Funding Canceled Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on June 16, 2013.
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MessagePetz connects families and friends through a cool messaging platform and an adorable WiFi & Bluetooth connected Teddy Bear!

Make Your Text Messages Huggable!

MessagePetz is a private, huggable messaging platform for families.

It's tough to be away from your kids because of a business trip or even simply going to work for the day.  MessagePetz are an easy, fun way to stay in touch with your children and loved ones when you are apart.

What is a MessagePetz?

Hi! I'm your MessagePetz!
Hi! I'm your MessagePetz!

MessagePetz are WiFi-enabled smart Teddy Bears that make it easy for a child without a smartphone to receive and send text messages with their families.

Heart lights up to tell your loved ones that they have a message
Heart lights up to tell your loved ones that they have a message

Simply by hugging their MessagePetz, your child can let you know that they've received your message and automatically send you a reply text message, securely.  

The MessagePetz Teddy Bear is supported by the free MessagePetz smartphone app.  

MessagePetz Messaging: the first child-friendly messaging app

MessagePetz and our companion messaging app were designed with you and your children in mind.

We teamed up with our partners Keith and Ken Hanson of Twin Engine Labs and their awesome team in Shreveport, LA to help design the app.  

Twin Engine Labs built the multiple-award-winning iPad app for the Oscar winning short animation produced by William Joyce’s Moonbot Studios, The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore.   When Twin Engine agreed to help create MessagePetz, we all knew we had the opportunity to do something great!  

The MessagePetz messaging app allows you to easily send and receive messages from your children with a few taps on your smartphone. 

MessagePetz Hug Notification Screen And Dialog Screen
MessagePetz Hug Notification Screen And Dialog Screen

The MessagePetz app is ‘closed’ so only those you’ve added to your account can send and receive messages inside your network. There are no social media components, which ensures that your messages stay completely private between you and your loved ones.  

At MessagePetz, our mission is to create deeper and richer family connections while protecting your privacy.

How does MessagePetz work?

We designed MessagePetz to be easy to use and set up. 

First, simply download our app to your smartphone. The app will walk you through a one-time set up process to connect your MessagePetz to your home WiFi network.

You can now send a hug, a kiss, or an "I love you" to your loved ones with just a few taps on your phone.  There is also a mobile web version of the app.

Easy to use
Easy to use

When you tap the emotion icon, the message is sent to your child’s MessagePetz Teddy Bear and you will immediately receive a confirmation notification that the message has been sent. You can also type in short personal messages to send if your child is at reading level.

The huggable messaging experience.

When your child’s MessagePetz receives a message, its LED heart will light up.   Your child hugs or squeezes the MessagePetz to retrieve the message - the MessagePetz is now in “Reply” mode. 

I have a message for you!
I have a message for you!

The MessagePetz app will then automatically send a confirmation message to your smartphone that your message was received, completing the message loop.

This confirmation message can even be special; you will receive custom messages you and your child agree on, such as “Peter loves you, too” or “Stephanie hugs you a ton back!” if you sent a hug message.

Have more than one child?

Multiple MessagePetz Teddy Bears can be associated with one MessagePetz family account.  

MessagePetz is secure

No one outside of your private network can send a message to any of your MessagePetz, unless you first give them access.  You decide who to add to your network and who to delete. Your privacy and security are very important to us and we are COPPA compliant.

MessagePetz will be pursuing certification from the kidSAFE Seal Program. The kidSAFE Seal Program is an independent certification service and seal program that reviews and certifies the safety practices of children-friendly websites and applications, including kid-targeted game sites, virtual worlds, social networks, PC and mobile apps, web-connected devices, and other similar online and interactive products. Visit www.kidsafeseal.com to learn more.

Developers, Makers, Creators, join our open source ecosystem!

When you pledge to MessagePetz, you will not only play a key role in helping us get into production, but you will also be unlocking the gate to a fantastic world for makers, artists, tinkerers, and dreamers all over the world!

Make me your own!
Make me your own!

MessagePetz are powered by open source Linux software.  We encourage the open source software community to come up with new ways to use MessagePetz.  We will make an SDK and API for third party integration available for you prior to the initial Teddy Bear ship date.

We are equipping MessagePetz with a pretty powerful little computer inside, so you can expect some very cool features to be available involving sound, images, and more!

We hope artists, writers and designers will have fun creating stories, clothes and other accessories for MessagePetz.

