Rising StarsJames Pritchett of Morebots is Reinventing Story Time

It’s a book… no, it’s a show… no, it’s a Morebot! OEN member James Pritchett understands that kids still love old-fashioned books. But what if they could expand their favorite ink-and-paper stories on the screen?

Thanks to his Morebots app, story time now takes on a whole new meaning. Here, James tells us more.

What was the spark that inspired the birth of your concept? I’m a serial entrepreneur, so in a way, I feel that Morebots was destined to happen. My fascination with smart technology and its ability to access information FAST, all in the palm of your hands, keeps my brain in overdrive.

But it was reading and answering questions with my kids about why things are, or work the way they do, that sparked the original idea. Why not let the phone or tablet help answer the questions of my curious kids? So I created an app that recognizes images and expands the content in print onto the screen of the smart device.

What problem does it solve? For families and kids, our app enhances the reading experience of popular children’s books by expanding the story onto the smart device. For companies, our solution helps them message to families through custom books and our scannable shirts.

How did you come up with the name? A Morebot is a digital character that comes to life inside the user’s smart device and reads and interacts once activated by scanning a page. They are “Bots” who deliver “More.” Our first two Morebots are characters we call Story Expanders!

How do you make money? We have a huge opportunity to reach and teach kids while earning revenues from our PLUS app sales. The app is available for sale now for both Android and Apple mobile devices and works with books identified by Morebots. We also sell our Scannable Shirts that only work with the Morebots app.

What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur? Every day brings a new challenge, potential partnership, or deal that could change your life, your family’s life, or most importantly, a young reader’s life.

What has been the biggest surprise in your entrepreneurial experience to date? The number of hats you must wear in the beginning to make your project work!

Your biggest success? Developing an app, having it approved for distribution by Android /Apple, then making my first sale!

Do you have a failure story to share? The most important advice I could give someone is to FOCUS like a laser on developing an amazing product first that is tested and error-free. Then market the product. As a marketing professional, I remember marketing a past product too early because I was in a hurry to be first to market and even CONVINCED CUSTOMERS to use it. But the product wasn’t fail-proof and didn’t perform at its maximum potential.

As an entrepreneur, what keeps you up at night? Finances and on-time deliverables.

What is the best entrepreneurial advice you have received? Stay focused.

What is your #1 piece of advice for a budding entrepreneur? Be ready to work hard. Success doesn’t come to you… You go to it!

What is the #1 book you would recommend for a budding entrepreneur? Zero to One Million: How I Built A Company to $1 Million in Sales . . . and How You Can, Too by Ryan P. Allis.

What song best describes your entrepreneurial journey? “Roller Coaster” by Ohio Players.

Imagine your venture becomes wildly successful. What does that look like? Millions of families will have Morebots Plus downloaded and will be actively scanning some of the most popular bestselling children’s books. The same number of scannable t-shirts can be seen at schools and local malls. When kids associate scanning books and shirts with Morebots, then we’ve done our job!

What’s your favorite local business and why? Nike. Incredible marketing and products.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A business owner like my father.

Do you think Oregon is a good place to start a business? From what I’ve seen, if you have a good product and know how to work your network here, you could really start driving momentum. Portland startups are thriving and VC funding in Portland is at a five-year high!

Any other tidbits or fun facts to share? If you’d like to see our app in motion, please join us this weekend at Multnomah County’s Central Library. On Saturday, May 13, kids and families can come experience our first ever Expanding Stories Reading Show which is like no other! We read and scan-to-expand books together while our animated digital bots come to life on the big screen to interact and teach the kids! Get more information at SmarterKidsCan.com!

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