In case our name didn’t give it away, at Joy, we’re passionate about tech, science, and human-centered design that helps people live life more joyfully. We’re focused on seismic changes in attitudes towards wellbeing, and particularly on how these changes have upended and reshuffled the consumer product landscape across categories.
With more and more people turning to digital mediums to communicate, how we maintain our most important social relationships is top of mind. After all, Harvard research suggests that maintaining meaningful relationships play an important role in health, happiness, longevity, and overall wellbeing. Considering the struggles brought on by the pandemic, maintaining these relationships, particularly intergenerational ones, has been met with new challenges.
Historically, most families have relied on in-person meetings to foster meaningful family time. Though recently, families globally have found their quality time taken away due to lockdowns and restrictions. Thanksgiving on screen without Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie just wasn’t the same as in real life, although there may have been one silver lining in having less dishes to wash.
The struggle for adults being away from loved ones has been real, but the struggle experienced by children is truly unprecedented. Children who used to see their cousins, aunts and grandparents a few times a month have been almost completely restricted to phone or video calls, changing and shaping the very foundations of their relationships with extended family.
When parents and children cannot physically rely on the much needed breaks and diversions that grandparents provide, creating moments together can become more taxing than cheerful.
On the flip side, 89% of grandparents say that engaging with their grandchildren improves their mental health but 68% of them feel that they do not get this chance often enough due to distance. We can only imagine that number has gone up exponentially since 2020.
This is where Zoog comes in.
Zoog is focused on bringing family members together near and far through the power of storytelling. Zoog is a portable and personalized children’s library that turns into an AR fantasy – think masks, filters, sound effects, and animations – where any member of the family can transport themselves into the colorful worlds as interactive storytellers.
There are thousands of reasons to love Zoog, and here are just a few:
1. They fill in the online communication gap.
Pre-pandemic, the increase in internationalism and global cooperation (think virtual nomads), had people traveling globally to pursue exciting opportunities. The number of people relocating and living outside their home country had reached a whopping 272 million. However, in doing so, parents and their children are often separated from extended family, live in different time zones, and feel emotionally distanced.
During the pandemic – likely after some trial and error and finding the ‘unmute’ button – grandparents have had the time to get used to the ‘new norm’ of video calls. However, scheduling a family call can still feel like an uphill battle. Both parents and grandparents have to find the time in their schedules for a call that is often a drag for the kids, leaves the grandparents feeling disconnected, and turns parents into unwilling mediators.
But Zoog changes all of that. By allowing for pre-recorded experiences, the frustration that comes with scheduling family time online is no longer an issue.
2. Zoog is inclusive, intuitive, and simply delightful.
With the help of AI, animation and AR technology anyone can create whimsical content and easily take advantage of this new digital multimedia experience. Through building an intuitive and individualized content creation platform, Zoog helps close the technology gap and allows family members to communicate with children in ways that engage and encourage them to read.
To create a seamless experience for all family members, the app can be used to communicate and share stories asynchronously. Pre-recorded books are sent out to multiple family members so the human touch of story time is always there, even if the facetime isn’t. A whole collection of family members can then interact with each other through shared comments and video messages in response, transcending the narrative of singular social moments.
The medium of storytelling has always been a gateway between generations. Now families can access a new and unique reading experience that allows people to harness their creative side to adapt and share classic stories through video communication. Zoog makes these benefits available to the whole family with tech solutions that you can master whether you’re 7 or 70.
3. Mission-driven co-founders at the wheel
Co-founders Matan Guttman and Yoav Oren understood the frustration families experienced and sought out to use technology to bridge the generational communication gap. Based on their own personal experiences, creating interpersonal family connections (and fantasies!) became their mission. As soon as we met Matan and Yoav, we knew they were on to transform the way families stay in touch and create meaningful memories. With a strong commitment to both their team and their users, Yoav and Matan have continually displayed these values that make them successful.
At Joy Ventures, we are proud to partner with companies that solve inherent human needs and pioneer consumer trends with joyful products that have a lasting positive impact on wellbeing. Zoog enables meaningful connections through the delights of storytelling and an innovative consumer experience. We are thrilled to support Yoav, Matan, and the Zoog team on their mission to strengthen family bonds and relationships by providing an entirely new and inspiring way for families to communicate and share their happiest moments.