everywhere so definitely consider it.


Other Coverage:
TC50: Story Something creates personal stories for your children VentureBeat.
Story Something cria histórias de dormir para o seu filho TC50 Jornal tecnologia.
Story Something: iPhone Customized Bedtime Stories for Children InventorSpot.
Personalized e-stories for kids on the iPhone and Kindle
TechCrunch50: Story Something Brings Technology to Bedtime Stories Trends Updates.
Story Something to offer personalised kids’ stories for iPhone Mobile Entertainment.