We will even offer assistance and support you with free ‘MessagePetz Official Partner’ status if you agree to abide by our MessagePetz Partner Code: Be Nice and Treat People Fairly.

Meet the MessagePetz team

King, Glenn, and Adam at the Mama Bear 2013 Family Tech Conference, May 10, 2013
King, Glenn, and Adam at the Mama Bear 2013 Family Tech Conference, May 10, 2013

Hi Kickstarters!

The MessagePetz team met at Startup Weekend Lehigh Valley in November 2012. We were part of another team that won the Sponsor’s Choice Award. Shortly after our Startup Weekend, King came up with the idea for MessagePetz.

We’ve bootstrapped our way through several rounds of prototyping and have received fantastic customer feedback on MessagePetz from kids and adults of all ages through each round of prototyping. We are now ready to begin production of MessagePetz, but we’ll need your support to begin.

The First Prototypes!
The First Prototypes!
The prototype Arduino board, pressure switch, WiFi shield, and Smart Power Base of the final prototype
The prototype Arduino board, pressure switch, WiFi shield, and Smart Power Base of the final prototype

Current Production Specifications:

  • Linux OS
  • ARM Processor
  • WiFi b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • 1.8" TFT LCD
  • Codec Audio
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 256 MB Flash Memory
  • Li-Polymer Battery

Your pledge will help with the cost of tooling and other production set-up expenses, such as molds for the electronics case inside the Teddy Bear.

We have already lined up suppliers here in the USA for the plush Teddy Bear and the other components.

Thank You for your pledge!!
Thank You for your pledge!!

We have so much more we want to tell you about MessagePetz, so we’ve created a pretty comprehensive FAQ to answer your questions. If you don’t see your question addressed in the FAQ, please drop us a line.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We have worked hard to minimize any risks to the success of this project. We are experienced engineers, designers, project managers, and business people and have partnered with some of the best in the business to produce our Teddy Bears, electronics, and apps.

We are making MessagePetz in the USA. Each MessagePetz will proudly wear a "Made in USA" tag.

We have watched and learned from other successful Kickstarter campaigns, and we also sought the advice of some of those project creators, such as MTS Ventures and 3Doodler.

We applied this knowledge and experience to our own project planning and are working very hard to ensure that if you support us, we will exceed your expectations!

By the way, in addition to giving us an award at Startup Weekend, MTS Ventures worked with us on our prototypes. That’s where Matt got the idea for his own successful Kickstarter project, the Smart Power Base. A Smart Power Base is powering the MessagePetz prototype featured on this page.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

FAQ

  • After the end of our Kickstarter campaign Amazon Payment Services will let you know that your credit card is about to be charged. Amazon processes the pledges for Kickstarter.

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  • Domestic shipping within the continental U.S. is included. We will have to treat orders from Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico as international orders.

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  • Yes, but unfortunately, it’s pretty expensive. The least expensive option we’ve found is the United States Postal Service. We will be using USPS Priority Mail International to ship your MessagePetz (expect 6 to 10 days for many major international markets. Average number of days may vary based upon origin and destination - USPS.com) If your country is on http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immctry.htm, we'll ship to you. You will be paying your country’s tariffs and/or import taxes. If we can find a way to ship at a lower price, we’ll let you know ASAP and lower the shipping fee for you accordingly.

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  • We fall into the product category and Kickstarter only allows one per backer. We will do everything we can to ramp up production as quickly as possible so you can to order more at MessagePetz.com after our Kickstarter.

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  • We hope so. It will depend in some part on how well our campaign does and how fast. For example, one partner has committed to adding additional employees to meet our demand if needed, but their hiring of additional workers will take a few weeks. The more successful our campaign, then the sooner we can start that process.

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  • We hope not. This is a key reason we opted to produce MessagePetz in the USA - to eliminate one major risk factor and the overseas shipping time from our production process. We also have back-up component suppliers in case of any issues with our primary suppliers, or we can use them to help meet higher demand.

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  • After Kickstarter, you will be able to pre-order more MessagePetz at MessagePetz.com. All Kickstarter orders will be fulfilled first. Kickstarter orders will ship separately from orders placed on MessagePetz.com and they cannot be combined.

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  • Yes. We will include a simple guide to help you set up your MessagePetz and download & install the app on your phone.

