, a newly launched subscription service for children’s books, has raised an initial, but undisclosed (and still ongoing) seed round of under $1 million from investors which include 500 Startups, the TechFellow Fund, and other angels. Like the tagline implies, the startup is introducing a Netflix for children’s books – that is, it’s a rental service where you pay to receive shipments of new books on a regular basis, but you don’t necessarily get to keep them.
Like most startups in the kids or family apps space, Bleharski says she was inspired to build Sproutkin out of a personal need. When kids are young, she explains, you’re reading to them nearly every night, making it difficult to maintain a constant supply of quality, new books. “It takes a lot of time – I don’t think people realize that,” she says of her trips to local libraries and stores. Plus, she adds, “when you’re ordering off Amazon, you just don’t know what you’re going to get. And once you read it, it’s kind of done.”
Parents of children ages 3 to 6 can subscribe to Sproutkin’s service, receiving a shipment of 10 books at a time, which are generally centered around a theme
The books shipment also includes a card with follow-up activities, trivia and other questions mom or dad can ask to spur on kids’ imaginations. And at the bottom of the box, there’s a return label, so when you’re finished, you can just drop it in the mail and get a fresh batch of books. Bleharski notes that, unlike Netflix, parents can actually go online and request the new shipment before the old one is mailed so there doesn’t have to be a time frame where you’re without books to read. In addition, parents have the option to buy any of the books their child has really bonded with, instead of having to send them back.