Startup of the week: My Kingdom Books

Startup of the week: My Kingdom Books

Launched two months ago, "the world's first augmented reality personalised children's book" has already secured global retail partnerships.

The pitch

My Kingdom Books claims to be the world's first augmented reality personalised children's book, blending Lost My Name's customised name-based narrative with bespoke AR technology. Designed to be a modern-day pop-up book for kids, MKB offers audio narration and 3D animation through an AR-pimped app "developed to enhance the way children learn, read and imagine".

The team

MKB is powered by a diverse global team that has come together to help build the story, website, and app, with members based across Ukraine, India, Argentina, America, Philippines, and the UK. The founder, Amile Samarakoon (right), is an Australian who has been living in the UK for the past 14 years. Samarakoon has an executive MBA from London Business School and Columbia University New York, and a background in customer experience, programme management, digital transformation, strategy development, and on/offshore outsourcing for companies such as Vodafone, TalkTalk and SpinVox.

What's the gap in the market?

Samarakoon may be riding the current wave of AR excitement, but he's also aware that his startup will have to develop along with such a new and under-developed market. "Having worked with augmented reality in the past, I recognised the opportunity of applying the technology to story books," he says. "This not only allows us to bring stories to life in a completely unique way, but it also allows the technology and app to develop as children get older. "

Success so far?

Launched in November, My Kingdom Books has already secured retail partnerships with Not On the High Street, Prezzy Box, and The Gift Hub. More than 10% of the company's profits are donated to children’s charities.

Biggest challenges?

"Combining highly complex technical components to create a seamless user-friendly experience," Samarakoon reports.

Ultimate ambition?

Not modest. Samarakoon claims that "we want MKB to be a global leader in the children’s book industry and be recognised as the pioneers of combing tech and personalisation."

Advice to other publishing entrepreneurs?

"Be 100% clear about your goals and values before you start the project and make sure you stick to them. It sounds simple, but inevitably you’ll be challenged on a regular basis to change direction or make compromises and reminding yourself of your original goals will help keep you on track."