THE world's favourite caterpillar and his gang of peckish mates are to get a digital rejuvenation thanks to Irish firm StoryToys, which has won a deal to develop a series of apps inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other titles by top children's writer Eric Carle.
Dublin children's interactive books and games company StoryToys brokered the deal with The Joester Loria Group, the licence owner for a three-year partnership.
It will launch The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends app on March 20, which is (mark your diaries) The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day, just one part of the celebrations surrounding the 45th anniversary of the bestselling children's book.
The book, featuring the beloved pie and watermelon-scoffing caterpillar, has sold 30 million copies since it was first published in 1969 – that's well over a copy a minute since then. StoryToys, founded by brothers Aidan and Kevin Doolan with Barry O'Neill as CEO, has had more than 250 worldwide number ones on the Apple App Store. It uses 3-D games technology to create vivid pop-up scenes in ebooks for children aged from two to eight.
It has produced interactive versions of fairytale classics like Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel and also produces original content.
Its first story, Goodnight Mo topped the US App charts and the second, Haunted House, also topped the charts, with 8,000 customers a day.
Leaf Investments, a funder of early-stage learning technologies backed by Folens publishing, has put €1.2m into the firm, and along with AIB's seed fund and Enterprise Ireland, StoryToys has €1.62m funding in total. It generated just under €750,000 in revenue in 2013 and employs 25 people.