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  • We’ll be standing by 24/7 to offer you support. Customer Service contact details will be on the MessagePetz.com website.

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  • MessagePetz has a feature so your child can also initiate sending you a message, not just reply to the messages you send.

    If your child’s MessagePetz is not in “Reply” mode and your child hugs it, it will automatically send you a new “original” message. This message can be a simple pre-programmed message to be sent to you when your child hugs their MessagePetz, for example, “Peter loves you”, or Sally misses you”.

    If we exceed our goal, we will announce some exciting new hardware features we plan to include and software options for kids to send custom messages to you from their MessagePetz.

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  • The MessagePetz messaging app allows you to also send an automatic reply to your child’s MessagePetz after they initiate a message to you.

    For example, perhaps you need to put your smart phone in quiet mode, or turn it off for a meeting. If so, any message your child sends during that time would be acknowledged by the automatic response you’ve selected, such as “Mommy loves you!” or “Talk to you soon, sweetie!” Or you can have the app send an icon, such as a smiley face or heart, or your picture.

    We want your child to feel as connected to you as you want.

    If your child hugs their MessagePetz repeatedly before you get a chance to reply personally, the MessagePetz app counts how many hugs you received and displays that number alongside the message.

    You can also set your MessagePetz to randomly vary the automatic reply messages your child receives so your child thinks you are getting and replying to their messages personally. These automatic replies can be a combination of text and symbols.

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  • MessagePetz will automatically send a pre-programmed message to you each time your child hugs their MessagePetz. You select or create the message you receive on your phone. Your child will likely enjoy helping you pick the message!

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  • MessagePetz have a sleep mode that you can control from your smartphone or the Teddy Bear. Sounds and other features are disabled in sleep mode.

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  • No. In sleep mode, only the parent can send a message, which will automatically turn off sleep mode. So if your child accidentally roles over on her MessagePetz while sleeping, her MessagePetz will not send you a message.

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  • No! MessagePetz are for all those you love and care about. You’ll love sending and receiving messages with MessagePetz, no matter what your age! We expect the open source community will create some fun and entertaining MessagePetz apps just for adults.

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  • Yes.

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  • Yes. Messages are sent over the internet via WiFi. If you access the internet through a cellular data plan, your carrier may impose fees based on your data plan

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  • MessagePetz are not designed for kids under 4.

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  • Yes, MessagePetz are warrantied for one year. We will replace yours free (including shipping) if it breaks through no fault of you or your child. Damage due to misuse is not covered, but contact us first if you are not sure what happened. We want you and your child to be happy.

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  • Not by our design. MessagePetz are shipped configured to work only on the MessagePetz platform.

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  • This will technically void your warranty, but if you are curious, sure, have at it. If it works, let us know, tell your friends, and publish the instructions! Maybe we will be able to sort out that little warranty issue you have, too!

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  • Yes! MessagePetz are made in the U.S. Our costs are only a bit higher than if we sourced from overseas, but we think the quality, speed, and safety are worth it.

    Some of the individual little bits and pieces on the circuit boards are from overseas but all components are assembled onto the MessagePetz board in the U.S.

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  • Made in the USA MessagePetz are designed to stand up to normal wear and tear, but if they are abused, seams may split like with other stuffed toys. If a seam splits, please take the toy away from your child immediately and have it sewn back. You can also always send it to us to fix for free during the warranty period. Domestic shipping both ways is on us, as well.

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  • We will still repair your MessagePetz plush covering for free. If electrical components need fixing or replacing after the warranty, we may have to charge a small repair fee. Contact us before you ship the MessagePetz and we’ll figure out how to make you happy.

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  • Yes! We will have a loaner program! If you let us know that you need to ship a MessagePetz in for repair, we’ll ship you a loaner for free, first. This way, your child won’t be without her best friend. We may not be able to guarantee an exact match with the loaner, but we will try. If not, you may have to explain to your child that a MessagePetz cousin from out of town has come to visit to keep her company for a while :)

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  • Yes, but MessagePetz are electronic devices – mini computers, essentially. They are not designed for children under 4 years of age. MessagePetz use your home WiFi signal to receive and send messages. They also use Bluetooth connectivity. Our components meet or exceed all safety standards for these devices.

    Our U.S. manufacturing is further assurance that MessagePetz meet or exceed all U.S. guidelines and requirements for toy safety.

