Shiva Kashalkar, Founder of Green Piñata Toys, is a firm believer that toys should match the rapid mental development of early childhood. Inspired by her eight-month-old daughter, Shiva partnered up with leading experts in early education to create a service that uses predictive analytics to curate the best toys for your child.
What is your business, and what problem you are solving?
Green Piñata is a toy curation service that grows with your child. Every year, 30% of millennial parents in the US spend more than $1,500 on toys. For suggestions about what toys to buy, young parents rely on their network of friends, online articles. However, children quickly outgrow their toys and need new ones that match their rapid development.
We combine predictive analytics with human expertise to curate toys that are individually tailored for your child’s optimal play and learning experience. When your child is done playing, simply pop on the prepaid return label, return the toys, and get an entirely new box.
I realized I was paying several hundred dollars every month for toys that she would only play with for a few days.
What inspired you to start your company?
When my daughter was eight months old, I realized I was paying several hundred dollars every month for toys that she would only play with for a few days. The clutter from unused drove me crazy! Talking with other parents, I learned this was a common issue and became inspired to build Green Piñata Toys.
What is your mission?
Our mission is to become the leading provider in early education through play. We built our service on a strong foundation of insights from early education and child development specialists to deliver age-appropriate toys geared towards learning at every stage.
In addition to our passion for toxin-free, educational toys, we strive to be environmentally conscious in every step of our process. We have partnered with eco-conscious manufacturers, all of whom use sustainably-sourced wood or recycled plastic to make their products. Together, we help families ‘go green.’ Once our toys have been loved by our customers, we donate them to children in need.
We are solving real problem for parents: we help save money, reduce clutter from unused toys, and nurture early learning in children.
Who is in your core team? How did your team come together?
We are a team of six employees and five advisors. My team is 100% moms and dads that have completely bought into the mission of Green Piñata. My team and I are very proud and passionate about building Green Piñata because of two main reasons. First, we are solving a real problem for parents: we help save money, reduce clutter from unused toys, and nurture early learning in children. Second, we are doing something good for the earth by adopting a more sustainable approach to toy shopping.
Please explain your edge over your competition?
Green Piñata is the only personalized curation service for toys. We also work with renowned early education specialists and combine their expertise with data science to offer a personalized selection of toys that children can love and learn from.
Advice you would give yourself from 10 years ago?
If you had $1M to invest, where would you put it outside of your own company?
I believe predictive analytics that empowers personalized services is the future of consumer businesses. I’d love to invest in a company that applies data science to personalization.
Why equity crowdfunding?
It is a great way to offer financial compensation to our investors rather than asking them to simply ‘donate’. It also opens the door to more serious investors and helps us gain more visibility.
An entrepreneur who inspires you?
What are your interests and passions outside of your company?
My husband and I are bitten by travel bugs! We compromise on shopping and haircuts to be able to go on a trip every three months. A toddler and the start-up has limited our travel in the last couple of years, though we hope to pick up this tradition again soon.
* The view is the personal opinion of the interviewee and should not be construed as investment advice from either the interviewee nor Republic.
The importance of children stimulating their prefrontal cortex throughout their childhood is important. Toys are a big part of a developing brain.
Cognitive development is crucial in all stages of life; especially as a baby. I love every aspect about this company. Their vision inspires me!
It's a truly great idea! I thought vaguely about this a few years ago while wining about how many things we buy, hardly use, and just throw in the trash, and asked why so many little or even highly used items can't just be traded or reused by others!