About this project
Is your child obsessed with Minecraft? Do you recognize that glazed look? Do you often feel like you are talking to yourself? Is getting your children off the computer a constant battle?
Technology moves fast, how can you as a parent keep up? It's difficult to know which apps or sites to look out for, when they change every day.
Some things, once seen, can never be unseen. How do you ensure your kids don't get tricked into following links to inappropriate content or videos, without being a helicopter parent? This stuff is hard.
KoalaSafe can help restore the balance and make parenting easier.
What is KoalaSafe?
A simple box, controlled from your smartphone, that provides a healthier internet in the home. Simply plug it in to your existing home router and connect all your children's devices. It's that simple. We set sensible defaults and you can tweak as you go. No IT wizardry required.
- Time Limits - You're no longer the bad guy. Simply choose how long your kids get each day, and when bedtime is, then Koala takes care of the rest.
- Parental Insights - If Facebook usage goes from 1 hour a week to 20 hours, we'll tell you. If Snapchat arrives in your home, you'll get notified. With insights, you'll know when it's time to talk to your kids about their online life.
- Across ALL Devices - The era of installing controls on every device is over. There are over 8 devices in the average home, Koala can protect them all from the convenience of your smartphone.
- Parental Feedback - Know how your child spends time online. See their usage broken down by category and which are their favourite sites or apps. Engage with them in conversation, enhancing the value of their time online; a useful teaching tool.
- YouTube and Google SafeSearch - A lot of the time, kids don't seek out inappropriate content, they just follow links, but there are some things that once seen, can never be unseen. On Koala, Google and YouTube search results are filtered, so your kids never encounter them in the first place.
- Parent Mode - Your own phone/tablet is neither filtered, nor monitored. If you share a device, simply hit "Parent Mode", enter your PIN and you're unfiltered until you give the device back to your child.
- App and Site Blocking - We block inappropriate content out of the box. For older kids, you can enable or disable categories like social media with a single click in the app.
- Profiles - Group devices and configure them separately. Setup age appropriate rules for each of your children.
How it all started
Christmas 2013 was very exciting. Zac and Liv finally got the iPad and laptop they'd been asking for. Very soon play time changed from this...
It wasn't sudden, but Zac especially spent more and more time on the computer, and getting him off to play outside, or to get him off in the evening to start winding down before bed, got harder and harder and was a constant source of arguments at home.
I imagined a simple box with some parental controls could make it a whole lot easier and that's where KoalaSafe was born.
Adam and I got to work on the prototype. We experimented on a number of hardware and software platforms, as well as different user interfaces to make the Koala experience ultra simple.
Word spread and soon we couldn't keep up assembling the boxes one-by-one. We got into a startup accelerator and agreed that the only way to bring Koala to the world and really make the difference we wanted to make, was to launch on Kickstarter.
The KoalaSafe is already in 50 homes around Australia and the United States. It works; families love us. BUT, the era of basic, blocky design is over - Apple changed all that. To really make an impact, Koala must be beautiful. We have the design and we have the relationship with our manufacturer, but like any hardware project, we need your help with pre-orders.
With 1000 pre-orders, we can push the "Go" button and start the production line rolling.
Backing our campaign brings us a step closer to helping 1000s of families and kids around the world. We want you to be a part of that.
By pledging your support, you'll also be in the next 1000 customers to get the device, meaning your feedback can help shape the future for how kids experience the internet in a safer and healthier way.
Meet The Team
We've known each other for 20+ years and have always been looking for that killer idea to change the world while we were busy toiling away at big banks. KoalaSafe is it - as soon as we started talking to other parents about it, they'd have the light-bulb moment of "YES! I have that problem!", and we knew the time had come to give parents a bit of help.
We both quit our jobs in mid-2014 to work full time on KoalaSafe. We've been gathering feedback from our beta devices, making the product even more awesome and now we just need that little Kickstart to get us over the line to mass production.
Whether you have the problem yourself, know someone who does, or just think that kids spend way too much time online and parents should have a bit of help to restore the balance, back us now!
- December 2013 - Niece and Nephew get iPads for Christmas, KoalaSafe idea born
- July 2014 - First KoalaSafe prototype goes into sisters home
- December 2014 - KoalaSafe v2 prototype goes into homes around the world
- January 2015 - Investment from Startmate Accelerator
- February 2015 - New case designed
- March 2015 - Kickstarter campaign
- June 2015 - Production run at month-end
- July 2015 - Delivery begins
Risks and challenges
Hardware and software is complex and you don't know what you don't know, but we've gone to great lengths to ensure KoalaSafe doesn't hit any hurdles.
Experience - We have 20+ years software development experience between us, as well as a network of 100+ founders of IT companies through our Startmate backers.
Manufacturing - Some projects go in blind and hope for the best with manufacturing. We don't manufacture ANY electronics, we buy generic boards - it's only the case we are doing a custom build for. One of our investors has experience in China and has inspected the facilities already.
Beta Programme - We already have the device in 50 homes, so we've ironed out all the big issues already. Our filtering has been improving every day, we've been able resolve any issues with things AppleTV and ChromeCast, so you get something that works flawlessly. There's always a chance we'll find a device that's not yet compatible, but we haven't yet!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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