    MessagePetz will be pursuing certification from the kidSAFE Seal Program. The kidSAFE Seal Program is an independent certification service and seal program that reviews and certifies the safety practices of children-friendly websites and applications, including kid-targeted game sites, virtual worlds, social networks, PC and mobile apps, web-connected devices, and other similar online and interactive products. Visit http://www.kidsafeseal.com/ to learn more.

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  • We love animals. If you have a dog please make sure to keep an eye on him if he plays with stuffed pet toys so he does not think the MessagePetz is his. MessagePetz are not made to stand up to the jaws of dogs.

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  • Not unless you add the information of one of their friends to your permissioned senders list. MessagePetz is intended as a private network for families, not as a public messaging app.

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  • Yes, in a limited capacity using Bluetooth connectivity to a smart phone. Please note, if you travel there will also need to be a Bluetooth enabled smart phone available in your home, too, to talk to your child’s MessagePetz.

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  • Yes. Using Bluetooth connectivity, you can let your MessagePetz access other Wifi networks outside of your home. Or you can use Bluetooth to connect direct to the internet. Please check your wireless plan to see if you will accrue additional data charges.

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  • No. Unless you have added the contact information of others to your network, no one can send a message to your child’s MessagePetz.

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  • First, we do not collect or store data or other information on your children. During signup, we only collect basic information on you, the parent, to set up your account. That information is collected using an encrypted SSL layer. We identify each bear in our system by a serial number, not a name. We are also following industry standards to protect the data and privacy of our customers.

    Our current plan is to be an “ad free” service, so the demographic data so valued by advertisers is of no value to MessagePetz, so we are not collecting it. If at any time we have the need to change this policy we will let you know way in advance so you either can opt out of the service or if applicable, pay a subscription fee to have your MessagePetz experience remain ad free.

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  • No.

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  • No.

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  • Right now we only support western English, but these alphabet characters can be used now to send messages in Spanish, French, and other languages derived from Latin. We are hoping our open source community will help us to add support for other languages as soon as possible, alongside our own efforts.

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  • Yes. Each color has a minimum run with our supplier. We know color choice is especially important for families with more than one child. If we hit our goal we will add color choice. We will send a survey out after the campaign to confirm your order preferences before we ship.

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  • During the Kickstarter campaign no, but we plan to do so in the future.

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  • During the Kickstarter campaign no, but we plan to offer organic materials as an option in the future.

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  • Not during the Kickstarter campaign. We started with Teddy Bears because, well, who doesn’t love a Teddy Bear? We will listen to our backers during the campaign to help decide what new designs we should offer first after Kickstarter. We’ll make these new designs available on MessagePetz.com.

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  • It will be nicer than the one in the video and photos. We’ve already identified a few small details we want to change for production, since the time the video was produced, such as the finishing around the screen. Right now it is a hard plastic. We’re going to finish the screen with a soft fabric bezel instead. More huggability!

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  • No. We are hoping that Etsy sellers and other creators & makers out there will make MessagePetz accessories for the Holiday & Seasonal celebrations of various faiths, cultures, and traditions for you.

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  • We are going to post an update with a photo of the Valentine MessagePetz bear. We will embroider the name of your loved on the other foot.

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  • No. The joints of the Teddy Bear are flexible but they are not articulating joints.

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  • MessagePetz does not have mechanical movements.

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  • Not directly from MessagePetz. We are hoping that the Etsy community and other makers will create items for sale to enable you to accessorize and customize your MessagePetz.

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  • Awesomeness. And some cool computer stuff. And stuffing. We used Arduino to build, program and run our prototypes. The prototype has a 1.8” color LCD screen, a couple of LED’s for the heart, a small speaker, a pressure switch, an MTS Smart Power Base battery, and a USB cable receptor.

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  • Awesomeness. And some cool computer stuff. And stuffing. But not Arduino. Arduino boards are very cool, but also hard to get in the quantities we might need at the exact time we might need them. We also want to include some capabilities in MessagePetz to accommodate future software apps that we are exploring. Using our own board also gives us more control over cost.

    MessagePetz is essentially a mini-computer running the Linux operating system. We’ve specified components for the production models that will support a wide range of software applications whether they are written by us or by third-party developers. Photos, videos, sounds, games and more will eventually be a part of the MessagePetz experience.

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  • From a hardware perspective, yes.

    From a software perspective, likely not all of it right away.

