With the average adult spending 11 out of their 18 waking hours staring at screens, and children just slightly under that, we have only begun to discover the consequences of intense screen looking. With screen addictions becoming more and more common, we have all the indicators we need to set some boundaries for ourselves and for our family. Screen makes this easy. With their product being so simple to manage all one has to do is agree on when screens are off limits and voila! a dinner conversation with no phones so you could just be with your family and them alone.
After securing their first round of funding, founder Tali Orad tells us how to put limits on ourselves and family, keeping us in the moment.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $1.9 million in a seed equity round led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures. Other investors include Advancit Capital, Collaborative Fund, Novel TMT Ventures, Box Group, Maveron Capital, as well as individual investor Peter Hershberger.
Tell us about your product or service.
Screen, a groundbreaking home automation (IoT) solution to setting healthy limits on family screen time, and is now available for pre-order. The unprecedented technology can turn off ALL screen-based electronics – including phones/tablets, PCs, TVs and game consoles – from a mobile app that works both inside and outside the home; a parent can even “shut down” all devices in the home with a shake of his/her mobile phone from any location, whether it be the office or grocery store.
Screen allows parents and caregivers to, together with their children, define, agree upon, schedule and follow family rules around screen usage. The screen solution creates more quality time for families that is screen-free and educates children about the importance of utilizing electronics such as phones, tablets, computers, TV and game consoles in moderation.
What inspired you to start the company?
I found the problem of trying to put healthy limits on screen time in my family a major problem. I tried every parental control technology that existed, and nothing worked for the entire house and outside our home, everything was very cumbersome to use, and sometimes limited the home internet access. Screen is the first all-in-one solution to help families moderate time in front of a screen and bring back face-to-face interactions, along with the most important social network – our family and friends.
How is it different?
Screen allows a parent to set healthy limits on ALL electronic devices the family uses every day – all from my mobile phone. In addition to phones, tablets and computers (which you might expect), screen also includes the TV, game system and streaming devices like Roku or Apple TV.
In most families, kids are all over the place after school and on weekends. That’s why Screen works wherever your child and their devices go – school, home, soccer practice- anywhere. Screen also works regardless of where the parents are. From the office, the grocery store, or another country, you can know what the kids are doing, and also know long they’ve been using their devices. This way parents can know whether it’s time to have a conversation with kids about their screen usage, or as a last resort, power them down remotely.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Since the explosion of mobile, device use is ubiquitous and all of us need to learn to balance time on screen with times off devices. Right now we’re targeting parents with pre-teen or younger kids (teens are pretty resistant to changing their screen behaviors). The same way we make sure our kids learn healthy eating habits, in the digital age, we need to teach them healthy screen habits.
What’s your business model?
Screen is available for Pre Orders on getScreen.com at a discounted price of $99.
What do you think the long-term effects of too many screens will be on the next generation?
Great question and the answer is that the impact could be profound. Screen addiction isn’t yet a clinical diagnosis, but we’re edging toward that. What’s more, our kids are getting hooked earlier than ever. When parents don’t spend time talking to babies and toddlers, it creates a major gap in their language skills and their social development suffers as well. The consequences of too much screen time are even greater with tweens and teens. Kids need face-to-face social interaction to develop empathy and sensitivity to others.
There are physical issues as well. We’re not just talking eye strain, how screens interfere with sleep, or contribute to obesity and the rise in pedestrian accidents, trips and falls…
There’s actually a newly identified, increasingly common malaise: digital motion sickness, aka cybersickness.
What was the funding process like?
We found strong support and excitement from everyone who are in close contact with kids these days witnessing first hand the challenges modern families face.
We chose our respected investors due to their deep background in consumer products, passion to the problem we are solving and obviously NYC presence.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
I think Taylor Greene from LHV says it best:
“A few weeks after I met Tali for the first time, I was waiting to board a flight and had a few minutes to observe a young family across from me, said Taylor Greene, partner Lerer Hippeau Ventures. “Both parents were buried in their phones and their 2 year old was on the floor trying to swipe a magazine as if it was an iPad. That’s when I knew that Tali was on to something. It feels great to invest in a team that is leading the way in helping families find a way to reconnect by managing the time they spend with their devices.”
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Our main focus at Screen currently is pre orders through our website as we continue to get customer feedback on our beta version as we move to GA in a few months, so our customers get the product they deserve to solve their problem and them not be the “device police” anymore.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Solve a big problem, for passionate users in a unique way! The rest will follow in due time.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
There are so many great restaurant in the city. Unfortunately due to lack of time my go to place now is Chop’t