CONCORD, Mass., Jan. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Isabella Products, Inc. ("Isabella") announced today that it has acquired StarWalk Kids Media LLC ("StarWalk") for an undisclosed amount. StarWalk is a leading publisher and distributor of exclusive, high-quality eBooks delivered through its content platform and award-winning StarWalk Reader™. Isabella, a leading wireless consumer device and services company, is the creator of Fable®, the award-winning browser-free tablet for children ages 3-10. The acquisition bolsters Isabella's move to provide robust learning solutions to retail consumers and classroom educators in PreK, Elementary, and Middle Schools as well as public libraries. The combined companies create a burgeoning multilingual content collection and a turnkey capability for content development, licensing, and distribution, with a current reach of over 2.8 million students.
"The acquisition of StarWalk expedites Isabella's mission to provide best-in-class digital content to children and accelerates our ability to fortify educators with the instructional support they need to engage and augment student learning," said Matthew I. Growney, Isabella Founder and CEO. "We are thrilled to add senior expertise in children's education, content acquisition, and full capabilities to publish interactive digital books. Merging our content libraries and adding iOS and Android applications as well as the infrastructure to quickly expand, uniquely positions Isabella to offer an extraordinary collection of proprietary and curated titles for e-learning across topic categories, by individual authors, and large and small publishers from around the world."
StarWalk's Founder, the award-winning children's science author Seymour Simon, explains, "We were attracted to this partnership because Isabella shares our goal to provide children with affordable access to engaging digital content that fosters learning, nurtures a wide range of STEM and literacy skills, and promotes creativity. It was clearly the next evolution of our growth because with the combined content library we can now truly expect to reach children from the very youngest through middle school."
The StarWalk collection consists of nearly 600 exclusive, engaging, enhanced eBooks for children in grades PreK-8, and also includes a 90+ bilingual collection of English and Spanish narrated versions of the same eBooks. The company has developed an innovative and efficient design and production process for converting print books to digital, establishing itself as the default eBook publishing solution for top quality authors with back catalog rights.
In 2015, StarWalk received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop and test its proprietary StarWalk Writer™ software tool. The StarWalk Writer software, which is designed to work with the major writing curricula in use today, raises the bar in educational technology, facilitating collaborative reading, writing and research in a single, digital environment. Starting September 2016, the software will be integrated with an exclusive eBook collection and available to schools, empowering teachers to deliver personalized instruction and engage students of varying literacy levels in collaborative reading, research, and writing – in real time. Currently, there is no other software on the market today that is able to deliver a comprehensive, single-platform, literacy learning environment for elementary and middle school children.
As part of the acquisition, all StarWalk employees will join Isabella. The Publisher and CEO of StarWalk, Liz Nealon, becomes VP, Chief Content Officer, heading up Isabella's new Fable Learning group, while former StarWalk President John Benfield will become VP, General Manager of Isabella. Both will report to Growney. Simon will focus on writing original books for Isabella, and his complete work of 70 enhanced StarWalk titles will be added to the company's content catalog. Isabella will continue to be headquartered in Concord, Massachusetts and operate an additional office in New York.
About StarWalk Kids Media:
StarWalk Kids Media is a leading digital learning company, setting new standards in EdTech software and the creation and delivery of best-in-class, professionally narrated children's eBooks in the U.S. and abroad. The cloud-based, streaming StarWalk Reader™ and content delivery platform, as well as iOS and Android applications for tablets, offer schools and libraries access to an exclusive collection of preK-8 eBooks, including a bilingual collection narrated and published in both English and Spanish. An annual subscription provides multiple-user access, on any device, to professionally narrated, high quality mentor texts. The platform has received the Q.E.D (Quality. Excellence. Design.) seal from the Digital Book Awards and won the Parents Choice Award®. During the transition to Isabella, StarWalk will continue to be found on Twitter: @StarWalkKids and @SeymourSimon, on Facebook: StarWalk Kids Media and Pinterest: StarWalk Kids.
About Isabella and Fable:
Isabella developed the Fable tablet with insights from children, parents, and teachers in conjunction with its school and community non-profit pilot programs. Fable's intuitive and fun interface gives a child the freedom to explore, learn, play, create, and safely share within their own private network, fully-managed by an adult. Because there is no browser, parents and teachers rely on safe content, free of in-app purchasing, advertising, or inappropriate material, allowing young minds to get the most enriching experiences out of time spent with their Fable. While Fable is designed exclusively for children, adults have full control over content and activities through the password-protected, cloud-based site VizitMe.com, which offers a carefully curated collection of handpicked books, videos, games, apps, and custom projects from some of the best children's publishers like Toca Boca; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Group); FarFaria, and StarWalk. The Fable tablet is available for purchase at VizitMe.com as well as at prime retailers: Walmart, Best Buy, Kmart, B&H Photo Video, and InMotion Entertainment at airport stores across the country. Fable retails for $129.99 ($99.99 for in-school pilot programs) and is the recipient of a Silver NAPPA Award. Follow Fable on social media Twitter: @FableKids, Facebook: FableKids, Instagram: FableKids and YouTube.
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SOURCE Isabella Products, Inc.