    What does this mean? We are equipping each MessagePetz with these physical capabilities and the software to display & send messages as advertised -- that software code has been written and works. But we were not comfortable promising to our Kickstarter backers on launch day that all of the necessary software code and drivers for enhanced features would be ready by specific shipping dates. When we have the code ready for these enhanced features, we will notify you that a software update to your MessagePetz is available. Of course, if we finish all the code in time for initial shipments, we’ll certainly let you know!

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  • Same answer as above.

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  • We have a pipeline of new model ideas and touchscreens are a definite possibility in the future. These products may be available at MessagePetz.com in mid –to-late 2014.

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  • We do plan on offering the Teddy Bears and other plush designs in multiple sizes as we add new product features in 2014. If you pledged, you will automatically receive our updates and news!

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  • Yes. The mind boggles when you think of all the variations and characters that are possible! We want to hear from you on what characters and colors you would like to see.

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  • You control who receives and views your messages by selecting recipients in the "Send to..." screen of our messaging app.

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  • Yes, as long as the account owners of other MessagePetz have given you permission to send them messages. The only limit on messages you can send are the number of people you know with a MessagePetz.

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  • Yes. We are providing native apps for the iPhone and Android phones. Windows phone users will be able to access the app from the internet, but their WiFi configuration experience will be different.

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  • No, MessagePetz should not be immersed in liquids, nor be asked to do cannonballs into the pool. Please spot clean only.

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  • Yes, we will publish our SDK and API later this year. Have fun!

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  • MessagePetz use a lithium battery. Average use (a few hundred messages per week) should require charging once per week. As software updates are introduced that un-lock additional functionality, more frequent charging may be necessary.

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  • Your MessagePetz, a USB cable for charging via your computer, and the user guide.

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  • MessagePetz complies to all COPPA guidelines and rules.

    MessagePetz will be pursuing certification from the kidSAFE Seal Program. The kidSAFE Seal Program is an independent certification service and seal program that reviews and certifies the safety practices of children-friendly websites and applications, including kid-targeted game sites, virtual worlds, social networks, PC and mobile apps, web-connected devices, and other similar online and interactive products. Visit http://www.kidsafeseal.com/ to learn more.

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

    The MessagePetz team suggests the following resources. We are, however, not affiliated with, or responsible for, any of their content.

    TOYINFO.ORG

    A 24/7 resource for facts and information about toys and play

    http://www.toyinfo.org/

    SAFE KIDS USA

    Preventing injuries: at home, at play, and on the way

    http://www.safekids.org/

    A PLATFORM FOR GOOD

    A project to help parents, teachers and teens connect, share and do good online

    http://www.aplatformforgood.org/

    CONNECT SAFELY

    An Online Safety Resource for Parents, Teens and Educators

    http://www.connectsafely.org

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    6 backers

    BIG BEAR HUG! Thanks for your contribution and support! You'll also be updated on all MessagePetz news!!

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    5 backers

    BIG BEAR HUG & KISS! A cool MessagePetz Tee-Shirt to say Thank You!

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    26 backers Limited (124 left of 150)

    EARLY BEAR SPECIAL!! Reserve a March 2014 MessagePetz at the BEST PRICE EVER!!

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    6 backers Limited (1494 left of 1500)

    THE 2014 VALENTINE BEAR! We will custom embroider your loved one's name on the other foot of the MessagePetz!

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    0 backers Limited (1500 left of 1500)

    LAST CHANCE FOR A DEAL! You may have missed the best deal and the 2013 Holiday shipment, but you can still get a MessagePetz below the expected retail price of $149.95, plus FREE DOMESTIC SHIPPING!

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    12 backers Limited (1488 left of 1500)

    2013 HOLIDAY BEARS! Get one of the first MessagePetz in time for the Holidays!

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    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    HELP PICK THE NEXT MESSAGEPETZ. Help us decide the next MessagePetz to design and the colors! Plus we'll send a MessagePetz in time for the 2013 Holidays and includes free shipping!

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  • Pledge $10,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    TEAM VISIT! Join us in Red Bank, NJ to visit with the MessagePetz team. We'll commemorate your visit with signed and framed photos of you and the team. We'll plan some great meals and other surprises! We'll be flexible in scheduling. Travel and lodging costs are your responsibility, but we'll help you arrange things. We'll also ship a MessagePetz in your choice of color in time for the 2013 Holidays!

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Funding period

- (30 days)