The founders of Novel Effect, Melissa and Matt, had different careers. Melissa was a graphic designer, and Matt was a patent attorney. They both attended a baby shower that their friends had held in honor of their soon-to-be-born baby girl. The guests were generous with their gifts, but the most valuable present that the couple fell in love with was when a guest read a story and added some beautiful sound effects to engage the audience.
The friend was so good at storytelling that she added appropriate sounds where necessary, and it was not long before the audience was mesmerized by her skillset. Melissa and Matt were also inspired by how their guests and children reacted to hearing the story. That is when the couple had a light-bulb idea where they thought that if every parent could narrate a story like this to their kids, children would fall in love with reading and writing.
Matt was particularly excited about this idea and spent months thinking about how to bring sound effects to every kid’s story time to make it more magical. Eventually, they came up with Novel Effect- a business that made use of voice-recognition technology to make reading magical for children.
The couple sold off their home and moved to Seattle, Washington, which was across the country. Here, they partnered with Amazon, a company that owned Alexa, a voice-recognition device. Through the Alexa fund, the couple received massive funding that would help them work on voice recognition models. They also promoted their business at the South by Southwest festival, after which they decided to approach Shark Tank.
They asked the Sharks for a $500,000 investment and were willing to offer 10 percent equity in their business. The Novel Effect was an application that used the company’s voice recognition software to supply sound effects at the correct time so that children’s story time could be magical. This voice-applicated software would help children love reading and writing from a young age- skills that would prove to be beneficial to them in the future.
So far, the couple had raised $620,000. The amount that they had asked the Sharks for would. Be in the form of a convertible note, allowing the start-up to benefit from short-term funding. The Alexa Fund has also promoted Novel Effect through its generous funding. Their funding showed that Amazon believed in the company’s potential and was ready to learn about its success.
The best part about Novel Effect is that the application was easy to use. Parents had to download an application; from there, they would select a pre-recorded sound and launch it when they were ready to read a book to their kids. The Novel Effect library currently had 75 books and was in the process of including more. Adding new effects to the library did not require any license, which helped expand the company’s database.
Lori offered the couple $500,000 for 20 percent equity in the company. However, the founders of Novel Effect were not comfortable with this and instead asked Lori if she would be comfortable with 12.5 percent equity instead. Sara, the guest Shark, wanted to get into a deal with Lori, but Lori did not want that.
The final offer that the two parties agreed on was $500,000, and in return, Lori would get 15 percent of the equity.
Our Review of Novel Effect
The Novel Effect is an innovative concept that allows parents and children to enjoy the magical experience of storytelling. There is no one like this company, giving it a monopoly in the marketplace.
Pros of Novel Effect
Novel Effect is a wonderful idea to get children more interested in hearing and learning about stories. It allows parents to bond with their children and create beautiful memories with them through voice-recognition software.
There are lots of books that the Novel Effect database covers, and the company is planning to add more books to their library. This would allow parents to choose particular books for their kids and reap the benefits of the company’s software.
Cons of Novel Effect
Even though Novel Effect produced wonderful content, one could not be sure whether parents would go through the hassle of searing, downloading, and then using the application, especially since it did not work on every storybook. Attracting new customers would be difficult, especially since Novel Effect would work based on a subscription model.
Another thing to remember is that Novel Effect would only be used until the child reached 36 months of age. After that, it would become redundant. Parents only have a 60-to-90-day window in which they have to decide whether they want to invest in a reading aid for their children, but many parents would not want to go through this entire effort if, in the end, the child would grow out of it.
Who is Novel Effect for?
Novel Effect is for parents who want their children to experience the magic of listening to stories with suitable sound effects. It allows children to bond with their parents and increases their interest in reading in the future.
Are There Any Alternatives?
There is no other company like Novel Effect in the market so far.
Our Final Thoughts
We believe Novel Effect is a wonderful company with a truly innovative concept. Every parent reads stories to their children, but with Novel Effect, story time will become even more fun and entertaining as children learn to recognize the sound, aiding their development in the long run. If Novel Effect is successful, we believe it will soon be available to download on different phones and soft wares.